Although it was the July 4th weekend, my brand of patriotism did not include wearing red, white and blue. The only fireworks I experienced were on Saturday, when I ventured out to Secret Project Robot in Williamsburg for Licker License, a touring all-female video and performance event presented by music impresario Todd Pendu and curated by Hazel Hill McCarthy III As befits all hopelessly cool spots, it was hard to find the entrance to Secret Project Robot, so I checked out back and, entering the first door I found, felt like I’d intruded on a speakeasy stuffed with a band of hipsters who stared at me indifferently. Rather than be intimidated, I strode over to the bar at the side of the room and saluted the bartender. Experimental video shorts were projected on three different walls; it looked like the party was starting.
The Licker License invitation described the videos as a "sensually grotesque observation of the female experience as seen through an antifeminist/feminist show." I still don’t know what that means and I’m not sure about grotesque, but there were some arresting moments. Kathleen Daniels’ film was a cartoonish sequence of distorted characters, some of whom flew through the air. Then there was McCarthy’s video depicting breasts being surgically probed in some sort of surgical ritual. The tits belonged to Genesis Breyer P-Orridge who had arrived and was nestled on a chair in the center of the room. "Genesis, what’s happening?" The platinum-haired British rocker, sporting a denim vest, smiled and said, "Have you seen my film? It played Tribeca Film Festival and BAM. I’m off to Los Angeles next."
Before I could invite myself along, we all raced inside when it was announced No Bra was ready to perform. Susanne Oberbeck’s singing is reminiscent of Nico and is accompanied by a similar droning. My friend Mari perked up when Oberbeck launched into her hit "Munchausen," which is about a pissing contest. "Really? I once organized a radical picnic with Kathleen Hanna/ Really? I was born with only one leg/ Really? I was cremated once," go the undermining lyrics. Then there was the line about Nina Hagen making pizza out of dead cats, a colorful image but not exactly typical holiday fare. Still, I’d take it over hot dogs and fireworks any time.