Not your mother’s MOM
You will get wet
A few months back at the True Love Coffeehouse, MOM, a slight woman no taller than a rose bush, walked toward the microphone wearing a red mask that covered the majority of her face. A pair of Mickey Mouse ears sat lopsided on her head like she’d just snatched a small child from Disneyland, eaten him and taken his little hat as a trophy. Only one of her eyes was visible underneath the mask she wore, and it scanned the room inquisitively before she started the show. Underneath her red dress was a pair of dirty, ripped, green stockings. Oh yes, and there was a fuzzy, homemade merkin strapped to her loins.
The first of many very loud Annette Funicello tracks began to play, and MOM sang over them in an electronically altered voice and writhed around the dark room, suggestively grabbing her crotch and giggling into the microphone. The crowd danced in their seats looking a little bit unnerved, but mostly entertained.
Last Friday, during her set at Javalounge, MOM picked out an audience member and squirmed in front of him, taunting him with a greasy, dripping Willie’s burger in one hand. The audience member shook his head, as if to say, “If you actually do what I think you’re going to do, I will be gravely disappointed.” But before the poor bastard could articulate his thoughts, MOM was rubbing the hamburger patty into his face. He continued to shake his head, this time with greasy chili chunks falling onto his shirt.
“Yes, MOM loves burgers and hot dogs,” she said, standing in front of the cafe after the show. “It’s good for your face … ” Her burger-stained dress smelled like a Dumpster. “… and Mom wants the audience to have a beautiful face.”
In the past few months, stories of MOM have been trickling in: At The Press Club, someone dragged her onstage where she sat in a stinking garbage can; MOM stripped nude at a house show; people got up and left a MOM performance in complete disgust, etc.
“I took a cow heart and ripped it in half, put it around my neck and people left,” she explained. “I had a dead duck; I was holding it in my hand … the neck broke and the body fell apart and I threw it in someone’s face.”
In an attempt to explain her behavior, she added, “It’s the other half of me; I just become a wild beast.”
MOM is as much of a beast as she is a civilized performance artist, musician and provocateur. In fact, she does whatever is humanely possible to help people part with their egos and to be free. And if that means wielding an animal carcass or stripping naked or being downright inhumane, then so be it. “MOM is nudity,” she says. “I eat ice cream and sit in the nude.”
And in case you were wondering, the story of MOM doesn’t get any less confusing. In the liner notes of her recently released self-titled CD (available at MOM shows), she briefly explains her origin: “Born in a pineapple tree. I found to be Harry. Now live with the chickens in Disney.”
Not much there.
Her theme, if there is one, is Walt Disney and Annette Funicello. But whatever happiness Funicello or Disney might have intended in their jovial Mouseketeerisms, quickly turns into hallucinatory, near-blasphemous madness under MOM’s twisted remixology.
Confusion, freakishness, insanity, smudging of a childhood icon, pelvic gyrations, hamburgers, ruby slippers, scaring children, throwing stuff in people’s faces, groin flashing and soiled stages all seem like truly disgusting things; however, if you think about it, they’re all somehow very American things. But, really, don’t think about that so much.
As curious passersby take extra glances to check out her MOMketeer outfit, MOM thinks of a simple message for SN&R readers: “I encourage people to smell like baby shit and eat trash,” she says, finally, as she heads back into the cafe, probably to collect her amplifier, say goodbye to friends and to wipe off her dirty merkin.