My Barbarian: Songbook
Songbook is a musical showcase drawing from My Barbarian’s extensive repertoire over the last two decades, reuniting musicians who played in the band at Los Angeles music venues in the early 2000s. Staged for multiple video cameras in collaboration with Telefantasy Studios and broadcast live from 2220 Arts + Archive in Los Angeles, My Barbarian’s Songbook is a streaming event that pays homage to TV variety shows of the 1970s, with a nod to the public access underground of the 1980s.
A performed archive, Songbook presents My Barbarian’s music in a live, time-based retrospective. My Barbarian’s musical compositions are rooted in the group’s concept of Showcore, a queerly theatrical mode that uses genre play, storytelling, and alter-egos to re-imagine contemporary fantasies. Composed of three sets, this 120-minute concert for TV features My Barbarian’s New Wave–influenced, Broadway-style showstoppers; psychedelic political cabaret; and jazz-folk-inflected meditations on mythologies, culling numbers from their albums Cloven Soft-Shoe and California Sweet & the 7 Pagan Rights, as well as their musical plays Purple Eyes, Voyage of the White Widow, Non-Western, Post-Living Ante-Action Theater, Death Panel Discussion, Broke Peoples’ Baroque People’s Theater, and The Mother and Other Plays.
Songbook is performed by the core members of My Barbarian—Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon and Alexandro Segade—and directed in collaboration with JJ Stratford, who uses obsolete video technologies to make contemporary video art. Accompanying the trio are an all-star lineup of Los Angeles–based musicians: Scott Martin (guitar), Giles Miller (flute and saxophone), Jessica Espeleta (bass), Anh Do (keys), and Tina Raymond (drums). The costumes, by Melissa Corey with My Barbarian, evoke the disco shimmer of Liza with a Z, the rich hippie excesses of Sonny and Cher, and the otherworldly chic of the elves of Lord of the Rings.