Transcript - Episode 88: Jennifer Greenburg

[Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.]

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Intro

Hello, and welcome to Keep the Channel Open, a podcast featuring conversations with artists, writers, and curators. My name is Mike Sakasegawa and this is episode 88. Today’s guest is Jennifer Greenburg.

Hello, welcome to the show. Today on the show I’m talking with photographer Jennifer Greenburg. Jennifer Greenburg is an Associate Professor of Photography at Indiana University Northwest. She holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MFA from the University of Chicago. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at the Hyde Park Art Center, The Print Center, and many other places. Greenburg’s work has been included in numerous national and international group exhibitions. Light Work awarded her an Artist in Residency in 2005. Her work is part of the permanent collections of Light Work, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Museum of Photographic Arts. Jennifer Greenburg’s monograph, The Rockabillies, was published by the Center for American Places in 2009.

I first became aware of Jennifer’s work a few years ago when her series Revising History went viral, and that’s the series that we talked about in our conversation. I had a chance to see Jennifer give an artist talk at jdc Fine Art here in San Diego, at the opening of her exhibition “Cultural Grooming.” That show will be up through May 31st, 2019, by the way, so if you’re in the area do check it out. Anyway, so that show features a number of images from Revising History, which is a series in which Jennifer takes vintage vernacular photos—that is, found snapshots, mostly from the 1940s through the 1960s—and then she inserts herself into the photograph, replacing the central figure of the image with herself in the same pose and styled the same way. The result is seamless, to the point where if you didn’t know, like perhaps if you only saw one of these images by itself instead of the whole series, you might just think it was just an old snapshot. But the idea here is that by doing this, by inserting herself into these old photographs, she’s able to use those photographs to comment on the way that our memory and mental image of these past times and especially the style and glamor of old photographs, how that simplifies and erases the struggles women faced in those times.

Here I’ll read a section of her artist statement for the series. She says, quote: “The captivating aesthetic present in post-war American photography encourages us to believe that it was a time of civility when it was actually a time of discrimination and gender inequality. A woman’s future, both personally and professionally, was usually determined by her beauty and her presentation, rather than her skills or qualifications. Yet, the visuals of the post-war era act as a mask–covering up and glossing over a past that is more convenient to forget using aesthetic appeal. I utilize those visuals to draw my audience into a conversation about the narrative we have scripted regarding the American past.”

“By presenting portraits that are transmuted from their original intention, I foster a conversation about how historical depictions of women are used to help us idealize our past. I intend the series to engage the audience in a conversation about the way we interpret the media, record personal memories, and establish a collective history.” Unquote.

I’ve put a link in the show notes to Jennifer’s website where you can see these images as well as images from some of her other bodies of work, I highly recommend checking those out. And in particular, I’ll also note that the titles of each image adds a lot of context and information about the image, so be sure to read those as well.

Now, in addition to the exhibition at jdc, if you’re going to be in or near Sydney, Australia, in the near future, Jennifer has an exhibition of Revising History up through May 19th, 2019, as part of the Head On Photo Festival. There’s a link in the show notes with all the details so do check that out.

OK, let’s get started. As always, if you’d like to join in the conversation you can use the hashtag #ChannelOpenPhoto on Twitter for your comments and questions. And now here’s my conversation with Jennifer Greenburg.


First Segment

Mike Sakasegawa: You know, I said this to you, uh, when we met at jdc that I've been like aware of and been a fan of your work for, for some time now. I was sort of going back and trying to figure out—I always do this when I talk to somebody, try to figure out when I first became sort of acquainted with their work.

Jennifer Greenburg: Mm-hm.

MS: And I think that it was... It was either 2014 or maybe 2016, that sort of around both of those times, I think your work had like won some award or something and was going around a lot and I'd see it a lot. So, um—

JG: Yeah.

MS: —I think it would have been one of those times. But yeah, I—

JG: Yeah.

MS: —I've known about it for, for at least, you know, a few years and I've always found it really interesting. So I'm excited to have this conversation with you.

JG: Well, I appreciate your invitation. I'm very flattered and, uh, I'm excited. And, yeah.

MS: [laughs]

JG: Uh, I think most likely it was 2014 and it could have been something that I was awarded, but I think what really happened is that I was featured in Wired magazine and the work went absolutely viral.

MS: Mm.

JG: And that was a crazy experience. I sort of wish it happened now, partially because I think my work has really evolved and gotten better, uh, in this amount of time. But also it's funny because I was talking to my students, uh, yesterday—I'm a professor at Indiana University Northwest, which is located in Gary, Indiana, although I live in Chicago—and I have, you know, the most fantastic students and we have unbelievable conversations. And yesterday we were talking about, you know, work going viral and, uh, just different artists that this has happened to you and how strange things get said to you basically as an artist throughout your career.

MS: Mm.

JG: And they said, "Did you get any offers to become like an Instagram influencer or did you get any [laughs] free products in the mail?"

MS: [laughs]

JG: And I was like, "Damn, I was a few years too early."

MS: Just a bit, yeah.

JG: Like if I had gotten viral this year, I probably could be like a famous Instagrammer and—

MS: [laughs]

JG: —and get like all kinds of weird things shipped to me and like I could take pictures of them and make a whole bunch of money.

MS: Yeah.

JG: So yeah. Suddenly I was disappointed.

MS: That whole experience is so... I've had, uh, a sort of strange brush with virality as well. And, uh, for me it wasn't even something related to my work, which I kind of wish it had been. Maybe that would have been a little more fulfilling. But it's such a strange thing because... I mean, there are people out there who are trying to generate things for the purpose of going viral, but you know, most of the time when it happens sort of organically, it's almost like a necessity that it happens unexpectedly.

JG: Sure.

MS: And I feel like you go through this process of like "What is happening..." [laughs]

JG: Yeah. And—

MS: Yeah.

JG: You know, when it happened to me—because I think, I think it was 2014. That was really a long time—I mean it's, five years ago is like a lifetime ago in terms of the evolution of social media and the evolution of all these networks and platforms and whatever. I don't even know that I had Instagram in 2014 but I wasn't aware that this had happened to anyone else.

MS: Mm.

JG: And I had no idea what was happening.

MS: Yeah.

