Right before he went on to a standing room only crowd of young swells at Soho House Wednesday night, I stood peeing into the next urinal next to BARR, aka Brendan Fowler, one of the performance stars of "The Generational: Younger than Jesus" at the New Museum. Indeed, the Soho House gig, sponsored by Performa as one of a series of events anticipating the next Performa Biennial in our fair city next November, was a warm-up for Fowler's sold-out New Museum gig on Friday night.
While the yellow flowed, Brendan, a tall gangly Sarah Lawrence grad with a hairdo reminiscent of the Dick Tracy character Flattop, told me he was nervous, to which I replied, "There's nothing better than popularity, Brendan, and you've got that." Not that he has, or needs, much more, for Brendan's talent is to rap, breakdance, and haltingly charm his audience with self-referential tales of his past and future gigs.
Time was when a performer was Frank Sinatra alternating precision changes with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. Now, it is Brendan Fowler using his iPod as a kind of straight man, or is that bent object? Nevertheless, his fans love him as he goes through a series of lame splits, kissing the floor and rappin’ like Vanilla Ice. I kinda like him, too, in spite of the fact that Brendan is talentless.
Marcia Tucker, the late founder of the New Museum, really died before her time. In her declining years, Marcia launched a career as a standup comic without any real jokes or routine. She also piped her favorite music into the old New Museum's bathrooms. Who knew that Marcia was divining yet another trend: rapped standup to piped-in tunes? Marcia would have loved to take a private pee with Brendan Fowler and someday you could, too!
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).