VAGINAL CREME DAVIS
in an original Performative Lecture/Oratorio
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2009
Department of Performance Studies
Tisch School of the Arts, NYU
We extend our thanks
to Vaginal Davis and to Aliza Schvarts and Prof. José Muñoz of
the Tisch Dept. of Performance Studies for their assistance in the making of
this event and our recording.
by Steven Koenig.
©(p)Vaginal Davis and Steven Koenig.
It was that odd
time for gay kids, caught between disco and punk. One never imagined that it
would become a staple of weddings and bar mitzvahs, nor that punk style would
be appropriated for sale at Macy's and Bloomingdale's, as Vaginal Davis alludes
to in the final Q&A.
the then-plentiful independent record stores in the East Village were small
bookshops where one could get publications anarchist and or queer, punk and
or de mode. Homozines such as Larry-Bob's Holy Titclamps! (now online
featured interviews with queer writers and musical groups such as Pansy Division,
and, as important, listings of other homocore magazines and DIY artifacts and
It was there where
I first discovered an ad for a series of VHS tapes by Vaginal Creme Davis, in
her guise as Fertile Latoyah Jackson, and tucked my hidden dollar bills in an
envelop and off it went to L.A. I loved her thumb-in-your-face attitude and
absolute camp tackiness. Sloppy though much of it was, both in cam quality and
content (although no worse than most of the now-standard online post-your-own
videos, making use of what she calls "availablism," the do-it-yourself
aesthetic), it was ours and it was out there. To this day I cherish
the fierce cover photo from Thing magazine hanging on my wall, her face snarling
and beautiful and laughing and not.
When I got an email about a performance/lecture at NYU, I jumped at the chance
to meet Ms. Davis for the first time. I arrived GPT, natch, but missed only
the first paragraph or so and my trusty recorder gathered the rest, posted here
for you. The depth and breadth of this mosaic discourse about all things Black,
queer, punk, art and sociopolitical is headspinning. Thank you, Vaginal Davis!
EXACTLY, IS THE BLACK FREAK?
Berlin vs. LA,
healthcare and eleventuplets, Black queer birthing, burgeoning blaxploitation
and punk scene, Romantic squalor, trespass cinema scene, anti-corporate culture,
and what is Black freakiness?
©1996 Marc Thorman. Dr. Vaginal Davis in "Natural Born Shrimper."
WHITE TO BE ANGRY
Snow queens, dinge
queens, seducing racist police officers, Moesha, Los Angeles race riots, Michael
Jackson, repeat after me: Mandingo.
Dino De Laurentiis,
freedom from slavery via sex work, the dangerous and the desirable, the local
yokel slave market, Perry King, Rudy Ray Moore, and butt babies.
Freaks and Snoop
Dogg, Rudy Ray Moore's Dolomite, D. W. Griffith's Birth Of A Nation,
mutual influences of Black, feminist and gay cultures, namesake Angela Davis,
Huey Newton, and the whimsy of the freak.
The religious freak,
the Carter Family and Ethel Waters, and the itinerant preacherwoman the Right
Reverend Saint Theresa Tate.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Cinema, Bruce LaBruce,
NYU kids, Orifice Descending, girl male prostitutes, kai kai, barricuda femme
tops and buttery butch bottoms, German penises, Pee On Me, The Dominettes, burlesque
boys, and Vaginal Davis sings.
from the collection of Marc Thorman
Lagniappe: MY WATER BROKE!
Soundtrack from That Fertile Feeling by Fertile Latoyah Jackson.
©1996 Marc Thorman. Vaginal Davis at the Jackie60 party at Mother.