Last Saturday at 8pm we tuned in to The Casket Of Horrors, a live cabaret in Tokyo featuring video submissions from contributors who couldn’t be there at the venue in person.
It has been very hard for performers. Some people I know make their living doing shows (or otherwise, it is the thing that ‘gives them life’). Since the Covid 19 outbreak there has been no Closet Ball, for instance – a mainstay of gay life in Tokyo for many people and overseas visitors, which both D and I have performed at on numerous occasions: Halloween events will similarly be shut down this year.
Despite the difficulties for everybody, it has been quite interesting, watching how performances evolve; from live stage to video; from no audience to screen audience; a very different way of presenting your ideas and songs; an entirely different kettle of fish.
With D Whom, I just follow orders. ‘Tonight you are going to decapitate me against a green screen and hit me with socks pretending to be bats’ : ‘tomorrow night I am going to film you as a corpse’ etc etc. Covid Cabaret was a scream, his teaming up of a pangolin (‘Patient Zero’) with pigs and bats – making a mockery of the virus, because sometimes you have to poke fun at the thing you despise, and fear, as people did in the 14th century during the Black Death; this was live, though, and we did it against a green screen and the background film he had already made, not quite knowing whether we were coming or going; it was precarious and hilarious.
Yesterday’s entry – each entrant being limited to four minutes or under – was D’s twisted love story set to a soundtrack of Prisoner by Barbra Streisand – theme from Eyes Of Laura Mars, a cult seventies thriller starring Faye Dunaway that we both adore – and Yoko Ono’s Beautiful Boys. Exhaustingly, I had come back from that day of all day interviews I had been doing a few weeks ago (discussed at length in my piece on English Education In Japan); relaxing on the balcony, if you remember, smelling perfumes, just recovering from the day: the last thing I wanted to do was getting dressed up and painted like a bloated horror hag doll.
I had promised though; so let him get to work. There was a deadline. And so D stitched together some kind of petit melodrama revolving around him being incarcerated for the murder of Burning Bush (and who can blame him?); then realising his mistake, and after being in prison for god knows how long, returning home to find that he is still completely haunted, as I float in car windows and the doors of abandoned houses (we filmed this latter part a couple of Sundays ago; you can see our local shopping street in the sunlight, and an overgrown house around the corner).
All perhaps rather insane. But actually, really quite cathartic.