What exactly does one say about Taylor Mac's Comparison Is Violence or The Ziggy

Stardust Meets Tiny Tim Songbook Being someone with limited knowledge of theater
and the tradition out of which it has grown and developed, Ì must admit Ì feel a bit ill
prepared to even begin a critique of Taylor's work. After all it was Mac himself who, mid-
performance took a moment to colorfully illustrate the difference between review and
critique, then promptly traced his own creative tradition from Hedwig and the Angry Inch
back through David Bowie, Charles Ludlam and the Theater of the Ridiculous all the way
back to Greek theater, with a cavalcade of stops and references along the way. How am
Ì, an undergraduate student with a tertiary at best knowledge of the theater even going
to begin to touch that

Well the truth is, Ì'm not. Because if Ì were to be honest with you, Ì would have to admit
that Ì don't think it's important to understand the trajectory of theatricality from its
inception in order to appreciate Taylor Mac's frenetically paced cabaret. Ìn fact,
approaching this extravaganza of vocal dynamics and glitter with any agenda
whatsoever seems to be exactly what Mac is rallying against in this, his self-professed
first cabaret style work.

Or is it Despite his consistent challenging of categorization and comparison, Mac also
made some pretty emphatic statements placing himself within a very specific context.
Phrases like "Ì'm a traditionalist insurgent fighting against the invasion and occupation
of realism¨, though not completely off base and perhaps a little hyperbolic, suggest Mac
is more than prepared to label himself as long as the label is of his own making. Ìndeed
what Mac seems to be doing more than demolishing boundaries, is warping and shifting
them in order to fit his own needs, playing the role of a trickster by calling into question
the assumptions under-pinning what we think we know.

So whether he is belting out David Bowie numbers in falsettos squeezed into existence
by a classification too small to fit in, recalling his borderline-desperate admiration of
Ricky Schroeder, or illuminating the subtle differences between "lesbian glam¨ and
gender bending, Mac is continually playing with our expectations, laying bare our
tendency to see what we want rather than what is. And despite moments that seemed
almost a little too "feel-good¨, and an undertone of irony thick enough to chew on, the
strategy is effective. After all, Ì hate demands for participation in theater almost as much
as Taylor Mac claims to, but in the end Ì climbed into that imaginary bubble-gum bubble
along with the rest of his audience, and loved every second of it...

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