SINGER: Lady Rizo is an American singer, comedian and actress who began her career performing in New York City in 2004.
SINGER: Lady Rizo is an American singer, comedian and actress who began her career performing in New York City in 2004. CONTRIBUTED

A political and radical faery on stage

AMERICAN artists Lady Rizo is coming to Lismore with her new show Red, White and Indigo.

The show is a reflection of the artist's love-hate relationship with America.

We sat for a chat to Lady Rizo ahead of her Lismore City hall Show as per of the NORPA season 2018.

What can we expect from your Lismore show?

I'll have a hot trio comprised of amazing antipodean musicians: Jonathan Zwartz on bass, a gorgeous Kiwi that I've had the pleasure of playing several times with on tour; Simon Rudston-Brown on guitar and vocals, who I'm so glad joined us for the Sydney Festival Run, and Pete Wilkins on drums from Byron Bay, who I haven't met yet!

I'll also have a lovely assistant helping me and an audience member lovingly forced to help me for a small portion.

WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE

What kind of feedback have your received about Indigo after it was released?

It's been amazing. We took so long! Really. Too long, but I did have a baby in the middle of production.

We also took long to really carefully orchestrate these dramatic and swelling pop songs.

Fans and critics alike are digging the album as a whole.

What was it like to record it at Royal Studios in Memphis?

It was like a pilgrimage to a holy site.

I love Al Green and the entire Stax anthology, so being there felt very informative.

Like I was giving my theatrical cabaret energies a Memphis Soul infusion.

Royal is one of the oldest continuously operated music recording studios in the world and has been kept like a working museum because Willie Mitchell's son Boo runs Royal now and wants to honour the legacy.

Boo engineered the record and his father produced Ann Peebles, Chuck Berry, Ike and Tina along with others. I used the same metal reverb plate as Al Green used- with transducers to make this trailing, three dimensional sound.

What is your personal relation with the USA these days?

Complex. Hopeful.

I want to love my country but I feel continuously disappointed.

Now I feel like it's been kidnapped by a crazy wanna-be king and the upside is that it's getting people fired up for active participation in lawmaking.

Lady Rizo (aka Amelia Zirin-Brown) is an American singer, comedian and actress who began her career performing in New York City in 2004.
Lady Rizo (aka Amelia Zirin-Brown) is an American singer, comedian and actress who began her career performing in New York City in 2004. CONTRIBUTED

Do you feel (like many US artists) you end up apologising for the way the US government is being led these days?

I announce this show as part of my apology tour.

I feel no part of electing the 70 year-old toddler / Das Gropenfpurer to office, so it's less an apology and more like " I still can't believe it either."

I'm always proud to be a New Yorker, though. That's a special badge.

From that point of view, is this a great source of material for artists like you?

I've always strived to keep my work not overtly political - not that I'm am not interested in the political, I am.

The reason being that I wanted to make a refuge for all of that noise, which sometimes is so obviously a political gossip circus, and focus on the personal and how the personal becomes the collective experience through story and song.

But this election felt intimately offensive, and my following obsession with his every stupid, hurtful, and potentially world-threatening stance on issues hurt deeper than I had ever viewed an American political grievance.

Taylor Mac, who you have collaborated with, performed in the same venue some years ago in Lismore. What similarities and difference are there between the two of you on stage?

I love Taylor, we are close friends.

We both come from an acting background and chose making our own work as an alternative to the frustration of fitting into a casting paradigm.

We both identify as radical faeries which is a loosely affiliated worldwide countercultural network that is centered on queer consciousness through secular spirituality.

Taylor's queer-ness is more forthright whereas I present as a more classic Diva and my queer nature is subtly peppered into the performance.

I play with traditional glamour imagery, whereas Taylor does this incredible subversive extreme clown-like but gorgeous face painting.

We are both singers and storytellers who aim for a rejuvenation through the community building that glittery nightclub/theatre affords.

Joining people together through the exhilarating time honored rituals of showbiz.


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