Mindblowing at MoMA: Fischerspooner Doesn't Disappoint

Nell Alk

I can never rave enough about Brooklyn-based electroclash duo and performance troupe Fischerspooner. Comprised of Casey Spooner and Warren Fischer, the twosome has been obliterating boundaries for over a decade. And didn't disappoint on Sunday night at MoMA's sixth installment of their "Performance Exhibition Series."

Due to deliberately limited literature outlining the event, my companion and I had, at best, a vague idea what we were getting ourselves into. Described as "An evening-length... pop spectacle...[that] runs continuously over the course of three hours, with no clear beginning or end, on a large central stage that allows the audience to view the piece from all sides," we were unclear what precisely was in store.

Whatever it was started at 6 p.m. and attracted a healthy audience. Showgoers waited outside the main entrance and were eventually ushered in, semi-stampeding through the sole door security saw fit to open. Inside, we formed an unruly line, at the front of which we were told the performance was sold out. Bummer for those without tickets!

Bypassing the overpriced wine, my date and I made our way up the stairs to the second floor atrium while "Amuse Bouche" echoed throughout the museum. Hailing from their third record, Entertainment (May 2009), this kicked off the hour-long performance piece, which, we immediately learned, turned out to be an exceedingly stimulating, multi-sensory experience. The stage was assembled in nearly the middle of the space, a skeletal erection that did indeed enable myriad viewpoints and perspectives, though most attendees remained front and center. Following this first song, they plucked three from their sophomore album, Odyssey (2005), and later rocked numbers from their debut, #1 or Best Album Ever (2001).

The production included elaborate dance sequences courtesy of choreographer Vanessa Walters, ornate fashion ensembles ("I feel like Lady Gaga on Saturday Night Live right now," he told the crowd), a screen featuring projected moving images, interviews with the spotlight-lover (Spooner) and content from practices and past performances. Among my favorite things was seeing god-only-knows-how-old footage of Spooner sporting not his recognizable bleach blonde, close-shaven crew cut and clean baby face, but, instead, long, brown locks and rugged stubble. Talk about entertainment!

Aside from all the glitz and show, Spooner's vocals were spot on. His singing, interspersed with what I believe to be deliberate interruptions and fabricated mini-crises, was stellar, the MoMA's acoustics superb. It's a shame more concerts aren't held here! And, defying what we've come to expect from the duo, Fischer, though off to the side and a bit hidden behind a yellow wig, had an evident presence. Generally he enjoys remaining behind the scenes, encouraging Spooner to take the reins and obscure his own electro contributions, but, fortunately for us, he made magic happen within plain sight. He grinned regularly, his eyeliner standing out around his happy eyes. He even crossed the stage at times and assisted in maneuvering the multiple mirrors and other props.

I'm sorry to say that the event was one-night-only. I wish it weren't so. I would demand every reader see it and would hands down pay to see it again myself. That said, be sure to catch them live in concert when you can. Every performance they put on is equally enthralling -- if a tad less interactive, a bit less revealing and definitely less exclusive, but well worth whatever the price tag. Fischerspooner is an act worth investing in.

If for some ungodly reason their sound doesn't do it for you, rest assured, Spooner will lure you in with his hysterical antics: "Standup's my next thing." Get ready, folks. It wouldn't be the first time he threatened something and actually saw it through to fruition.

Photos by Spilios Gianakopoulos

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