Screen Test Rocks
In Screen Test rock show collides with video installation. Conceived and directed by Rob Roth with Theo Kogan and her band “Theo and the Skyscrapers”, the performance blends haunting romantic imagery and modern apocalyptic paranoia with the gritty sensibility of underground NYC.
Theo and the Skyscrapers premiere a slew of original songs written specifically for this show. The music flows from melodic to assaulting while lyrically echoing themes of loneliness and longing, playing out on a 1940s Hollywood soundstage. Anger and humor combine to ask: What is artificial? What is real? and What role does fantasy play in survival?
With Text by Romy Ashby and Rob Roth, Costume Design: Todd Thomas
Music Director: Sean Pierce, Choreography: Vangeline and Dancers: Coco Koyama and Mandy Caughey.
Rob Roth is a prolific and influential presence in downtown art and culture. His work, both solo and collaborative, is non-stop, never predictable and immediately recognizable. His inexhaustible creative stamina and relentless pursuit of a defined mythology results in works of unprecedented originality.
In the mid 1990s he co-founded Click + Drag, the infamous Saturday night at the legendary nightclub Mother, run by nightlife royalty Chi Chi Valenti and Johnny Dynell. Drawing the smartest and most interesting people in New York, Click + Drag boiled over with inspired happenings where Roth combined photography, design, performance and video installation in ways never seen before. Without realizing he was doing so at the time, he defined the aesthetic of an era. His inimitable work caught the eye of Chris Stein and Deborah Harry of Blondie, who hired him to create the art and packaging for their next two CDs as well as video installations for their international tours.
Roth has worked constantly since the closing of Mother in 2001, collaborating with such artists as Theo Kogan (Lunachicks) Justin Bond and Kenny Mellman (Kiki and Herb), Caden Manson/Big Art Group, Choreographer Richard Move and acclaimed performance artist Julie Tolentino. His video animations and large-scale projections are atmospherically rich and elegant. As a performer he has a gift for deadpan humor and physical comedy, often involving trick costumes and unexpected gimmicks. In this vein he continues to work closely with Deborah Harry on her solo projects around the world as both a director and performer, even landing a cameo role with her on an episode of the British television comedy AbFab.
Theo Kogan, singer of the legendary NYC all-female punk band Lunachicks, has recreated herself with a new group and a new sound. Planting herself in the middle of three bandmates that stand 65 and over, Theo & the Skyscrapers tear holes in the clouds with a hypnotic concoction of dark new wave, laser punk, and metal pop. Imagine Blondie’s tour bus smashing into Slayer on Gary Numans driveway. Yet at the same time, the music conjures up images of a NYC sidewalk at dawn in the year 2025. Past collides with future. Chaos fellates beauty. The band unofficially began when Theo and Toilet Boys co-frontman Sean Pierce began collaborating on songs. No strangers to the full on rock n roll lifestyle, Theo and Sean have played shows and toured around the globe with bands like Marilyn Manson, No Doubt, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Offspring, Rancid, NOFX, The Donnas and Blondie to name a few. As a songwriting team, neither wanted to over-analyze and meddle with the initial arrangements. When fellow vertically daunting band mates Chris Kling and Dimitry Makhnovsky joined the band, the results were organic, uninhibited, and eclectic. Exactly how the music was meant to be. And its a process that is thoroughly in-line with Theo & the Skyscrapers beliefs about identity. Take the song Not Alone, written for all the freaky kids, nerds, punks, and gays who feel alienated, which lets them know that there are other people who feel the same desperation. First Bleach is about being your own person, regardless of who the world thinks you should be. These bleeding black-heart songs are right at home with the bands thunderous and volatile party starters like the self-explanatory Doppelganger Death Disco. The juxtaposition is reflected in their euphoric, post-apocalyptic live performances, featuring original video backdrops by famed downtown artist Rob Roth. Whether opening sold-out shows for The Hives and Mindless Self Indulgence, or ripping up a dingy Lower East Side club, Theo & the Skyscrapers hold their audiences captive. Three giants that look like gangly alien brothers move in unison with custom light cabinets to create a metallic death machine. The towering trio makes Theo’s angelic presence that much more divine. But dont be fooled by her comparatively petite stature, shes just as fierce as the fellas beside her