WARM UP INTERVIEW : KIM ANN FOXMAN
Kim Ann Foxman performed last weekend at MoMA PS1 Warm Up 2013 in Queens, NY. Enter now to win a pair of passes to this Saturday’s Warm Up shows. Make sure to be quick, they’re a hot commodity round these parts.
What’s the song, producer or moment that propelled you from being a fan of house to a maker of house? What drew you to that culture before you became one of its producers?
Growing up on stuff like technotronic and freestyle tuned my ear to love electronic sounds. I always gravitated towards that. Later came the rave scene, which was really exciting for me: it was so underground, so wild and so much fun. Moving from Hawaii to San Francisco, I really dived into that scene and I got really into DJs and started collecting vinyl and mixed tapes. I always loved to dance so much. One day in San Francisco, at a party, I took a break from dancing my ass off and I somehow got into a conversation with this guy. He mentioned that he made dance music, I thought that was really cool. He invited me over to see how we could collaborate if I was interested. So I went over to his studio a few days later. Eventually we started working together, I got my first sampler and drum machine. After that, I was hooked: we ended up as a two man electronic band. We had ten shows in San Francisco… and then I moved to New York.
American house music has its roots in New York, from the Paradise Garage, and in Chicago. Now that house is moving to the foreground of dance music in the United States in a sort of unprecedented way, people tend to associate the genre more with New York. What do you think of the current, possibly less appreciated, house scene in Chicago, and do you draw any inspiration from that culture in the past or present?
That is true but I think that although there is now much less of a “scene” in Chicago for house music, people everywhere else are still inspired by the sound and acknowledge it, and there is a lot of respect. It may be a really small scene but the tiny part that is left of it is proper. And you can see that the roots are deep down in there although current trends may have shifted very much. I get a lot of inspiration from classic Chicago tracks and I play a lot of that sound in my Dj sets as well.
If you weren’t making music, what would you do for a living instead — in an alternate reality?
Something creative and fun. I am pretty open to creative possibilities: design, or have a brand of some sort. Maybe have a quirky venue, even. I also always thought it would be dreamy to do something adventurous, like documenting exotic places, new species and discoveries for something like National Geographic. At least I think that would be really exciting anyway.
Dear faithful readers — if you know us and love us at all then you know who Linda Gerard is. And you know that we love her beyond reason. And you know that she is currently facing off with the asshole named cancer — and we’re hoping everyone can chip in to help her out. Coin, vibes and kind words all matter.
Above, you’ll see Linda’s brief chat with Andrew Andrew during Desert Gold 2010 — the fifth edition is fast approaching this month. And below is part three of Linda’s interview with DJ Day — you can grab Linda’s Sissy Bingo t-shirt and her latest record, a compilation of greatest hits, Fabulous Selections, on our shop — all proceeds go to Linda’s Kick Cancer’s Ass Fund.
Next up in our interview series: Ira Glass!
Can we talk about Funny Girl?
Well what happened with Funny Girl — I was with William Morris, and the pianist for Funny Girl was a guy named Peter Daniels. Peter Daniels was my accompanist. He was also Barbra Streisand’s accompanist and Lainie Kazan’s. He worked for all three of us and when Funny Girl opened, I went to opening night with my husband at the time, and I remember nudging him and saying, “It’s going to be me up there someday.” I knew that role was written for me.
Our friend, fashion idol and philosophical guru Linda Gerard serenades devoted fans every Monday night at Sissy Bingo at Ace Palm Springs — a storied songstress of Broadway and Follies fame, she also peppers random lunches and dinners at King’s Highway with show-stopping belters, raising her bejeweled hands to the sky as she slays the final notes of Zing! Went the Strings of my Heart to thundering applause, having, each time, gained a couple dozen new groupies.
Recently, we were shaken by the news that Linda is in the process of kicking cancer’s ass. She was diagnosed earlier this year and is currently in the process of treatment and recovery. We love her dearly and would bend over backward to help and support her. This Monday, join us and her massive posse of friends, family and fans in the Commune for a festival of positivity, love and posse-rallying, with DJ Day, Alf Alpha, Giselle Woo, JP Houston and others. Donations at the door enter you to a raffle with damn good prizes, and proceeds from drinks go toward Linda and all rooms booked for that night at Ace with code FABULOUS are not only 25% off but go toward Linda’s support fund as well. See more about the event on our calendar.
Find here part two of three chapters of DJ Day’s interview with Linda about life, love and Lawrence Welk. DJ Day’s ridiculously great new record Land of 1000 Chances is up on our shop, as is Linda’s Fabulous Selections — which we released recently — and, you guessed it, proceeds from her record and our Sissy Bingo shirt go toward Linda as well.
Read on, show the love and stay tuned for chapter three, forthcoming soon.
Talk about the Rose Tattoo time…
What happened was, when my girlfriend broke up with me in ‘87, I needed a new beginning. I bought the Rose Tattoo in ‘88.
This was in West Hollywood and obviously huge at the time. I mean, Barry Manilow?
They all came. They all came to the Rose Tattoo and it was very, very exciting.
Eric Shiner is the man behind Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum. He’s also this year’s Armory Focus curator, turning the Armory Show spotlight — now in its 100th year — to US-based artists of the now. As a curator, he has a very strong voice — he’s commissioned an on-site tower of Brillo boxes in tribute to Warhol by Charles Lutz, and light sculpture by Peter Liversidge — and he’s also orchestrating an installation and performance at Ace Hotel New York we’ll tell you about soon… Another distinguishing facet: if you Google Image search him, you find a lot of guys named Eric with black eyes. We recently talked with Mr. Shiner a little bit about the centennial and these last hundred years of art.
Is the centennial of the first Armory Show an inspiration or a long shadow that it’s hard to get out from under? If the lead-up to WWI was the catalyst for the revolutions that were going on then in art, should we just be happy our own malaise are tame by comparison? Does art benefit from adversity and how much adversity is enough/too much?
I can safely say that the first Armory Show is just one of the countless change agents that have occurred in the art world over the past 100 years, although it is certainly an important one. For me, it was simply a point of reference for the Focus Section of The Armory Show, and I am including one installation that makes a direct reference on Marcel Duchamp, whose work at the 1913 Armory certainly ruffled many feathers. War and political upheaval do indeed act as a major influencer on the art being made in that period, but it’s important to note that the Armory was in 1913, with World War I starting a year later in 1914, so there is no connection to that specific war, but more broadly to the cataclysmic social change that was unfolding on a number of fronts in Europe at the time. Art always benefits from adversity, and so too does art present a fair amount of necessary adversity to its audiences. I think that great art should always make the viewer somewhat uncomfortable, challenging them to think in new ways. So, in the end, too much is never enough.
As curator of the Focus section, the country you got handed was the United States of America. That’s a big, rich country. How do you even start to narrow it down?
Yes, indeed. America is a very big thing, both in terms of geography and in more importantly in terms of its psychographic presence in the world, both within and without its borders. It’s true that it is a big, rich country… for some that’s very true, but I think it is critically important to always remember that for many, it is a very poor country with millions of people facing actual need on a daily basis. America is nothing more than a continual series of juxtapositions, from Big to Small, Rich to Poor, Liberal to Conservative. One might even say it is a series of never-ending internal strife and conflict — something that keeps it alive, if nothing else. This being the case, I didn’t narrow anything down at all. I simply addressed some of the juxtapositions that make up this nation, and selected artists who make a career out of always questioning the powers that be, in one form or another.
To many, Linda Gerard needs no introduction. She has a cult following of devoted fans who journey to sunny Ace in Palm Springs to catch a glimpse and an earful of this self-described — Older, Wiser Lesbian. She’s everyone’s femme idol, the apple of our eye and one of our favorite human beings. She’s also a ridiculously talented woman with many an industry notch on her belt. That she’s decided to settle down with us in the desert, hosting Sissy Bingo every week and otherwise wowing those in the know as well as virgin ears and eyes, makes us incredibly blessed. Linda’s voice carries the oceanic vibrations of every great Broadway star before her, and she lets it ricochet ‘gainst the walls of King’s Highway when the mood is right. Her penchant for show-stopping eyewear and envy-inducing collection of let-your-light-shine sweaters and blazers leave us swooning.
We recently released a vinyl-only limited edition of Linda’s greatest hits, Fabulous Selections on our shop, and for our mutual dear friend DJ Day — another Palm Spring legend — we also present his first album, Land of 1000 Chances, on the shop. Day and Linda sat down recently to thumb through a bit of Linda’s life story — the stuff of big dreams, massive love, brave independence and a woman from whom we all have a lot to learn — entrusted to a confidante half her age but who’s definitely dancing to a similar drummer.
Let’s start from the beginning.
I was born in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1938, to a very orthodox Jewish family. Kept kosher, did the whole bit. I was always a performer. I always got up in front of people and sang. So, when I was old enough to get on the train my parents would let me go by myself to study in New York. I studied singing, dancing, acting, elocution and all that stuff. My parents wanted me to go to private school, but I said, “No, no, no. I don’t want to go to private school.”
I went to Trenton High School and I was in all the plays and the musicals and that was fun. Then when it was time to go to college and my parents wanted me to go I said, “I want to be in show business, but I’ll go to college if I can go to New York City.” There was a college in New York City called Finch, and it was on 78th Street between Park and Madison. I knew that if I got in I could sing on the weekends because that’s what I wanted to do. I got into Finch and on weekends I sang at 1 Fifth Avenue. I was always singing. I didn’t get great grades but I didn’t care. My parents cared, but I didn’t care. So the following year I didn’t want to go back. I said to parents, “Let me audition for the American Theatre Wing,” which was a very good school, for musical comedy.