Tag Archives: “A Time to Be Born: Taylor Mac in Conversation with Barlo Perry”


“Working catharsis is my art form, and one of the ways I do that is by the time-honored tradition of making something ridiculous…

“My job as a theater artist is to remind people of things they’ve forgotten about, or they’ve dismissed or buried, or other people have buried for them.” — Taylor Mac, PARIS LA*

Mac—an incandescent magpie of modern culture—is a champion of what he calls “authentic failure,” a process where the performer goes out on a limb and stays there:

“There’s something about getting up there, risking, falling flat on your ass, and then picking yourself up, that—when you’re watching it on a stage—is profound.”*

Mac the performer, in his transformative 24-Decade History of Popular Music shows, risks everything for six, twelve, twenty-four hours at a time. Mac the playwright concentrates his gender-queer socialism into two-hour projects and sends his actors out to walk the plank, where they thrive.

HIR—Mac’s 2014 play in its Los Angeles premiere at the Odyssey—is a wonderfully disturbing satire that imagines a long-abused family reaching its greatest potential by taking revenge on the abusive patriarch (Ron Bottitta), who was—according to his wife—another “mediocre straight white man who’s barely lifting a finger but thinks he’s lifting the world.”

Mom (Cynthia Kania)—who spends enriching weekends at the local museum with her daughter-turned-son Max (Puppett)—no longer cooks or cleans, so when soldier son Isaac (Zack Gearing) returns home from the Middle East, he walks into an exploded kitchen-sink drama of familial detritus.

“Hir”—pronounced “here”—is a pronoun that floats between “her” and “his.” HIR, the play, will be on the boards for only six more weeks. so get your tickets now.


Through March 17.

Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

2055 South Sepulveda Boulevard, West Los Angeles.

*See “A Time to Be Born: Taylor Mac in conversation with Barlo Perry, PARIS LA 15 (Spring 2017): 78–85.

From top: Cynthia Kania (left), Ron Bottitta, and Puppett in Hir; Kania, Puppett, and Zack Gearing; Kania; Gearing, Kania, and Puppett; Gearing, Bottitta, and Kania. Photographs by Enci Box.


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Near the end of his recent T magazine essay on queer theater and the landmark plays of Mart Crowley (The Boys in the Band), Tony Kushner (Angels in America), Larry Kramer (The Normal Heart), Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy), and Paul Rudnick (Jeffrey), Jesse Green wrote:

“Among the new works I’ve actually seen, the only… piece that rises to the level of those I’ve beatified is Taylor Mac’s A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC… Miraculously, it combines Kushner’s vision, Kramer’s anger, Crowley’s cattiness, Fierstein’s warmth and Rudnick’s wit (plus a whole lot else) into one subversive astonishment…”*

Prepare to be astonished as Taylor brings his complete magnum opus to Los Angeles, starting this week. Each chapter in this CAP UCLA presentation in downtown L.A. comprises a 6-hour performance.



CHAPTER 1 (1776-1836), Thursday, March 15, at 6 pm.

CHAPTER II (1836-1896), Saturday, March 17, at 6 pm.

CHAPTER III (1896-1956), Thursday, March 22, at 6 pm.

CHAPTER IV (1956-2016), Saturday, March 24, at 6 pm.

THEATRE AT ACE HOTEL, 929 South Broadway, downtown Los Angeles.


See: “A Time to Be Born: Taylor Mac in Conversation with Barlo Perry,” PARIS LA 15:
Taylor Mac in Brooklyn, autumn 2016. Photographs by Teddy Wolff.

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In his first New York stage performance since his 24-hour show at St. Ann’s Warehouse a year ago, Taylor Mac brings HOLIDAY SAUCE to Town Hall.

“Christmas as calamity. Celebrating the holiday season in all of its dysfunction, Taylor Mac is joined by longtime collaborators designer Machine Dazzle, music director Matt Ray, and a band of eight to reframe the songs you love and the holidays you hate.”*


TAYLOR MAC—HOLIDAY SAUCE, Tuesday, December 12. Doors at 7:30.

TOWN HALL, 123 West 43rd Street, New York City.


See “A Time to be Born—Taylor Mac in Conversation with Barlo Perry,” PARIS LA 15:


Taylor Mac in California, 2017. Photograph by Little Fang.

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Barlo Perry: “What was the impetus behind A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC?

Taylor Mac: “It was [a 1986, San Francisco] AIDS walk. I had never seen an out homosexual before, and so many at the same time.  I discovered queer history, queer agency, queer pride while the community was being torn apart because of the epidemic and institutionalized homophobia.  To see that community building itself and surviving as it was weakening and disintegrating was an interesting dichotomy.  And years later, I thought, I want to make a show that’s a metaphor, a representation of that.”*

This week Taylor Mac returns to San Francisco, where everything started.


CHAPTER I (1776–1836), Friday, September 15, at 5 pm.

CHAPTER II (1836–1896), Sunday, September 17, at 2 pm.

CHAPTER III (1896–1956), Friday, September 22, at 5 pm.

CHAPTER IV (1956–2016), Sunday, September 24, at 2 pm.

CURRAN THEATER, 445 Geary Street, San Francisco.


* from “A Time to Be Born: Taylor Mac in Conversation with Barlo Perry,” PARIS LA 15 (Spring 2017): 78–85.

Taylor Mac, with musical director/pianist Matt Ray in top photo. Photographs by Teddy Wolff.

Performer Taylor Mac and music director Matt Ray.