Sex with Nation: The OK (Bad) Girls Cabaret

  • Katherine Mezur

Abstract

When her skirts ripple, the room becomes a tidal wave of red, a red sea of cloth. The gallery is Norico’s dress. If Norico pulls at her skirts, would the walls come down? Or are we drowning in her red dress? The red skirts flow away from her small gesturing figure. She is the vortex and the siren, sitting on a twelve-foot high pedestal. Norico embodies the room and becomes the dress consuming the room and all beneath. One enters the “exhibit” by crawling under her skirts. Billowing and swimming your way through the red skirts, you arrive at Norico’s throne, a padded toilet seat on a raised platform. Under her skirts that form a tent beneath this throne, everyone is bathed in the deep red light filtering through the crimson fabric. Norico invites spectators to take a flashlight and look up her dress to her seated bottom. Wearing white little girl underwear, she moves on her seat, rocking back and forth, lifting up and plumping down again, making billows of her dress swell, surge, and roll away. Her thighs press against the seat. Everyone underneath glances up, then away, caught in the act of looking, they are the captured audience, bowing beneath the bad girl goddess’s skirts.

Keywords

Vortex Migration Assimilation Vinyl Refraction 

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Amelia Jones, Body Art: Performing the Subject0 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 152.Google Scholar
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    Peter Eckersall, “What Can’t Be Seen Can Be Seen: Butoh Politics and (Body) Play,” in Body Shows, ed. Peta Tait (Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 2000), 150.Google Scholar
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    Dennis Altman, Global Sex (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 12.
    For a discussion of female performers and body/media in Dumb Type, see Katherine Mezur, “Fleeting Moments: The Vanishing Acts of Phantom Women in the Performances of Dumb Type,” Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, 12: 1 (#23 2001): 189–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Larissa Hjorth, “Pop and Ma: The Landscape of Japanese Commodity Characters and Subjectivity,” in Mobile Cultures: New Media in Queer Asia, ed. Chris Berry, Fran Martin, and Audrey Yue (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 158–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 20.
    Ross Parker, and Hughie Charles, “We’ll Meet Again,” April 26, 2004, online at <http://ingeb.org/songs/wellmeet.html>; Vera Lynn, singer April 26, 2004, online at <http://www.lyricsxp.eom/lyrics/w/we_ll_meet_again_vera_lynn.html>.Google Scholar
  7. 22.
    I am using some of the discourse on “abjection” that Karen Shimakawa has put forward in her book, National Abjection. While I am not looking at the same field of immigrant and nation, Norico uses methods of “abjection” and performs “abject” in a shifting “national/cultural identifying process.” Karen Shimakawa, National Abjection (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002), 3. Shimakawa also draws on Judith Butler’s “abject” as theorized in Bodies that Matter, particularly her use of the “unlivable,”CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. (Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex [New York: Routledge, 1993], 3), which I find applicable to the nation/culture corporeality of Norico’s performances or performed bodies.Google Scholar
  9. 23.
    Katherine Liepe-Levinson’s book, Strip Show: Performances of Gender and Desire, Gender in Performance (London and New York: Routledge, 2002) and Mobile Cultures: New Media in Queer Asia ed. Chris Berry, Fran Martin, and Audrey Yue, both offer ways to analyze “acts” of desire, and the relationship of the market to those acts and their proliferation and audiences.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Laura Miller and Jan Bardsley 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Mezur

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