JG: And I didn't—I was totally unprepared on how to respond and totally unprepared and I was getting unsolicited advice from people that was not good advice. I was getting really strange emails. I mean just the, the strangest of emails and I, I would say that I just froze more than anything. And it's interesting because I was updating my mailing list the other day and I, I was... I don't know even how I was doing this, but I came across an email that somebody from a publication had sent me and I think that in the haste I was just declining everything. I was like, "No thank you. No thank you. No thank you." And that was, that was really, uh, to my, you know, detrimental. I should have been more open and I should have like gotten somebody on board who knew what they were doing to help me or, I don't, I'm not sure. But I just cringed when I found this email from this, this publication. I think what had happened is that I had googled the publication and I had gotten wrong information and I thought it was like a ultra-conservative, right-wing publication that I wasn't interested in and um, I declined it. And I know what it is now and I'm just like horrified. So...

MS: [laughs]

JG: [laughs]

MS: Yeah.

JG: Because I'm a yes person, I'm a hustler. Uh, I'm, you know, uh, everything that's happened to me has been through my own heft. I don't—I'm really not good with making connections and asking people for help or asking people for consideration. I should be. I think I've made terrible career mistakes because I don't take better advantage of my connections because I never want to impose, I never want to ask for anything.

MS: Mm.

JG: So I end up like hustling. You know, I work really hard. I work seven days a week, I'm a hustler and I—so to, to decline anything is like sort of against my nature. But again, I was getting really bad advice, unsolicited advice from people who are not really knowledgeable and who I'm sure don't have my best interest at heart. So whatever.

MS: Yeah. [laughs]

JG: [laughs]

MS: It is, it is at the very least an overwhelming experience, that's for sure.

JG: Yeah.

MS: Um, when it happened to me it was very overwhelming. But let, let's talk about your work, uh—

JG: Sure.

MS: —this work that did go viral. So the title of this series is Revising History and this is—these are vintage vernacular photographs that you are putting yourself into, which I, I find that a really fascinating thing. One of the things that I was thinking about, you know, as I was sort of thinking about what might we talk about was the title of the series itself, Revising History. You know, so like as a, as a writer like, because I'm a photographer and a writer and when I think about the word revising, I'm usually thinking about a way in which we as artists go back and take something and try and change it to make it better?

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: And certainly that's—even what we talk about, like revisionist history is like a way of making history sound better.

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: And even though what you're doing here with these images is literally, like you are changing the images and they are historical images, I feel like what you're doing isn't exactly revising in that sense of making something better, but, but almost the opposite.

JG: Hm.

MS: Like, like what you're trying to do is, is sort of expose the ways in which history is not better. Or, or possibly what you, what you could be doing is revising the present. And I, I sort of wanted to get your take on that. [laughs]

JG: Yeah, sure. Well, I... Yeah, I mean revisionist history is sort of what we're doing right now, especially now more than ever, now more than when I began the project. You know, as a, as a photographer, I think that this is, uh, pretty alarming, the faith that people put in the photographs that we've left behind of the past in order to tell us something that we need to know or we would like to know or we would like to forget, uh, is pretty complicated. And I think a lot of things that I'm witnessing are... I'm just taken aback. I teach photography, I think about photography, I'm ensconced in photography, I'm a child bride of photography, and I am perfectly aware that every photograph that's ever been taken has been taken from the vantage point and the perspective—and I don't mean the physical perspective, I mean like the mental perspective of the person who took the picture, that person includes and omits information and we're looking at a result that's through the lens of that person's experience and the—and through the lens of that person's biases and through their agenda. And photography's progenitors like Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine, they did incredible things for the society that we live in right now by establishing child labor laws, by establishing housing laws, by, you know, working on human rights. And those are really important things. But those images are no more honest than any other image. They just align with most of the things that we all think are true. And I have found myself for my entire life looking at photographs of beautiful women who were wearing beautiful clothing from the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1960s and some in the 1970s. And I find myself creating this narrative about what her life was like and that how her life must be so much better than mine because she went to fancy parties and she had beautiful clothing and she had perfect hair. And what did she have to concern herself with? And I'm a knowledgeable person. I'm a visually literate person and yet I still do that today. I have vernacular photographs all over my house. And, uh, I look at them and I, I start to just idealize the things that I see. And so I understand what you're asking with the photographs, but I think—I mean at least from my perspective, like when I pick an image that I'm going to work on, there's an initial grab to that picture that takes me off into another dimension and to another fantasy that that couldn't possibly be real about how glorious that moment must have been. Even when there's things like sexual objectification and, you know, all these different tropes that I'm commenting on. There's something about the aesthetics that punch at you first because the things that you see are the first things that you sort of receive. And then the message, the concept, the context, all these things are, are what you, uh, arrive at, I think, you know, after you've sort of sat with the image for a while. So that's the sort of—I'm probably not even answering your question.

MS: [laughs]

JG: That's sort of the li—that's where I am.

MS: Mm-hm.

JG: And so, you know, even like the... One of the photographs that I just finished at the like, I don't know, the last stroke of 2018, which is called "She made sure to tell me to keep smiling." Which is a photograph of a woman posing in front of a group of men—there's one woman there—and she has her hand on her head and she's really sort of in a seductive pose. And all of these people are clearly evaluating her. When I saw that image, the first thing I thought of is, "Oh, she's gorgeous and glamorous and, and what a moment and no wonder that they're all just admiring her." And of course that's not what's happening in the photograph, but it's very easy to just sort of gloss over what she must have been feeling, what the circumstances must have been and all that stuff. So, I mean, I think your, your take is 100% valid. It's something to, for me to think about, but I, I sort of see it as like a, a push and a pull, a symbiotic relationship between revising the past and maybe pointing out that things are worse in the past. And so I think that that the aesthetics is where I sort of live in, in, in that tension. I think to me, something beautiful is always—I'm always going to see the beauty first and then think about how horrible it is second, which is I guess my own shortcoming.

MS: Hmm. Well, I mean, to be fair, I think a lot of us have... I mean, we all have our sort of initial gut reactions to things that are often very immediate and emotional. But, you know, then the question is, are we willing to look sort of deeper than that? And it seems like that's certainly what you're attempting to do here is, is to look deeper than that. Something, something that you said that I thought was really interesting when you're, you know, you're referencing photographers, historic photographers like Lewis Hine for example, and talking about what came out of those, uh, photographs in sort of like a material, even political kind of way, right?

JG: Yeah.

MS: But, and yet those, as you say—and of course this is completely correct to say that the photographs are no more true than any other photographs, you know, all photographs of course lie, um, or at least edit the truth.

JG: Sure.

MS: Um, I, there's a, there's a thing that you said in an, in a, in a previous interview, uh, let me—I have it written down here. It's from the—you did an interview with photo-eye in 2017 where you were talking about something similar. You—because you were talking about how you started off doing documentary photography. And yet you became sort of disillusioned with that.

