TAMMY FAYE STARS AS NICO IN " IT WAS A PLEASURE THEN" - 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF CHELSEA GIRL
Photo by Bob Gruen
Tammy Faye Starlite reprises her bravura portrayal of cultural icon/provacateuse Nico in "It Was A Pleasure Then" with six performances this spring at Pangea, New Yorks cutting-edge downtown cabaret. The New York Times called her earlier performance of Nico: Underground remarkable and howlingly funny and a morbidly fascinating night of theater.
In her new piece, set for consecutive Thursdays April 6 through May 11, Tammy takes on "Chelsea Girl", Nicos landmark post-Velvet Underground solo album, recorded and originally released fifty years ago. That album -- and Tammys set list -- consists of songs written by Velvet Underground band mates Lou Reed, John Cale and Sterling Morrison as well as Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne and Tim Hardin. The show takes its title from the albums It Was A Pleasure Then, written by Reed, Cale and Nico (born Christa Päffgen). The shows poignant title song includes the lyric:
It was a pleasure then
When we could sit and stare again
Until the stars fell through
The cloudy trees onto the grass
Stars to smile with us
Until they too had tears in their eyes
Chelsea Girl will be performed in its entirety, including Jackson Brownes The Fairest of the Season, These Days as well as Somewhere Theres a Feather. The album marked the first time any of Brownes songs had been recorded. Nicos was also the first released version of Dylans Ill Keep It With Mine. Tim Hardins Eulogy To Lenny Bruce is another Chelsea Girl highlight. John Cales Winter Song, Reeds Wrap Your Troubles In A Dream and the Cale-Reed collaboration Little Sister underscored the ongoing impact of the Velvet Underground on Nicos oeuvre as does Chelsea Girls, written by Reed and Morrison. The repertoire evokes an era of musical and creative experimentation, political and social upheaval that is echoed in current times.
Tammy Faye noted, Im really looking forward to "It Was a Pleasure Then" when Ill be taking Chelsea Girl to the stage as Nico had always wanted it to be performed: with no flute. She will, however, be accompanied by musicians Eszter Balint, David Dunton, Richard Feridun and Keith Hartel.
Laudation for Tammys performance pieces as Nico has been extensive and effusive. Rolling Stones David Fricke wrote, The show mocks and honors its subject with loving regard. David Keeps, writing for the LA Times, observed, Tammy Faye Starlite channels the chanteuses languid essence and characterized her as "a performer who thrives on spontaneity and improvisation." Roy Trakin, in HITS, called her portrayal, a brilliant, nuanced performance, completely convincing, at once a sly parody, but also an admiring nod to the original and a loving rendition of a pop culture icon"
Robert Christgau, "the dean of American rock critics," cited Tammy Faye as "a performance artist [with the ability to] slip into someone else's skin."
The Pet Shop Boys, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, have called Tammy Faye an incredible actress and found her portrayal most convincing, stating There wasnt a minute when we didnt think we werent watching the real Nico.
Danny Fields, the legendary Warhol era scenester and title character in the Ramones song "Danny Says" and subject of the documentary feature film of the same title, famously, signed Nico to Elektra Records, and is a fan and mentor of Tammy's. He has characterized her performance, most succinctly, as "not an imitation but a rediscovery of Nico." Adding most sincerely,"I love what she does, she's wonderful."
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Seating at Pangea is communal. Other guests may be seated at the table. There is a $20 per person food or beverage minimum at the tables. DINNER SEATING BEGINS AT 6:00PM.
Please arrive one half hour prior to the show and allow additional time if you are planning to have a dinner.
Late arrivals will be seated at managements discretion.
178 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003