Nouveau: Reviews
You are in:  Home > Nouveau: Popular Culture > Reviews   •  Archives   •  send page to a friend

John Fleck in Nothin Beats Pussy

Staff Report

New York, 10 October 2003—""Watching John Fleck work," wrote Travis Michael Holder (Entertainment Today), "is like seeing Buster Keaton on crack, racing with total abandon through his dysfunctional life while we sit howling at his bravely self-deprecating humor."

Currently at La MaMa Experimental Theater Club (until 19 October) Fleck portrays his butch ex-army father, his glamour-hungry mother, a talking fist named Pussy and an entire cast of characters in his new one man cabaret where, according to Fleck, "blond ambition and upward mobility rear their ugly heads."

Developed and workshopped at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Warhol Museum in Pittsburg and the Evidence Room in Los Angeles over the past year, Nothin' Beats Pussy takes its title from a conversation Fleck had with his father about being gay. After discovering an adolescent Fleck dressed in his mother's nightgown and wearing one of her blonde wigs, his father's only words of advice or encouragement to his son after demanding to know if he was a fruit were simply, "Nothin' Beats Pussy.".

Fleck's provocative performance piece explores pussy as a metaphor for the clichéd American dream his parents hopelessly groped for in suburban Middle America with their cocktails and blond beehive coifs via the bargain basement. "Everyone wants pussy," Fleck explains with his lipstick besmeared Señor Wences-style puppet. "And everyone wants blonde pussy."

In the L.A. production, Fleck greeted the incoming audience members with highballs and his nieces, imported from Cleveland, served cookies and helped take off people's shoes. Fleck transformed the space not just into a home, but his home-kitschy, Midwestern, filled with Andy Williams records, but often sharply poignant and difficult to be in.

Fleck spent a year and a half developing Nothin' Beats Pussy in various workshops at Dixon Place and PS 122 before taking the show to Los Angeles where it had a successful run at the groundbreaking Evidence Room that prompted the Los Angeles Times to call it a production that "reconfirms his genius at existential mayhem."

As varied as the multiple characters he performs on stage, John Fleck is a contradiction in terms. He is at once a scandalous member of the infamous NEA Four that were defunded for obscenity and a mainstream actor who is one of only two people to have the distinction of being in all four incarnations of the modern-day "Star Trek" series (Start Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise).

His previous solo shows include Mud in Your Eye, Dirt, Snowball's Chance in Hell and All for You (the last was presented by the Joseph Papp Public Theater). Fleck is currently appearing in a new "supernatural drama" on HBO, Carnivále, that made its debut last month. His character, Gecko the snake man, is part of an ensemble of freak show spectacles in a Depression-era carnival.

Nothin Beats Pussy
La MaMa E.T.C. (The Club


[ email to Editors | Back to Nouveau Magazine | Back to Culturekiosque ]

Copyright © 1996 - 2003 Culturekiosque Publications Ltd.
All Rights Reserved.