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: And the particular thing that I thought was really interesting, the sentence that you said was "Pictures convince us of truth more than words," which I, I feel like really bears on this thing that you're talking about. The way that we as audience members engage with pictures in a different way than words. But what I'm kind of interested in, considering somebody like Lewis Hine or all—you know, or your work or really anybody's work in certain way. Like I wonder if there's a different way to approach these things. If they're, if this is something that is innate or whether we could train ourselves to do something differently. Because what I'm always interested in with art is what the art actually does. Like what it's function is.

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: And when it comes to something like words, which is something—as a writer, I do think about these things—how stories are such a powerful and ancient form of, um, you know, teaching people things of, of engaging with the world as it is or as it was or as it should be. And then, so in that sense, like Hine's photographs, the story of them is in many ways maybe more important than the factualness of them, if that makes sense.

JG: Yeah, absolutely.

MS: And I—you know what I mean?

JG: Well, yes. And, and you know, he chose the most wretched children that he found to photograph, and the most innocent and the youngest looking. And that was very smart because he needed to tell the story. And when you tell a story, you don't tell everyone every little detail, right. You, you tell them the basics, you give them the baseline. And so choosing kids that didn't look too bad and didn't look too hungry and who didn't—hadn't lost fingers, whatever, that wouldn't have helped his proposition, which is that we needed to change the laws because he felt that, you know, Americans would not grow up to be citizens if we use them up as children. That they needed to be able to like develop and grow so that they could be citizens, so that our country could move forward. And this is a very important idea and one that I think few people would not agree with. And so because we agree with it, we are fine to like sign on to what he, he did. We're like, "Oh yeah that's—and that, that's the way you tell the story." You tell the story by showing the things that will resonate with people the most, that are the clearest, that align the details in the in the most representational way. But at the same time we have to remember that that's still prob—inherently problematic because we didn't get the full information. And we never get the full story in any newspaper, in any story we never get the full picture. And that is what it is. But... I don't know what's happening. But for some reason as a society we're like not identifying that. Like we're never looking at something and saying, "Okay, well this is one thing, one side of the story. What's the other side? What's the other way?" People just sign on to things 100% at this point and charge into a burning building without knowing anything about the fire, I guess. And so this is the kind of thing that—I mean it just... It's unnerving. It's scary, it's frightening. It's all kinds of things, you know?

MS: I guess, I mean, I, I mean taking somebody like Lewis Hine obviously was working in a long time ago. I, I have this suspicion that more people are willing to interrogate photos now than might have been back then. But even, even then—

JG: Sure.

MS: —you know, if I think about things that, you know, works of art that had sort of material effects in the world, like taking somebody like John Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath also had a really a profound impact on how we talked about the Dust Bowl migrants and the economic situation of the Depression and things like that. Um—

JG: Sure.

MS: And I wonder, like, if—I mean like legitimately, I'm not like trying to make a rhetorical point by asking this as a question. Like, I actually wonder, do, do we or did we or do we still consider things like literature and how it also is telling a story that is very slanted and directional, would we consider that differently from somebody, something like what Lewis Hine is doing? And like, what is that difference, you know?

JG: Well, the difference is that those literary works are presented as fictions, you know?

MS: Mm-hm.

JG: And, um, you know, it's pretty interesting now, I keep—I go down these rabbit holes because I'm also a rabid reader. I'm sort of like—we were talking informally that, I think during my talk at jdc, but also just today how I would, I would consider myself sort of a compulsive person in, in any of the things that I'm interested in. So one of my other compulsions is like reading. [laughs] So I go down these rabbit holes of, of looking at one subject and reading every single thing on the topic. And so I was on this kick that I was sort of looking at women in the sort of, uh, Parisian explosion of culture that, you know, happened around the 1900, 1910, 1920 that, you know, included all these interesting people. And, uh, so I went on this Zelda Fitzgerald—like down this rabbit hole, which ended up leading me to read all types of accounts, uh, about Ernest Hemingway and, um, Martha [Gellhorn]. And you know, all of these books are based on nonfictional people, people who lived in history, but they're historical fictions because you can't really know what Ernest Hemingway and Martha [Gellhorn] were like speaking about in real life, but they're being presented... You know, those books are published as fictions. And I think with books, I think that distinction is like pretty clear. Like when you're reading something that's historical fiction or historical nonfiction or just a fictional account based on a series of pieces of information that were sort of loosely based on the truth, like those things get disclosed. Whereas like photography—and I don't know if it's because of the egos and the personalities of most people who take pictures, we don't really get that. Like nobody ever really identifies that.

MS: Mm.

JG: Like, if I think of like Bruce Davidson's photographs that he took, like in Harlem... Have you listened to—I don't know if you've ever seen that documentary about him talking about that work?

MS: I haven't seen it, but I've heard people talking about it.

JG: Yeah. And he proposes those pictures as though—you know, he went there every day and took pictures of all those people and he says, "I wanted to be fair. I wanted to show the good and the bad." And I think he was very fair, but I don't know that he ever acknowledges his outsiderness, um, in that work. Like I don't know that he ever acknowledges like that it's still just his perspective and he's not an insider and he obviously was trusted by some, but not trusted by others. There's a very interesting sort of subtext about the way that all the women in that project look and are looking at him. And you know, I don't, I, I just don't, I don't think we ever cop, we don't cop to it enough, maybe.

MS: Yeah.

JG: I don't know.

MS: I get, I mean—

JG: I think—

MS: I get what you're saying. I do think there's a way that people interface with photographs, uh, in a way that's less sort of aware and sophisticated about the difference between the, the object—or the representation and the subject, uh, even—

JG: Indeed.

MS: —as compared with... Because I mean not all books are fiction, right? I mean we have narrative nonfiction and memoir—

JG: Sure.

MS: —and stuff like that. It does seem people are a little more willing to understand—like if we read, I don't know, Michelle Obama's recent memoir, like we're understanding that it's a story that's being told from her perspective, that is going to be—

JG: Sure.

MS: —influenced by that, perhaps to a greater degree than we might a photograph.

JG: Sure. And you know, you want to talk about the origins of the difference between those two things? There's a big, easy-to-explain reason for it and it's that we grow up reading books in school and having those books be part of classroom dialogue. We start reading books in first grade.

MS: Mm-hm.

JG: I mean, the minute we start learning to read, we start to learn how to interpret text. I mean that's, that's like the first thing we do is start to read stories and start to discuss what those stories mean. And yet, visual literacy and stories being told in pictures is never covered at any level unless you seek it out.

