What to make of bizarro Christian noise artist Clang Quartet
It’s not easy to shock and surprise a room full of seen-it-all hipsters at an avant garde performance/art space in Bushwick, Brooklyn in the year 2014. It’s harder still to make Christianity seem subversive. But Clang Quartet managed to achieve both at Silent Barn this past Saturday night (October 11th).
The solo project of North Carolina native Scotty Irving, who easily has the manic energy of four men, Clang Quartet’s improvisational performance is “based metaphorically on [Irving’s] life as a follower of Jesus Christ,” according to his record label. Part Passion Play, part pantomimed tent revival meeting, Irving exorcises his demons onstage through screeching, droning electronic outbursts, spastic but rhythmic drumming, and visual images that are as kitschy and cartoonish as they are creepy and arresting.
Clang Quartet’s stage set and costumes seem comprised from the remains of a trailer park ravaged by a twister: Masks and body armor made of plastic pool tubing, broken pinwheels and kids’ toys, an old crutch, bits of rusted metal, outdated Christmas ornaments, brightly coloreds tags and labels, and so much more it’s hard to catch it all. And Irving seems as shaped by Stryper, Chick tracts, and Vacation Bible School as he is by horror movies and 1980s WWF.
Irving is an open scrapbook onstage, and his performance plays out like a collage of deep-seeded memories and subconscious struggles resurrected. He also seems 100% sincere in his convictions and his show is completely free of irony. And what keeps him from being a Christian nightmare is the fact that he doesn’t shove his beliefs down anyone’s throat. There’s no verbal proselytizing, no, “You’re going to need to make the most important decision of your lives tonight, folks!” or, “Come up and talk to me after the show if you want to learn about the coolest guy that ever lived, Jesus Christ.” At the end of his performance, he simply turns his cardboard cross around to reveal a message of redemption—and it seems to have worked for him.
To watch a short documentary about Clang Quartet from 2001, click here.
Anonymous asked: So I'm a 19 year old college student and am completely crushing on my 29 year old professor. I love older guys and I can tell we have so much in common and he's just so great and I'd love to get to know him outside the classroom. I plan on possibly pursuing this once the semesters over, but how? How do I know if he's interested
Readers won’t stop sending the Bad Advisor their real-ass questions to answer, so the Bad Advisor is periodically going to try her hand at answering them.
There’s no way to tell you this without sounding like a condescending asshole but please believe the Bad Advisor when she tells you that someday you will be 29, and you will think that a 29-year-old professor dating his 19-year-old former student is a whole fucking lot of things and “cool” or “awesome” or “a good idea” will not be one of those things, and you will laugh and laugh in retrospect at the foolishness of youth.
Put this dude in your spank bank and leave him there. Preserve the magic professor fantasy. You don’t want to know what this dude’s morning breath smells like. It’s fucking gross and it smells like him giving you patronizing little lectures about Proust and making excuses about how much more special your relationship will be if you never ever tell anyone about it.
If you absolutely have to bone someone a decade older than you or your world is going to fall afuckingpart, find someone whose life and work isn’t intimately intertwined with the college you attend.