The Cutting Room Presents:
Tammy Faye Starlite as Nico in Chelsea Mädchen
44 E. 32nd St.
New York, NY, 10016
Tammy Faye Starlite as Nico in Chelsea Mädchen
On the heels of her recent Pittsburgh performance of Nico/Chelsea Mädchen under the auspices of The Andy Warhol Foundation, Tammy Faye Starlite brings the much lauded performance piece back to The Cutting Room every Monday evening in June with performances Monday, June 3 at 10 PM, Monday, June 10 at 8 PM, Monday June 17 at 10 PM and Monday June 24 at 8 PM.
Over the course of three years, Chelsea Mädchen has been performed at venues in New York, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and, as noted, Pittsburgh generating critical acclaim. Rolling Stone's David Fricke reviewed Chelsea Mädchen and noted that he had actually met the real Nico 34 years earlier. He wrote, "All of those Nicos – the lethal venus of 1966-67; the stoic sorceress of The Marble Index and 1970's Desertshore; the commanding matron I saw that night in New York – are present, with affectionate and gently comic detail, in Chelsea Mädchen, a portrait in performance by the colorful New York alternative-country-and-cabaret singer Tammy Faye Starlite, Starlite has the proper blonde hair and packs an accent just the right side of exaggeration. She punctuates Nico's fondly blunt and drolly unforgiving characterizations of Bob Dylan (who gave her the immortal 'I'll Keep It With Mine') the Velvets' Lou Reed ('a usurper of souls') and the teenage Jackson Browne (her accompanist for a spell after the Velvets) with regal sweeps of hair and exasperated stares, her eyes as wide as headlights. The show mocks and honors its subject with loving regard; it certainly captures the woman I met, however briefly, in 1978."
David Keeps noted in the Los Angeles Times, "In her one-woman show 'Chelsea Mädchen' Tammy Lang — a.k.a. Tammy Faye Starlite — channels the chanteuse's languid essence" and characterized the singer/actor as "a performer who thrives on spontaneity and improvisation."
HITS Magazine's Roy Trakin wrote, "Starlite is Nico in perfectly coiffed frosted blonde-hair, blackened eyeliner and gravelly Germanic drawl, launching an eerily note-perfect rendition of 'Femme Fatale.' It’s a brilliant, nuanced performance, completely convincing, at once a sly parody, but also an admiring nod to the original."
Robert Christgau, "the dean of American rock critics," writing for MSN Music in a piece under the headline "The Velvet Underground's Resident Femme Fatale Reincarnated Onstage" urged that "Anyone who knows [the album] 'The Velvet Underground and Nico' knows enough about Nico to drop in.. and learn some more." He went on to cite Tammy Faye as "a performance artist [with the ability to] slip into someone else's skin."
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, better known as The Pet Shop Boys, caught a Chelsea Mädchen performance and came away most impressed with Tennant lauding, “The band was brilliant, the interview interludes were hilarious, and Tammy Faye is an incredible actress.” Lowe agreed, adding: “There wasn’t a minute when we didn’t think we weren’t watching the real Nico.”
Frank DiGiacomo, writing in the New York Daily News called Chelsea Mädchen "a wonderfully wry one-woman homage" while veteran MTV News anchor Kurt Loder commented, "The show’s extraordinary: a Nico tribute - so unexpected! But Tammy Faye’s a fine singer, and she really nails Nico’s deadpan/narcotized delivery, and the dialogue, lifted straight from old Nico interviews, is very funny."
Larry Jaffe, like Fricke and Loder, had actually seen Nico in performance. In Rock's Back Pages, he wrote, "Tammy Faye unleashes physical comedy worthy of Lucille Ball-meets Tonya Harding. At the gig I witnessed, she sat like Rasputin behind her harmonium. I remember the band cooking on “I’m Waiting For My Man,” thinking to myself that was the closest I’d get to a live experience of Velvet Underground & Nico, Nico live was bewitching, and I’ll never forget it – much like Chelsea Mädchen.
With Chelsea Mädchen, Tammy Faye Starlite smolders in her bravura theater piece, focused on the music and commentary of Nico, the glamorously decadent Velvet Underground chanteuse, née Christa Paffgen, to Largo at the Coronet. Her performance as Nico so impressed Danny Fields, the Warhol era scenester and title character in the Ramones song "Danny Says" who, famously, signed Nico to Elektra Records, that he called the piece "Not an imitation but a rediscovery of Nico." "I love what she does," he commented about Tammy Faye, "she's wonderful."
Inspired by recent economic catastrophes of the same sort that provoked the climate of fear that begat the Third Reich, Tammy Faye Starlite forswears her country persona for an evening of song performances -- und gespräch -- in a dark, Weimar-cum Warhol Kabaret Konzert directed by Michael Schiralli. Chelsea Mädchen includes the brilliant repertoire of songs associated with Nico’s brief, yet legendary, tenure with the Velvet Underground including “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” Femme Fatale” and “All Tomorrow’s Parties.” Starlite will also perform classic Nico covers of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” Rodgers and Hart's "My Funny Valentine," Bob Dylan's "I'll Keep It With Mine" and The Doors' "The End." The show will culminate with a rousing finale of "Deutschland Über Alles."
Starlite, backed by a six piece band, recreates actual encounters Nico had with journalists based on the text by T.D. Lang. The piece includes dreamlike reminiscences about Lou Reed (and Jews in general), Andy Warhol, John Cale, Jackson Browne, David Bowie, Alain Delon and others.
For her role as Nico in Chelsea Mädchen singer/performance artist/bandleader Starlite abandoned her preternaturally godly country star character whose set list has included “Misguided Magdalene,” “God Has Lodged a Tenant in My Uterus,” "Ride The Cotton Pony" and the classic “Did I Shave My Vagina For This?” Starlite noted, “Nico was, and remains, a heroin(e) and emblem for these dark days of civil unrest and our unceasing fascination with sybaritic self-destruction and the willful deconstruction and annihilation of beauty.” She continued, “I’ve got the songs, the accent and the hair down and am working tirelessly on the cheekbones.”
$20 Advanced - $25 Day of Show
Tickets Available at the Door
The Cutting Room
Wed, February 22
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Thu, February 23
Fri, February 24
Sat, February 25