The Performant: Lady in Red


Cirque Noveau and Carletta Sue Kay blaze and seduce 

Even though nothing I saw over the weekend had anything remotely to do with Mardi Gras (Sunday’s Motown Parade in the Fillmore, was on the radar, but I melt in the rain), subtle little visuals kept it very much on my mind. In fact, as I type this, it nags me that I’m missing out on another Rosenmontag, Rose Monday, which is being celebrated all across Germany, a blowout which rivals the best Carnival celebrations from around the world, packed with parades, costumed revelry, and oceans of bier. I’m trying to compensate with a Rammstein CD and a 21st Amendment IPA, but really, it isn’t the same. Let “next year in Cologne” be the rallying cry! There are so many ways to dream.

Despite there not being any roses in my Montag, rose red colored my weekend. First found swirling in the startling tsunami of stage blood spilled by Impact Theatre in their Russian-mafia-meets-Romeo-and-Juliet adaptation, it also glowed wickedly, stretched across the muscled torsos of the performers of Cirque Noveau, in a production that closed last weekend entitled Devil Fish

Somewhat hampered by a plot line as thin as a contortionist’s body-stocking, the Circus improved immensely whenever they dropped the narrative and amped up the acrobatics. The sultry “Devil’s Advocate” Haley Vilora, in glittering red tiger stripes, contorted her body across the stage and through the air, a mesmerizing, gelatinous ooze. Peruvian performer (and show director) Angelo Rodriguez strutted across the stage as the Devil, and also took to the air with his signature cube. And Calvin Kai Ku entertained as a lovelorn clownfish with the hots for aerialist Morgaine Rosenthal, who floated on a set of straps with partner Ryan Webb, her red dress fluttering in the spotlight, a victory banner. 

Something tells me that recondite crooner Carletta Sue Kay knows a little about victory. I first encountered the beau-dazzling alter ego of Randy Walker in a whorehouse off the Carquinez Straits, singing longingly as if to an empty room of heartbreak, male beauty, and candy canes. Part torch singer, part small-town librarian with a knack for Karaoke show-stoppers, Carletta Sue’s enviable pipes turn often hilarious lyrics into rough gems of wisdom such as “is there a lot of dog shit in Paris?/I don’t know why I never noticed it before/Until you said goodbye to me in Paris/it’s just not the same to me anymore.” 

At Sunday’s show at the Makeout room (with the Suicide Dragons and the Sandwitches), the stage was lit red as always, which took the frump out of an embroidered sweater and peasant skirt combo and infused CSK with outlaw glamour, especially when she wailed into the mic like a soul train diva. The crowning moment of the show was definitely the stirring rendition of “If I Was Your Woman,” a song that Carletta promised would fuck her up. I don’t know how she sounds today, rasping through Rosenmontag like some film noir private eye, but on Sunday, her voice was a banner, bathed in red. 


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