MS: Yeah. Yeah.

JG: And yet, at this point in the 21st century, we're seeing many more images than we are reading books, I think. And yet we are a culture that's essentially visually illiterate. And so it's kind of like if we were, you know, we're just looking at things and taking them as they are because no one has ever taught us to, to decode these things. I teach, uh, like I said in Indiana and Indiana is a state that, that has pretty much removed arts education from middle school and high school. And I don't know about primary school, but it's, yeah, I think it's—maybe there's a change. But like when I first started teaching there, uh, many of my students had never taken an art class before. And I remember I pulled up, um, Seurat's painting, you know, [A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte], famous pointillist painting. It's owned by the Art Institute museum here in Chicago. So it's a painting that most people have seen who live in Chicago. And we started to talk about how that painting is not just a painting of people sitting by a lake, that it's, you know, it's, has this whole subtext about the haves and the have-nots and the potential alludement to the women being prostitutes and like all, this, this basically this class war happening along this lake, of that the people in the shadows and the people in the highlights. And this one student of mine started crying. She literally started crying, tears rolling down her face because the idea that a picture meant more than it just looked by just looking at it was totally an overwhelming concept—

MS: Hm.

JG: —because she had never heard this before. And she had thought the painting was beautiful. And that was all she really knew about it. And just this idea that it's so much more than you think it is. And she had never—you know, just the betrayal of having never had this information presented to her was just totally overwhelming. And that's, uh, I think the most meaningful time that's happened because I just felt so sad and there was something so painful in the way that she was upset. But I've had that happen many times throughout my career there, is that somebody just becomes totally overwhelmed because they feel betrayed that this has not been presented to them in the past.

MS: Hm.

JG: And, uh, you know, it's... It's—to me it's this emergency. I mean, it's an emergency that this gets solved. So...

MS: Mm. Yeah. Something else that I think about, um, which bears on your work, I think. Um, well, I mean I know it does because this is something that you sort of talk about, is... But there's this way in which I think, um, to compare again, writing and photography, I think people are aware of the artifice of writing to a greater degree than they are of—

JG: Yes.

MS: —photographs. And, and that sort of gets to what I was referring to is that because you're working with vernacular photographs and a lot of your, you know, what you do with these photographs and what you talk about when you talk about them has to do with the ways in which these photographs are all, are all very similar to each other and like how people use them in a way that isn't... Like, these weren't photographs that were made to make an artistic point or intended to make that point.

JG: Sure.

MS: Whether or not they make a point a anyway is an interesting question. But like, they weren't intended as that kind of thing. And, and, and so like the way that we use the photographs in our lives is very different from how we would use, you know, writing, even, even fairly mundane, sort of maybe diaristic kind of writing is still, there's... It's more obviously a product of artifice than, uh, than we think of with photographs, that we tend to interface with as a recording.

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: Right?

JG: Yeah, absolutely.

MS: I'm really interested in this way that, you know, you're using vernacular photographs to do these things. And in particular there's so many things about the use of vernacular photographs that's interesting about your work. One of the things that I was sort of thinking about recently is when you spoke at jdc—and you've talked about this in other interviews as well—is you talked about how all vernacular pictures look the same and, and you know, obviously it's not like exactly the same, but they, there's these very common visual tropes and the compositions are often very similar. I think a lot of people who use vernacular images in their work have made a similar kind of observation?

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: Like I'm thinking of like Penelope Umbrico or um, uh, Eric William Carroll—I don't know if you know his work—have, have made sort of similar observations and, and all three of you have sort of gone in different directions with that. What I find really interesting to me is that the thing that occurs to me all the time, that I'm always struck by, is there's something compelling about the tension between the uniqueness of an actual life or moment and the sort of banality of that moment's document in a photograph. You know what I mean?

JG: Yeah.

MS: And, and I kind of feel like more than most other people who are commenting on that banality, your work kind of like lives in that tension more, you know?

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: At least I feel like it does. What do you, how do you feel [laughs] about that?

JG: Um, tension being...? Meaning? I, I'm totally picking up what you're putting down. I just want to make sure that I don't go on a crazy tangent.

MS: [laughs] I guess I'm just saying like, you know, it's not exactly that you're, that what you're doing with these photographs is talking about how they're all exactly the same. In a way that like, you know, Penelope Umbrico's sunset photographs are all like literally—like you put them all together and they all are the same, right?

JG: Yeah.

MS: What you're doing is a little different from that. And I feel like it's engaged a little bit more with that disparity between the visual part of it being very similar, but—and even, there's something about... Here's what it is, here's what it is. There's something, I think, about this idea even in life that, you know, the photograph reminds us that the rhythms of so many of our lives are very much the same. And yet we are all individuals and we, there's something that we want... Like there's a certain anxiety about the fact that, you know, when we think like "My life is exactly the same as everybody else's life," that might have a certain anxiety to it.

JG: Yeah.

MS: And, and it's both true and not true. And I, and I feel like that paradox is something that your work is... I don't know if it's directly addressing it or just sort of brushing up against it, but there's like that element to it. And that is something I find very fascinating.

JG: Hmm... Yeah. I mean, I guess what I am thinking—I mean, you're, you're making me think about this in a slightly different way, I think, which is why I'm sort of just taking it all in.

MS: [laughs]

JG: But, uh, you know what I sort of think about, I don't know if if two people's lives are the same as each other, so I have no idea. I have no way of, of knowing that. I am personally kind of an outlier [laughs] in general.

MS: Mm.

JG: Like I don't fit into... I, I'm just a—anybody who knows me kind of knows this—like I'm, I'm loud and funny and strange and uh, and uh, probably a lot of other things I don't want to think about, but I don't, I don't really like, um... I don't have a normal human life for a variety of different reasons. And so I don't—I only see how different and separated and other I am, seemingly, from everyone else and how everybody else seems to have very different goals than I have. And that's some—that's a place I've lived my whole life. I remember feeling that way when I was just a little kid. I remember just looking around and being like, "I don't... I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't... This is not going to work for me. None of this—none of what any of these other kids are doing is going to work for me."

MS: Mm.

JG: And, you know, that causes you to make all kinds of strange decisions, which I would say my life has been a series of strange decisions, but... So that's probably not something that I can comment on. But what I can comment on is how when it's your birthday or when it's your wedding day or when you graduate from school, you take the same photograph of that moment and there is a convention, a visual convention that takes place among everyone and that if something happens in your life that you associate with a benchmark or a notable enough time that you're going to take the picture, that you take that picture in an identical way from—as someone who's like you've never met before, who's living in a totally different life, who has a totally different existence. It doesn't matter what your economic level is, it doesn't matter what your race is. It doesn't matter what your gender is. You're going to take that photograph in the exact same way. And that is totally fascinating to me.

