Tammy Faye Starlite, the fearless and much celebrated New York-based rock/cabaret/performance artist brings her portrayal of Nico, the Warhol-era siren, muse and tragicomic figure to Glow Festival the last Saturday of this month (7/29) at 7PM.
The Glow Festival presented by Three Thirty Three and hosted by OBERON, the American Repertory Theater’s (A.R.T.) second stage and club theater venue at 64 Brattle St., Harvard Square. Glow is the new annual Cambridge live performance arts festival whose mission includes championing progressive artists and performances in a myriad of live stage forms. It is an outgrowth of the Provincetown-based Afterglow Festival, now in its seventh year.
Tickets available: http://bit.ly/2tGQcSd
Tammy Faye, accompanied by Richard Feridun, eerily channels Nico, chanteuse from the Velvet Underground and beyond (i.e., the overground) featuring her better-known and lesser-known songs, which encompass the ominous and beautiful opacity of her Teutonic soul, her recollections (Rashomon-style) about the men who loved her: from Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Jim Morrison, Jackson Brown, Iggy Pop (among others, many others), her musings on fate, nihilism, necromancy and the current state of the world, which is as protean as her flickering soul.
In performances from New York to Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Pittsburgh, the latter a presentation of the Andy Warhol Foundation, Tammy Faye’s portrayal of Nico has earned her unparalleled critical laudation. Charles Isherwood’s New York Times review of Tammy’s off-Broadway run, read “In her remarkable — and howlingly funny — portrayal of Nico, the 1960s chanteuse and muse to musical greats of the time, the singer and performance artist Tammy Faye Starlite is both vividly present and somehow barely there. Although its creators’ affection for the woman is never in question, the show also gently parodies her disaffected persona.”
Rolling Stone’s David Fricke wrote, “Starlite has the proper blonde hair and packs an accent just the right side of exaggeration. She punctuates Nico’s fondly blunt and drolly unforgiving characterizations of Bob Dylan (who gave her the immortal “I’ll Keep It With Mine”) the Velvets’ Lou Reed (“a usurper of souls”) and the teenage Jackson Browne (her accompanist for a spell after the Velvets) with regal sweeps of hair and exasperated stares, her eyes as wide as headlights. The show mocks and honors its subject with loving regard.”
Danny Fields, the legendary Warhol era scenester and title character in the Ramones song “Danny Says” and subject of the documentary feature film of the same title, famously, signed Nico to Elektra Records and is a fan and mentor of Tammy’s. He has characterized her performance, most succinctly, as “not an imitation but a rediscovery of Nico.” Adding, most sincerely, “I love what she does, she’s wonderful.”
Gary Stoller in No Depression offered, “Starlite’s performance was brilliant, her German-accented singing and biting comments between songs captured the essence of Nico, and, with stellar accompaniment. Unlike Nico’s gigs, after which I and others exited with a what-the-fuck-was-that feeling and a huge dose of sadness and depression, Starlite’s show was uplifting and hilarious.”
David Keeps observed in the LA Times, “Tammy Faye Starlite channels the chanteuse’s languid essence” and characterized her as “a performer who thrives on spontaneity and improvisation.”
Time Out’s Adam Feldman summed things up most succinctly, calling Tammy’s work “daring, hilarious and persona-shifting.”