Hole Pics Celebrates SOPHIE's Legacy

Hole Pics Celebrates SOPHIE's Legacy

By Andrew NguyenFeb 05, 2024

Last week was the third anniversary of the sudden passing of music pioneer SOPHIE, leaving a massive void in the industry. To make sure we never forget the mark that she left on the world, Brooklyn-based show Hole Pics (produced by MTHR TRSA, Buffy and Brendan Germain), celebrated SOPHIE's life and artistry with a symphonic mashup of drag, dance, live music and performance art.

MTHR TRSA felt such a deep connection to the musician that she felt like she’d even lost a piece of herself when SOPHIE passed, which is why she wanted to honor her with a thoughtful show. “She was like really cultivating this renaissance of dolls,” she tells PAPER.

The mix of performers — which included Clea, Bri Joy, Amygdala, God Complex, Serena Tea, Paris Alexander and dance duo EXULT comprised of Kate Williams and Reed Rushes — captured the chaos, yearning, introspection, joy, catharsis and positive and negative spaces that SOPHIE explored in her experimental pop.

Each with their own interpretation of SOPHIE’s work, Bri Joy, God Complex, Serena Tea and Paris Alexander lip-synced to “Immaterial,” “It’s Okay To Cry,” “Sweat (SOPHIE Remix),” and “Sfire 1,” respectively. God Complex dressed as a fish out of water, with gills on their face, performing as water was poured on them. Paris Alexander performed in a pitch-black room with only a flashlight in their hand to direct attention to where exactly the audience should be focusing.

“Hole Pics plays with attention and intensity,” Germain says. “It's also curated around where we should be drawing our focus to, and what was really nice about the show was seeing where the execution of a SOPHIE track and her discography could go. We saw the breadth and the scale of it. These artists are all doing vastly different things and pulling focus in many different ways, but it's all grounded in the music.

Outside of lip-syncing, the Hole Pics cast included dancers, musicians and performance artists. The duo EXULT interpreted the music as lovemaking and conflict and all the emotions in between as they danced and writhed in the middle of the audience. