On Saturday night, gender-bent sex symbol JD Samson was spinning electro-pop and disco onstage at (Le) Poisson Rouge, while her girlfriend Sia shimmied around. The Australian pop balladeer had a cardboard sign reading “Can’t Talk, Laryngitis,” hung around her neck. JD took the controls from Luca, a Brit house DJ, and cued up a song. A Digitalism track dissolved into the club-mix intro of Bizarre Love Triangle and JD cranked up the volume to ear splitting. The touristy crowd pumped its fists and was propelled into motion.
Samson—wearing a sweatshirt and vintage nerd glasses—bopped over to Sia and started dancing with her.
Backstage, the lovebirds were trying on hippie headbands and giggling. I had to ask: Was this laryngitis thing performance art? “It could be, but it’s not. She’s going on Letterman this week and needs to save her voice,” JD answered.
I asked JD if she still saw her bandmates from now-defunct femi-dance trio Le Tigre. “Do I see them? Yeah and we make out,” the drag-king joked. I noticed her facial hair in the light of the dressing room. So was it you or Kathleen Hanna that didn’t like Cassavetes? “We both love him; Johanna [Fateman] hated him,” she said, adding, “You can like someone’s art and not their personality.” Right on. JD referenced Burroughs and we chuckled about him killing his wife.
Sia was laughing silently and mouthing words. JD was on the case. “Right! I like you, but I don’t like your music,” she said, reading her girl’s lips. “But she didn’t even know what Le Tigre was until last week,” JD teased.Then she walked over to the door and shut it so the smoke wafting in wouldn’t irritate Sia’s throat.
I told Samson that for years I had thought Le Tigre’s earnest anthems were ironic.“Oh no. It was the new sincerity.That shit was real, and it still is,” she said as a roadie told her it was time to go on. “Don’t drink the poison!”