How Now, Wau Wau

“I mean, maybe you run into people that you admire, or respect, but how often do you get to speak to someone (two someones) that you actually want to BE? Who doesn’t want to be a Wau-Wau Sister? They’re funny, famous, flexible, and have INCREDIBLE muscle tone. And they’re really, super nice. No, really, they ARE. I KNOW!

Culturebot Correspondent Rachel Shukert talks to The Wau Wau Sisters!

When my parents came to visit me in New York for the first time, for Tisch Freshman Parent’s weekend in October of 1998, I tried very, very hard to impress upon them what a jaded urbanite I had become in three short months. I was thin. I wore black. I talked about Derrida and was retarded.

I was also careful to emphasize how completely inured I was to seeing celebrities all over the place. Why, New York was practically dripping with them, dahling. Why, you couldn’t run out to grab the papers in the morning without stumbling over someone or other. And it just wasn’t a big deal at all, we were all so used to it. (Actually, I never called either of my parents dahling. If I had, I wouldn’t still be here to tell the tale.) Just as I was finishing up my oral Declaration of Sophistication, the actor Noah Wyle, star of E.R. rounded the corner with an expensive-looking female companion. In unison, my mother and I clapped our hands over our mouths and squealed “Omigod, Dr. Carter!” in girlish ecstasy.

The not-so-private shame I suffered from this episode haunts me to this day, although in my defense, Dr. Carter was really, really, cute, and totally even cuter in person. But in atonement, over the years I’ve lived here, I really have gotten much less excited about seeing celebrities around. Why, I’m practically indifferent. Sometimes, I don’t even notice, or if I do notice, don’t even care enough to turn around and watch them walk down the street or point them out to my companions. Except for Woody Allen, who I used to see walking around the Upper East Side in the mornings. And Paul Rudd. I totally want to marry Paul Rudd.

But talking to the Wau-Wau Sisters after their splendid, dirty, tampon-pulling, booze-swilling, spectacle of a show at Ars Nova the other night, I felt a little of the old starry-eyed stage door baby coming back. I mean, maybe you run into people that you admire, or respect, but how often do you get to speak to someone (two someones) that you actually want to BE? Who doesn’t want to be a Wau-Wau Sister? They’re funny, famous, flexible, and have INCREDIBLE muscle tone. And they’re really, super nice. No, really, they ARE. I KNOW!

So I figured to best way to talk to them was exactly the way I felt; like a gushing journalist for Seventeen magazine or Teen People who just wanted to let my readers, be they awkward girls in their early teens worried about their skin or bitter art-types in their late thirties worried about their rent, know that they should feel good about themselves, even though they would never be quite as good or hot or talented or toned as the Wau Wau Sisters (whose names are Adrienne Truscott and Tanya Gagne. Gagne means won in French.)


Rachel Shukert (for Culturebot): So, who are some celebrities you want to make out with?

Adrienne: Ooooooh. Wow. Um… John Cameron Mitchell. JD Sampson. JIM NABORS!

Tanya: Oh, sister. Drew Barrymore, Dean Martin. Johnny Depp.

RS: (murmurs of agreement.)

T: Or his wife. Him and his wife.

A: Oh, and I’m kind of embarrassed to say this . . .

T: Say it, sister!

A: Owen Wilson.

RS: I want to make out with him, too. He’s cute.

T: Or his brother, what’s his brother’s name?

RS: Luke Wilson.

A: Yeah, both of them. Because we like families! We should make out as families!

RS: You could make out with the Arquettes.

A: Any of the Arquettes! Any combination!


The Wau Wau Sisters, as we learned from a short film during their Ars Nova show, are the result of a threesome in 1969. They share one incredibly potent father and each have their own very bendy mother. Then one day, they came across each other wearing identical pink satin jackets, terry cloth playsuits with rainbow trim and pink sequined berets on what looked like Scholes Street in the East Williamsburg Industrial Park. They found a golden necklace that spelled Wau-Wau in the street, probably sent by heaven, and immediately recognized their special bond, and their shared proclivity for dressing in tiny, witty costumes like bikinis made out of Muppet eyeballs and inflatable lips, taking showers in silhouette, gymnastics, and being sexy for Jesus. Conveniently, they both had strong backgrounds in dance and circus arts, and burgeoning skills as singer/songwriters. Thank God.


RS: What’s the best part about being Super-Famous?

WW: Cutting bathroom lines. Free tampax. Free drinks. The entourage. And the fan mail.

A: Yeah – we get some bizarre fan mail.

T: Like the Lifting guy – this guy from New Jersey.

A: He sent us like four yellow legal pads about how he really liked it when we LIFTED each other.

T: He kept saying LIFT and talking about us LIFTING…

A: How much could we LIFT and LIFTING…

RS: That’s very strange.

WW: Yes.


One thing worth noting about the Wau-Waus is how so much of their performance differs from the typical downtown burlesque act where a scowling tattooed woman defiantly takes her clothes off in front of a bunch of gay men. Their acts are less tawdry speakeasy and more bright, technicolored classic MGM musical. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine Ann Miller and Gloria DeHaven hoofing their way through the number where they wear rainbow umbrellas streaming blue tinsel rain on their heads, looking like sparkly “Cousin It”s with long, shapely legs. You can’t not smile when you watch them. Even if you’re a total asshole.

To sum up, some Words of Wisdom from the Wau-Wau Sisters:

“It’s not so embarrassing in the morning.”

“Everything in moderation, but more is definitely more.”

“If you’re going to exercise, wear a cute outfit. Like if you’re playing tennis, wear a tennis outfit. Or if you’re going bowling, wear a really high ponytail and a little bowling shirt and skirt. You know, make it fun. And we jog in heels, we both do that. There’s all kinds of things that people don’t think is exercise that totally is. Dancing, going dancing, and having sex. Start fucking like three or five times a day and you’ll have an amazing body!”

“Coy is different than shy.”

“We’re both 15-year old girls trapped in the bodies of 16-year-olds.”


The Wau Wau Sisters play Ars Nova Thursdays-Saturdays until June 26.

511 West 54th Street
(between 10th & 11th Avenues)

For tickets, visit SmartTix @ or call 212-868-4444

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