INFO ABOUT THE SHOW
OtB is delighted to announce a special 25th Anniversary Gala on June 26, 2004. This fundraising event will feature the dysfunctional duo of Kiki and Herb, the “slashingly funny” (The New Yorker) drag cabaret act out of NYC, performing their newest show on the heels of its 6-week run in London. OtB’s 25th Anniversary Gala will also feature a curtain raiser by local performers Sarah Rudinoff and Nick Garrison, with Chris Jeffries on piano, a pre-performance cocktail reception, and a post-performance party featuring DJ CARE. In addition to the Gala performance, OtB will present two performances by Kiki and Herb on June 24 & 25 at 9pm.
Bond writes the book for performances, and music is arranged by Mellman. Songs are chosen to move the story of the debauched duo forward, giving a sardonic, sentimental, or humorous reflection on the plot. Kiki, a seasoned drinker, is a brash, boozy, aging chanteuse with the ability to tell a story as few can, a bruising vocal style and a willingness to do just about anything in the name of shobiz. Herb is Kiki’s shy, stalwart, long-time accompanist, who shows that still waters really do run deep as he periodically pounds the keys with a passion and vengeance all his own. The effect is a very dark, smart, painfully funny evening of not-quite drag/cabaret/performance art.
The performance includes a variety of musical styles, from the best of the underground music scene, vintage torch lounge standards and surprise pop/rock favorites. Bond and Mellman turn tunes inside out with unexpected orchestrations, a signature twisted treatment of melodies and tempos, and wrenching delivery of songs by artist including Radiohead, Eminem, Nirvana, Outcast, Debbie Harry, Kate Bush and PJ Harvey.
KIKI, HERB, AND THE LONG, DREAMLESS NIGHT
By Ann Powers
June 23, 2004
In Guy Maddin’s film ‘The Saddest Music in the World" its title, the titular soundtrack is a number from a frothy, forgotten Depression-era musical – "The Song is You." In fact, that song is not so sad; thanks to Jerome Kern’s artful melody, it begins in yearning and ends in transcendent hope. Like so many pop standards, it’s a dream in 4/4 time, an incidental opiate for the mundanity-addled soul, a step outside the spoken world into well-tuned wonderment. What makes such songs so sad is the assertion that dreams can even momentarily be sweet.
In Maddin’s world, dreams are terrifying predators on identity, doing reality in with their hypnotic, unstable truths. Dreams are always nightmares and music is their vehicle; escape from both the saddest songs and the shattered illusions they promote cannot be had.
Kiki Durain knows the truth about dreams. She has suffered one too many to simply enjoy wallowing in them. Yet she cannot resist their lure, their enthralling sadness. Kiki may seem like a cynic in those moments when she’s gazed too deeply into her glass of Alize, but she’s more complex than that. Was Cassandra a cynic when she predicted the downfall of Troy? That prophetess, like our Kiki, simply knew how cruel and inescapable the gods of illusion could be.
When Kiki sings, melodies unravel and the music’s emotional core stands naked. We laugh at this because we are embarrassed to see the flesh. On the piano, Herb tries to keep up a semblance of decorum; he’s a craftsman who values the work that went into these chimeras. But Kiki keeps rending their seams, tearing off their
appliques. We, her devotees, are showered in sequins; they smart as they get in our eyes. But we cannot turn away. If we did, Kiki would just run after us.
Though Kiki’s repertoire offers a story unto itself – about the silliness of pop trends and the cheapness of worshipping what’s contemporary – her own biography deepens our time with her. She herself is like a pop standard, hopeful in the face of life’s certain defeats. Yet because she has been granted the oracle’s burden of X-Ray vision, she must rip herself apart as surely as she does those songs. Watching Kiki, one always fears being hit with a flying limb. Or, perhaps more likely, her far-flung heart.
Enjoy your time with Kiki and Herb just as you would enjoy a dance in a burning building: don’t panic but know that catastrophe is inevitably imminent. That’s just the truth about life, a message that most songs don’t offer unless their carried by the right voice. Kiki and Herb, thank you for the sadness, the chaos, the laughs, the joy. We bow to your power to reveal.