MS: Mm.

JG: Because I have photographs of Jewish people and photographs of black people and photographs of Asian people and photographs of people who had nothing and people who seem to have everything. And yet the graduation picture, the birthday picture, the child's fifth birthday picture, these are all taken in the same way. And um, that blows me away. That just is something that... I think this is less remarkable to think about if you include personal images that are posted on social media and the like personal journal via the photograph that gets posted on social media. Like I don't mean like, uh, like journalism. Like as in the, the news media photograph. I mean like the personal journal—

MS: Right.

JG: —as played out in images. Um, I'm not sure what the word is for that, but—

MS: Diaristic, maybe?

JG: Yeah. Diaristic photographs that we see. Like, so this becomes less remarkable because now all we can do—like it's almost like you can't go on a vacation and you can't have a birthday unless you've posted about it on social media. But if you figure before there was this ability to share pictures, nobody in Portland, Oregon, would see photographs taken in upstate New York. Like there's no way that there's any communication between those two things. And the distribution of personal photographs was almost nonexistent in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and this is a time when photographs weren't shared. And yet somehow there's a system to these pictures that gets duplicated again and again and again. And so I don't know about the lives, but I just know about the, the record of the life seems to be awfully similar.

MS: Hmm. Um, like I thought of like 10 things that were really interesting—

JG: [laughs] Okay.

MS: —but we, I think we have to take a break now and then do the second segment.

JG: Oh, really? Okay.


Second Segment

Mike Sakasegawa: So for the second segment, I always invite the guest to bring a topic of their own, which can be whatever you'd like to talk about, whatever might be on your mind. What would you like to talk about today?

Jennifer Greenburg: I think that we should talk about vintage clothing.

MS: Okay.

JG: [laughs]

MS: Let's do it.

JG: My other obsessive passion in life.

MS: Mm. So let's, uh, let's, let's do it. What, where, where would you like to start?

JG: Yeah. Well, so it's hard for me, you know, in these moments not to talk about sort of things that relate to my work, but uh—because, like I mentioned in the previous segment, I have this very strange, [laughs] singular life. Um, but something a lot of people don't know about Revising History is that the pictures are made using my entire body. The physicality and the performance and the transitioning to the person who I think is supposed to be in the pictures is really, truly the hardest part of making the work.

MS: Mm.

JG: And another part of that is styling myself and using this extensive wardrobe of vintage clothing that I've been collecting for more years than I would like to disclose because I wouldn't want to give away anything about my age, but... [laughs]

MS: [laughs]

JG: But um, I, yeah, I started collecting when I was like, I think I was six or seven. I had some allowance money burning a hot hole in my pocket and there was an a an estate sale across the street from where I grew up, which was ironically in the Wrigley Mansion in Chicago. Which is—I know it's funny, I grew up in a small apartment, but I grew up across the street from the Wrigley Mansion. Chicago is a weird place. And I bought this giant Elizabeth Taylor-style rhinestone cocktail ring, that came in a celluloid, velvet-lined box. And I bought a beautiful pair of magenta and amethyst chandelier earrings set in brass. And I remember my parents were like, "There's an entire room of toys—

MS: [laughs]

JG: —in this house. Are you sure you wouldn't rather have the toys?" And I was like, "No, I'm pretty sure. I'll go look at the toys." And there was one doll that had like these long limbs. It was like very weird.

MS: Mm.

JG: And she was basically dressed up as like a drunk hooker in a flapper outfit. And she had like one, she had blue eyeshadow on and like one eye open and, and I was like, okay "Well I also have to have this doll." [laughs]

MS: [laughs]

JG: So I bought the chandelier earrings, the Elizabeth Taylor ring and the hooker doll. And I was like, "I'm good, let's go." [laughs]

MS: [laughs]

JG: And basically that story is like all you need to know. I've not changed. I'm the same person. And something that I—God, I didn't, I wonder, I hope I still have that doll. I think I still have it cause it's just so weird and it's just like "Who made this and why?" Later on in about '94, '93, something like that. Um, I... Well let's, let's back up even more. So, you know, I had this, this love of like this, these vintage clothes and vintage accessories and like the glamour of beautiful women. And I, I was never really interested in toys. I was mostly interested in like Barbie because she had fancy outfits and like I was obsessed with the Bob Mackie collection that he designed for Barbie. So I was onl—you know, she had her own car, she had her own apartment. Like this was, this was on my level when I was a kid.

MS: Mm.

JG: Um, the other things that little girls were playing with just didn't seem interesting to me. But when I got to be old enough to be given a roll of tokens and told to take the Green Limousine, which is, in Chicago-speak, taking the bus to get where you wanted to go, using the tokens. I started to, you know, meet friends that were sort of not from my school because Chicago is a pretty, you know, a huge city and you get, you know, you're, I was like a vintage—interested in vintage clothing, interested in punk rock, interested in goths. I started meeting people who were not, not people from my school and I made really good friends with a bunch of, you know, cross-dressing, drag queen people who were slightly older than me. And they really got along with me well and so they would take me out and we would go thrifting and we would go to an underage juice bar in Chicago called Medusa's and dance to music and wear stupid clothes and just, you know, have a really good time. And so through that experience I ended up meeting a really important artist named Greer Lankton. I don't know if you've heard of her before.

MS: Mm-mm.

JG: She was like in the Whitney Biennial and she was this famous doll maker and she made these like very subversive kind of dolls that were just very creepy and also very funny at the same time. And she had lived in New York for most of her life. She was actually Nan Goldin's friend, so she's actually in a lot of Nan Goldin's photographs.

MS: Mm.

JG: And um, so we were friends like the last two years of her life, she moved back to Chicago because she was very, very, very ill and so she was here to be kind of closer to her family and everything. So it's interesting because that hooker doll really looks like something that Greer Lankton had made. But it isn't. But, um, so that's sort of my origin story with all of this. And so I, you know, I still collect vintage clothing. I spend an incredible amount of time tracking these things down and I'm sort of in this whole network of people that are literally all over the world, who buy, sell, and trade vintage clothes. And so that's sort of another aspect of my life that I'm really passionate about. And I have the funniest experiences regarding the purveying of vintage clothes because especially now they're very hard to come by and they require a lot of care and they require a lot of, you know, maintenance. And you know, just today I got up, I was at school really late helping students who are presenting their thesis exhibition and everything's going great. I was so exhausted and I woke up this morning, I was like, "I really need to just like kind of relax for a second and chill and like get my head together. I'm being interviewed this afternoon on this podcast." And I was like, "You know what I'm going to do, I'm going to start revi—you know, revitalizing this piece of vintage clothing. I'm going to soak it, I'm going to sew up some seams, I'm going to like really get this thing perfect." And so that's what I did all morning—

MS: Hm.

