The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac
-posted by Patrick Alan Coleman
“Comparison is violence.”
If what Taylor Mac says about comparison is true, then all reviewers are, essentially, the journalistic equivalents of Jack the Ripper. When it comes to certain reviewers, I don’t think many artists would disagree.
But in the spirit of the incredible Taylor Mac, I will do my best to eschew comparison. I will leave out allusions to the Cockettes and Portland’s own, now disbanded, Sissyboys. I will forego any discussion that might mention the love child of Eric Bogosian and Devine. I will not utter the words, “Tiny Tim.” Alright, go ahead and call me passive aggressive.
Taylor Mac leaves little for a reviewer to go on- I mustn’t use the term “universal” to describe the show, either. So, my best recourse is to simply gush: Taylor Mac’s amazing drag show is emotionally dynamic, deeply moving and ultimately entertaining. His ease with an audience is impressive. It’s as if he has known us all of his life. We are his people and he is our flag bearer, leading us towards a Mylar revolution. In Taylor Macs world, the streets will be littered with drag and we will all be fierce.
But in order to have a revolution, we must be honest with one another. Taylor Mac exudes honesty, which is odd, considering that he performs behind a mask of make-up and sequins. Never the less, he lays himself open to reveal the vulnerable human being inside, hurting and loving and wanting.
The gorgeous Mac jokes that his show is not accessible to heterosexual audiences. At least, I think he’s joking. Either way, his songs and dialogue rest deeply in human emotion (see, I didn’t say universal) shared by all of us. I doubt that heterosexuals would be lost among gay references and stories of male homosexuality. I mean, even though I am bi-sexual, I feel that I was able to connect with way more than half of the show.
It is a drag show at 6:30 in the evening, but Taylor Mac manages, in his Protean way, to transform the cavernous Northwest Neighborhood Cultural Center. By the end of his set he, sits in a tight spotlight at the edge of the stage, singing softly, accapella, about fear. I am no longer in Portland in the early evening, I am in a smoky club in some furtive basement bar in Manhattan and I am falling in love.
The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac is inspired and inspiring. Don’t be surprised if TBA sees an increase in Fabulous.
Sit in awe of Taylor Macs “suspicious package” Sun. and Mon. night at 6:30pm, NWNCC.