The golden age between the first terror attack and the last. Answered
Two nights ago at the MOMA I got the chance to catch Weimar NY (A Golden Gate Affair). I had my reservations at first, but my girlfriend kept insisting it would be absolutely marvelous darling and, in fact, it was. For those of you like myself who probably had never heard of this before, Weimar NY is a cabaret, burlesque, gender-bending, performance art, radical left-wing, extravaganza celebrating "the golden age between the first terror attack and the last."
Having been part of post-9/11 New York I can honestly say that this is something that could have only developed as a response to that time-period. It's a document, celebration of and response to a certain amount of uncertainty, fear, depression and general hopelessness that descended upon New York after the fall of the towers and to that effect is still somewhat relevant today even if and especially because the face of the city changed after that morning. Something became different when all of a sudden the rest of America became New Yorkers.
I think Penny Arcade (an infamous and outspoken ex-Warhol Superstar) summarized it best when she pointed out the difference between New York City and San Francisco. As she saw it, both places were filled with annoying disgusting tourists, but in San Francisco they leave. I think what she means by that is after 9/11, when all of a sudden everyone thought they were a New Yorker, there was a sudden influx of new migrants to New York different from all previous migrations. Again, as she also states, it used to be that people went to New York to reinvent themselves and now they were coming to reinvent New York and turn it into a suburb no different from any other.
And it's out of this feeling that Weimar NY grew. It grew out of the alienation of the freaks, geeks, criminals, anarchists, drag queens and general delinquents that used to flood to Manhattan to be at home that were being pushed out by the influx of chain stores, Chase Banks, Gucci wielding bleach-blonds, meatheaded corporate-types and every other boring sort of mediocrity that usually just stayed home in its suburb.
Personally this hits home because I grew up north of the city in the suburbs and the first chance I got to escape the suburbs I fled to New York City to be amongst the socially delinquent part of society. I was fortunate enough to get there just before anyone outside of the city knew who, what or where Brooklyn was, when the Moldy Peaches were still playing house parties and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't accidentally formed one evening in some bar on the LES (and for that matter no one referred to the Lower East Side as "LES" and you could still get stabbed there for pocket change). This was back when the city was dangerous and full of possibility. After the towers fell things changed. At first it was quiet and sad. But New Yorkers aren't the type to sit home and feel sorry for themselves. Shortly after the city burst with life and this sudden vibrant outburst of life, creativity and happiness drew incredible people from all over the world who once again shifted everyone's attention to New York. And these incredible people... incredible happenings... incredible everything! for that matter, then started gaining lots of people's attention and drawing people increasingly not-so-incredible. Once this started happening, almost overnight, it got to the point where Penny Arcade could refer to Manhattan as "suburbanized."
Personally, it was the night I discovered that the Second Ave. Deli (an infamous New York institution) had been shut down and was going to be replaced with a Chase Bank that I resolved I had enough and needed to leave New York. It was almost officially no longer home or a refuge for the marginalized, unwanted and magnificent. This left an even bigger question, "where does one go from here?" I still have not resolved this issue (but am happily in San Francisco for the time being). And I don't think anyone has.
I forget where I heard, but someone said recently that every period of time has its city. For instance, at the end of the 19th century it was Paris and the end of the 20th it was New York. The keyword there is "was." I personally think Weimar NY has picked up on this feeling and have encapsulated the "golden age between the first terror attack and the last" and will continue to carry on the torch of the grand society of wonderful weirdos and infamous outcasts so long as someone else is willing to listen.
Any which way, I doubt if they will perform outside of New York City ever again, but should you happen to in the NYC, I recommend checking it out.