JG: —just to like kind of relax. [laughs] Which I know must sound crazy, but—

MS: We've all got our things, though, right?

JG: Yeah. And so I have this like special room in my house. It's like my, my laboratory that's filled with all these like different chemicals that you can use to, you know, get stains out of fabrics and soak things. And, um, so this is like another part of my artistic practice that, you know, I don't have an opportunity to ever talk about.

MS: Yeah.

JG: Which is this like extensive repair system that is constantly going on. That's just—and it's totally satisfying. Like— [laughs]

MS: Yeah. It almost—the way you're talking about, it reminds me of, um... Like, I got to go to the, um, the center at the University of Arizona where they have all the different photographic archives there—

JG: Mm.

MS: —and got to talk to the, um, like hear a presentation by the conservators there, the different photo conservators. The way that you were talking about working with these vintage clothing is very similar to how they were talking about preserving and restoring, uh, you know, historic prints and, and, and their, you know, different, uh, negative archives and things like that. It's very interesting.

JG: Yeah. And you know, I always laugh because of course I went to college and to graduate school when there was no digital photography. And so I'm, you know, trained as a master printer and I did, you know, all my own darkroom work until there was no reason to do darkroom work anymore. And I would say that, you know, I partially have a degree in chemistry—

MS: Mm-hm.

JG: —that I am not using anymore.

MS: [laughs]

JG: I don't have, you know, I have absolutely no use for that knowledge. And so I always joke because right now I'm using my extensive knowledge of chemistry to [laughs] get stains and smells out of vintage clothing and to like preserve vintage items and also to bleach my own hair so that I can be perfect for my photographs.

MS: Mm.

JG: And that's the extent of that entire [laughs] breadth of knowledge. But it's okay, it's working for me. [laughs]

MS: I think it's really interesting—you know, so I was in high school in the '90s, like sorta in the mid-90s and I feel like I... Like that was exactly the moment when vintage clothing sort of went from being something that only weird people would wear to being sort of like more mainstream. I remember it happening. Um—

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: —and um, because like in the '80s, like nobody was wearing—like everybody was like, like trying to be on the cutting edge and everything, like brand new flashy kind of thing. But then some time in the mid-90s people sort of started becoming more interested in vintage everything. I remember going to thrift stores and, and like trying to dress myself like I was like from the '60s.

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: Um, and, and the different ways that that would manifest itself. And what I find really interesting about that whole thing is how... Like I didn't realize it at the time because of—obviously I was a kid and I was right in the middle of it—but how it seems like the whole culture did this shift from in the '80s, everybody trying to look towards and reach towards the future, to in the '90s all of a sudden everybody becoming exceptionally nostalgic and the whole culture becoming nostalgic and, and we haven't really gotten away from that, it seems like. Like there, we're, there's this constant like for, you know, 20, almost 30 years now people have this real backwards looking sort of, uh, ethos. I don't know. It's, it's, it's something—I feel like there's something profound there, you know?

JG: Sure. And you know, that's where my work is born from, that, that concern. You know, everybody does want to look to the past and, and you think to yourself, "Well, why is that?" Well, you know, they used to have, if you could say one thing positive, the clothes and the style was impeccable. It just was. And clothes were tailored to fit people and getting your clothes made for you, or getting them altered to fit your body, it was not something that was reserved for the rich. That was something that everyone could, could access. And you know, clothes were made in America by some person who was not like sleeping under their—I mean, there's a time when, of course, all of our clothes were made by slave labor in this country. But there was a golden moment in there when a dress shop had full-time employees that worked 40 hours or whatever and made you your clothes—

MS: Yeah. My grandma worked in one.

JG: And they were—yes, my, my, [laughs] my great-grandmother was one of those people. Right. And, um, you know, I mean, I don't, I'm not glossing over the hardships that she suffered or that your grandmother suffered. But, uh, you know, those clothes were beautiful and those clothes looked good on everyone because they were made for that person. And maybe you only had two dresses, you know, every couple of years. And you wore those two dresses all the time. But those two dresses were impeccable. And they were designed for you and they were custom made to you. And so it's hard not to like look at that and be longing and be envious and that, that you know, the construct that you could only afford two dresses and that if it got a rip, you had to mend it because you didn't have money to replace it. These things get lost. Only the end product because the end product is in the photographs. Uh, and, you know, unfortunately now everything you can buy in a store that's new, even if you're shopping in the most expensive stores, most of it's made in China. It's not made of great material. It's not going to last. The zippers are cheap plastic. I mean it's, it's, the quality is just not the same. And certainly the fit is not the same. The ready-to-wear, uh, especially, I don't know, women's clothes is I think different than men's. Men's clothing is, is, has a lot more, uh, uniformity. Like if the pants say they're a 32-inch waist, they are a 32-inch waist. Whereas if I were to go into a store, even if I were to go into a shopping mall and I were to grab like a size six from ten different manufacturers, the measurements of those items are going to be wildly different from each other because there's no consistency. And so it's very hard to find things that fit, things are, you know, just, uh—it's just chaos I think. And so that, I think that's part of it. And you know, in the '90s... I mean, I would say to me in the '80s there was a lot of people wearing vintage clothing. Like if I think about the icons like Cindy Lauper or Madonna who are just, you know, my version of Jesus, they were wearing vintage clothes. They were blending it with modern clothes, but like the crinolines and the, you know, the short jackets and all that, uh, lingerie and stuff, that was all vintage. And you know, there was a, a desire to mark yourself as different from sort of the capitalists of the 1980s excess culture, right? So the people who are wearing the cashmere sweaters and the plaid skirts and who were very preppy, uh, who are buying new things, fancy things, they wanted to be very different. So they were, you know, essentially going wear sexy garbage— [laughs]

MS: Mm.

JG: —in order to set up their artistic point of view. But yeah, I mean, in the '90s that's when, you know, that's when we stopped making things in the United States and that's when things started to not fit so well. And that's when, you know, clothing got kind of just beige and dumpy and horrible. And I think that's, that's part of why people get into this idea that they're going to look backwards and—

MS: Mm.

JG: —and uh, I get it, you know, but I also think it's something we need to talk about.

