Cloggers and Drag Queens Make For a Damn Good Variety Show

02/07/2013 2:04 PM |

WHOOP DEE DOO at PICA’s annual Time-Based Art Festival (TBA) SEPTEMBER 2011 from Whoop Dee Doo on Vimeo.

“What do you do in Kansas City on a Friday night? You dress up goth with your friends and hit the local cowboy bar to fuck with people,” Jaimie Warren said yesterday in a closing lecture for her solo show at the Hole. But you can only fuck with the hometown so many times, and thus, they began the travelling variety show WHOOP-DEE-DOO.

Driven by the impulse to get people out of their shells, Warren and crew began finding local niche groups that would probably never otherwise work together. For a show in Kansas City, Missouri, they paired a drag queen with a senior clogging troupe, who both happened to share all-Rhianna repertoires. “Each group was hesitant to work with the other, because they thought the other would be judgemental of them,” Warren said. “Once we got them to get over that hump, they realized they were totally ecstatic about each other and totally giddy to be working with one another. They only lived three hours apart, so we knew they would continue to work together.”

The show, which began in 2007, is now joined by a recent upswing of DIY variety shows, like Manhattan’s ESP TV, San Francisco’s Queens Nails, and Portland’s Experimental Half-Hour. But unlike the others, Whoop-Dee-Doo seems like more of a group activity than an exhibition; the artists collaborate with local kids on beautiful cardboard backdrops, creating a childlike safe zone for shit to get weird. “There’ll be Christian mimes and Celtic bag pipers and Civil War reenactors and punk bands and drag queens, and they’re all dancing together to disco music, and it’s totally nuts,” Jaimie said.

Nuts, like this modern dance take on poop by Portland’s Mizu Desierto Butoh Theatre (above, 15:23). Or Omaha’s Dancing Grannies (1:26), followed by the African Cultural Connection. Or Mount Rushmore in a staring contest (2:57). And that’s just a random sample from the many episodes you can watch online. You’ll laugh and cry and probably gag a little bit. It’s fun!