When Jenny Romaine calls your phone, you know there is something awesome happening somewhere and Jenny wants you to be a part of it. The conversation may go like this, “I’m uptown everyone is wearing plushy heads and we’re dancing outside the Russian consulate to protest the proposed gay rights laws, you’ve got to be here!” Seen & Herd has been waiting for the right moment to capture the energy and intensity of one of our favorite starlets, but how? How do you squeeze the magnanimous power of a glamorous theatrical, comedic, musical, puppeteer political activist into a photograph? Well…First, you use the stage set built by her own theater company, Great Small Works, a recreation of a set by iconic Cockette, Jilala. The imagery has been reinvented many times over. We’ve seen it surface through the eyes of Keith Herring, Grace Jones, Rhianna, and many a small puppet theater performances…
Then, with the set as her inspiration, Kelly fashions a trio of accessories to adorn her figure. The mechanical, spacey, tribal pieces pop out on our painted muse. Finally, with the excellent eyes of Eric T. White behind the camera, Jenny is asked play with reflection, blend in, stand out and do what she does best…
Seen & Herd: So Jenny, what do you do best?
Jenny Romaine: I try to make sense of what is going on around us.
SNH: Your performance and imagery is often rooted in the juicy history of people movements, share with us some of your favorite sources?
JR: Archives, Betty Boop cartoons, street posters, Democracy Now, Ancient Holy Texts (including old vaudeville scripts and outmoded forms of pop culture), DJ’s, MC’s, little girls singing games.
SNH: What’s your vision for the new world order?
JR: More artists in paid leadership positions, single payer health care, no jails, public nap centers with snacks.
SNH: If you could meet one of your fallen heroines who would it be?
JR: Nekhame Epshteyn who collected 10,000 Yiddish Jokes before she perished in WWII.
SNH: Is anger the antidote to helplessness, where do you begin?
JR: Anger gives great energy, and I also seek fun, the pleasure of telling a new story, ornamental problem solving, and companionship.
SNH: What are your secrets for overcoming time and space?
JR: The Bicycle, and the idea of ” work and after work.” There must be life and adventure after work! Also, you can go out more if you don’t drink a lot.
SNH: How many personalities are you required to summon in your everyday artistic life?
JR: I would have said 100, but having just worked with canine superstar POOPSIE, I have to say 101 and 102.
SNH: What next project are you most excited about?
JR: Covering my kitchen with clay!
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