MS: Yeah. One of the things that I find so ironic about it is that like when I think of, um, like in the '90s, really even through today. I mean, the whole Mad Men thing is fairly recent still. Like a lot of times we're looking back towards the 1960s and to some degree the 1950s. But then also nowadays there's a lot of nostalgia for '80s fashion. Um, and when I think about those eras like the 1950s, '60s, and '80s are all... I mean like as you say, there were definitely—it's not that nostalgia didn't exist then or vintage clothing or any of these things didn't exist at those times but I just feel like the sort of overriding, the zeitgeists of those moments was very... Like in the '50s and '60s everything was like focused on like the space age and rockets and like, you know, you see it in a lot of the sort of industrial design of the time and, and people were, had this sense of forward progress and everybody's looking forward. And in the '80s I feel like it was a little more ironic perhaps. But like when, when I think about like '80s New Wave fashion or like, I dunno like when U2 was doing their Zooropa thing like everybody, like there was this just way of like people were almost like trying to make science fiction out of themselves in a way.

JG: Yeah, sure.

MS: And so, but these eras that we're now looking back to eras that were themselves looking forward. There's something really sort of weirdly ironic about that whole, that, that phenomenon.

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: I don't know.

JG: Yeah. And I, you know, and then what I also think about when I, when some, when you bring this up is I don't know how we're supposed to have any new ideas when we're so inundated with old ideas, you know what I mean?

MS: Yeah.

JG: Like we—I think that, you know, the '90s is the birth of like the hundred channels on television.

MS: Mm-hm.

JG: And before that we had three or four, whatever it was. And, uh, we're just—you know, the 24-hour news channel got born in the '90s and we are inundated with information all day long. And I don't know how you can be an individual that—I mean, we're all, we've always just been a product of influence, right? But the influence now is so, um, behemoth that it, it just, it, it like extinguishes any kind of like independent thought because we're just being influenced like every second of every day. And, yeah, I don't—we're not coming up with interesting fashion ideas anymore. We're just replaying the old ones because how can anyone think in this, in this environment? I think.

MS: Mm.

JG: I don't know.

MS: I think, you know, when I was... When I think about what I was thinking about in, as a, as a teenager in the '90s, um, and particularly as someone who was just sort of coming into my own as a person consuming culture and like deciding what music I liked and things like that. What I remember of that time was that I and all of my peers were very obsessed with this idea of realness, you know?

JG: [laughs]

MS: Like of things being sort of like earthy and—

JG: Yeah.

MS: —real and, and like, I feel like that... I mean a lot of—I'm by no means the first person to make the observation that '90s music and the sort of Seattle sound was this, uh, very intentional, um, response to the, the sort of glitzy-ness and excess of the '80s—

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: —and trying to sort of... I mean, a lot of people will talk about how like the '70s music influenced that music and... But that we were reaching for something more... Tangible, I guess? And I think what's interesting about the idea that by looking backwards we can't come up with new ideas. I do feel that. But at the same time, like when I think about now I think, what I think about now is that we are—at least, I and the people that I, are around me are talking about and reevaluating—like we're spending so much time looking at the past—

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: —that it's given us an opportunity to recontextualize and, and discuss these old ideas—

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: —in, in, in ways that we maybe should have at the time.

JG: Yes.

MS: Right? Like I feel like this very, this really bears on your, your, your work because your work in many ways is, is forcing us to, to, to take these, this, this surface glamour and try and actually reckon with what that felt like at the time, right?

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: And to see beneath it. We didn't do that back then, but I feel like we are doing that now or at least we're starting to. So like—

JG: Yeah.

MS: —I feel like there's a hopefulness in that.

JG: Oh absolutely. And you know, we are making positive strides and accepting things like we have never accepted them before. Exactly as you say. And that, I—and by no means am I casting like only—I feel, it's funny because when I finished talking a minute ago, I was like, "Oh, you're being so negative," but—

MS: [laughs]

JG: Meaning me, I'm being so negative. But uh, you know, that is absolutely the, the upshot. I mean, we're becoming more aware of our past and accepting it. I mean, I have a lot of examples that I don't think would be probably appropriate to, you know, disclose in a public forum.

MS: [laughs]

JG: But no, I have, I have, uh, people around me who used to have different attitudes about the American past than they have now.

MS: Mm.

JG: They have taken a step back and taken [a] more honest approach at identifying who we used to be and what we used to think is acceptable and are moving forward in an exceptionally positive way. And that would be something that if you had asked me like 10 years ago, did I think that that was possible, I would've said no.

MS: Mm.

JG: And so, yeah, I mean, there's amazing things. But you know, we... In the last couple years, there's been this huge death toll among these like progenitors of artistic expression.

MS: Mm.

JG: Um, just this week a Chi—a great Chicago blues, uh, singer named Andre Williams died. And I knew Andre Williams pretty well. And I mean, if you look at his, his body of work, I mean, he is an individual. He was a crazy, wild guy who had crazy wildness and originality like in his blood and I mean he was like, uh, you know, if you re—you know, any of your listeners look it up, you're going to come across a song named "Jail Bait" and you're probably going to be really offended by that song. And that is what it is. [laughs]

MS: [laughs]

JG: Um, it was a different time when he recorded that. But, you know, if I think about the people who have done things that I am like in awe of, you know, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, another like amazing artist who was a singer and just one of the weirder people that's ever performed in front of an audience. Like, how do you get to be that person? Um, in like 1930. Like this with—you know, he would come out with like horns in his nose and he would come out with like a cape on and be like, you know, a Dracula kind of figure and, and do all these performative, very unusual things. And, you know, he was, he invented that character pretty much in a vacuum because he didn't have Facebook and he didn't have, uh, Instagram and he wasn't being influenced like constantly by images and whatever. And so as a result, he's born of this like totally strange, um, set of, uh, underpinnings to his creativity and that, that's, that's just what I, what I'm worried about is that we can't really [laughs] evolve sort of without this, this constant barrage of influence. And I don't—and as artists is what I'm more thinking of. And so I just, I don't know what that means for us. But, you know, we're in the culture of appropriation. I mean, all we're doing is taking ideas and appropriating them and I'm fine with that. That's what I do. Um, so I mean, who am I to judge? I guess. [laughs]

MS: Yeah. I mean it's, I think... Yeah, I mean, I don't know. I mean, I, I have at times, you know, also sort of bemoaned like our sort of sequel culture. Um, you know, everything is a remix. Everything is a reboot, reimagining.

JG: Mm-hm.

