It was a hot and sweaty day Friday night (hopefully one of the last!) and the climb to the third floor of the old toy manufacturing company turned puppet house/performance space, Standard Toykraft, was a little unbearable. At the top though, I was invited into a strange atmosphere of the knick knack-y vibe and the old church-y smell of the space combined with the set-up of what felt like an adults-only children’s party; pin the tail on the donkey welcomed me at the door and there was a cake that had “Eat my fuck” scribbled on it in pink icing that my hungry stomach wanted but I was too afraid to cut into. Everything was pink and bright.
It only seemed fitting that the glam-rock, 80’s inspired singer Jesse R. Berlin would be taking over the space for his CD release show for his latest album Glitter Lung. Berlin had his limited edition pink vinyl spread out across one of the purple, plastic, tablecloth-covered tables for attendees to purchase.
The night started out with DJ Italo Cal-Vino on the one’s and two’s and people gathering in the welcoming area as they greeted old friends and met new ones.
Experimental indie-rock band, Kid in the Attic, opened the show with transient projections and dreamy electric vibes. Singer Maia Macdonald’s voice was so light and airy; I could listen to her all night. The subdued, but outstanding performance by Kid in the Attic did not prepare me for what came next.
Berlin’s “ex-wife” walked out on stage in a teal, sequined, evening gown and started to read a eulogy about her “ex-husband” until someone informed her that Berlin was not deceased. Berlin then came on stage with his “ex-wife” and someone who seemed to be playing the part of his assistant; his assistant fanned him and gave him gum while his “ex-wife” let him borrow her phone to scroll through as a voiceover, assumingly Berlin’s voice, talked to the crowd. This happened frequently throughout the performance in between Berlin’s theatrical performances of his songs off of Glitter Lung.
Throughout the performance, Berlin shot confetti cannons, serenaded an audience member, danced around like a loon as he twirled his microphone over his head, and stripped out of his pink blazer/black button up ensemble and into a shirtless/pink cape/crown wearing costume. The audience, seemingly filled with many friends of Berlin’s, was laughing the whole time at the outrageous performance. This was something unlike anything I had ever experienced before.
Glitter Lung is available for purchase on Berlin’s Bandcamp and his limited edition pink vinyl is also available for purchase while supplies last. You can catch the craziness of Jesse R. Berlin at The Gutter in Brooklyn on 10/23 and at Cake Shop in the Lower East Side on 11/18.
Article: Merissa Blitz