The Antithesis of Cool (is Always Cool)
Publié par Laura Beeston

** Désolé, seulement disponible en anglais. **

She introduced herself to me as “anti-cool,” but it wasn’t the woman I’d expected. It wasn’t the unstoppable energy I’d previously witnessed, with long, black hair flying as fast as the arms she threw into the drums. The last time she was in town, she was rocking out with Duchess Says—a dark punkrock Montreal music troupe of headbanging hip to the highest French degree. And she was fucking fierce. So who was this anti-cool? This passive presence in a McDonalds outfit before me?

She puts on her cap and face for the camera. “May I help you?” she asks—almost screeching—bearing teeth, sickly smiling, eyes slightly dilated with eyebrows ticking. Punctuating the moments of physical insanity, order and loss, she returns to this screen—sometimes gasping for air—pushing her cheeks with her fingers to plump up her smile.

Reaching into the breast of her corporate-issued t-shirt, she pulls out a hamburger. Like a heart, she exposes the pathetic contents of the bun before offering it up to a bewildered member of the audience. Later she’s pacing back and forth, sucking back on an extra-large carton of cola. Breathing, suffocating, breathing through the straw. Then she rolls out the red carpet for us—smoke, screen, white gloves, hamburger. Finally she’s picking up the wrappers, the straws, the lids before eventually getting inside the garbage bag herself.

“[The performance is] spontaneous; the basics are there, but each night it’s slightly different,” says the woman called anti-cool after the show. She explained that she has—and knows very well—the fast food serving experience. Instead of setting tables and chairs, elements she assert are too straight forward, she takes the physicality of the job to a less-obvious level.

Pushing the realms of humanity in industry, professionalism and the loss of personality, the meaning of the performance—entitled Role Model for a Store Clerk—is literal, but layered. The gestures, the moments of exhaustion or defeat are what make this piece believable, with it’s dehumanizing, highly-personal and empathetic struggle.

The humour and ridiculousness of her smiling face on screen, with her small, pathetic gestures, punctuate the power relations and highlight the absurdity. Why and how do clients and industry make people feel like garbage for a fucking hamburger?!?

<< Check out anti-cool, with Leslie Baker and Narcissister for Tangente 3x TONIGHT at 19h30 or Sunday, March 27 at 16h00 >>

Une réponse pour “The Antithesis of Cool (is Always Cool)”

  1. Jess


    This is such a fantastic write-up. Anti-cool was amazing (as were all the ladies in Tangente X 3).

    Can’t wait to add this!

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