MS: Um, but I, yeah, I don't know. I, I, I, I find... I find room to be both pessimistic and optimistic at the same time. [laughs]

JG: Sure, yeah. And isn't that postmodern in and of itself?

MS: [laughs]

JG: [laughs]

MS: Oh, that's great. That's funny. Um, so there's, there's one question that I usually like to close with—

JG: Okay.

MS: —and, um, and that is if there is a piece of art or literature or creativity in some form that you've experienced recently that meant something to you.

JG: Hmm. I, I'm, I'm at a loss because, uh, for a couple reasons. One is because I hate prioritizing. Like, I never want to make a list of like my favorite things and have one be my favorite rather than number two.

MS: Mm-hm.

JG: Like, I can't—like, I don't know if you use Lightroom at all, but like there's a rating system in Lightroom where you take images and then you can give them a like a one to five star rating.

MS: Mm-hm.

JG: I have no idea what the difference between a three-star and a four-star image would be. Like everything to me is either amazing or horrible. [laughs]

MS: Yeah.

JG: I would say that that's how I see the world. And so in terms of like art that I see and experience and think is amazing, I am just, there's so much. And I'm trying to think. Recently...

MS: Yeah.

JG: Recent. Okay. All right. Fine. Got It. Okay, so this past Saturday [laughs] in Los Angeles at the Hayworth Theater, um, I saw the Bob Baker Marionettes perform.

MS: Mm.

JG: I don't know if you're familiar?

MS: I'm not.

JG: Um, I wasn't either. And so the reason I was there was because Angelyne, who is a Los Angeles celebrity, I don't know if you know who she is. Do you know she is? She—

MS: No.

JG: No, oh my God, Ange—oh my God, Mike, we got to talk about Angelyne.

MS: [laughs]

JG: Um. [laughs]

MS: I can be surprisingly ignorant about a lot of things, but, uh... [laughs]

JG: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. If you have never lived in Los Angeles, I don't know how you would know who she is. I have never lived in Los Angeles, but I feel that it's my job in life to know about all unusual blonde women who drive hot pink cars—

MS: Mm.

JG: —and look like Barbie. So it's like sort of my—one of my goals in life is to just know who all these people are. But so Angelyne is a local Los Angeles celebrity of sorts who is not famous for anything. She has blonde hair, she drives a hot pink Corvette that's made in a very specific shade. It's always a brand new car. Every two years she gets like a new Corvette with the brand new, um, but the same color pink. And in the '80s all of these billboards went up all over Los Angeles that had this very iconic picture of her with these very 1980s like amazing sunglasses on with, she's wearing like the satin Frederick's of Hollywood like tight pants and cha-cha heels and it just says like "Angelyne."

MS: Mm.

JG: And there was no real record that came with it. There was no like burlesque show or strip show. I mean she's, she's not famous for being anything. She's just famous for being Angelyne.

MS: Mm.

JG: And nobody knows who paid for these billboards. And she drives around Los Angeles and she'll pull over and you can buy like hats and tee shirts that are $85 a piece by the way. And you can pay her assistant to have a photograph taken with her. And, uh, there's a really unusual, very avant garde documentary about Angelyne that you can watch on, I think—I'm sure it's on YouTube at this point and there's a lot of information. You can Google her, Angelyne, it's spelled with a "Y" and look at all kinds of unusual pictures. There's like constantly people in Los Angeles like tracking where she is.

MS: Mm.

JG: And so Angelyne was going to be performing with the Bob Baker marionette troupe in this theater in downtown Los Angeles. And so I like freaked out and I was like, "Oh my God, we have to go see Angelyne" because she's not really a performer. Um, she has like a single that's called "Kiss me LA" and she has had like a very few amount of things. But basically she—like I said, she's a, she's famous for nothing. She's like a performance artist of nothing. And so she doesn't really perform. So I was totally curious as to what this was going to be because like what, what is she going to do? Because she's not used to talking or singing or doing anything. So we get to this theater and the MC, host is a performer from Los Angeles named Mystic Kidder—and you can like Google, uh, look on Instagram, Mystic Kidder—and Mystic Kidder is a, is in a Phoenix costume, like the bird with like a giant papier-mâché head with sunglasses and giant earrings.

MS: Mm.

JG: And Mystic Kidder is also kind of a marionette operator because the mouth of the, of the bird moves and everything. And so he was kind of like, uh, like an MC of like a drag show or like a burlesque performance. So he's very like, you know, um, subversive and, and had like really funny jokes and everything. And, uh, so then he would like say something and then Angelyne came out and her, the extent of her performance was she was laying on her back on a reclining couch with her legs up in the air, kicking her feet, with a fan in front of her face. And then she kind of wiggled around on the stage for a few minutes and that was it. [laughs]

MS: Hm.

JG: And then, um, Mystic Kidder would say something and then the marionettes would come out and do these amazing dances. And, um, like in the lexicon of like dolls and marionettes, the costumes are like absolutely exquisite and they're weird and they're... I mean, they're just mesmerizing, like just totally mesmerizing. And it was a great night.

MS: Mm.

JG: It was one of the weirder things you could possibly see. But I just, I totally enjoyed every second of it and I was blown away and I, I loved it.

MS: Mm. Great. Wow, that sounds fantastic.

JG: Yeah, very out there, but very me at the same time.

MS: Cool.

JG: So. So yeah, everyone should look up Angelyne, look up the Bob [Baker] Marionettes and look up Mystic Kidder. I promise you you'll have a great hour on the Internet looking up those three things.

MS: Outstanding. Well, thank you so much for that and thank you so much for talking with me. I really had a good time.

JG: Thank you. Thanks for inviting me.


Outro

OK, so, once again, for SoCal listeners, Jennifer’s show “Cultural Grooming” is up at jdc Fine Art through May 31st, 2019. And her exhibition at the Head On Photo Festival in Sydney, Australia, is up through May 19th, 2019. There are links to both in the show notes, so do check those out if you can.

And that is our show. If you’d like to get in touch, you can follow the show on Twitter and Instagram at @ChannelOpenPod, on Facebook at facebook.com/keepthechannelopen, or you can send an email to podcast@keepthechannelopen.com. If you’d like to support the show, you can find our Patreon campaign at patreon.com/sakeriver, that’s sake like the drink and river like river. Another thing you can do to help out the show and help put a smile on my face is to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Our theme music is by Podington Bear, you can find more of his music available for licensing at soundofpicture.com. We’ll be back on May 22nd with a conversation with writer Julia Dixon Evans, so do be sure to come back for that one. And until then, remember: keep the channel open.

Michael Sakasegawa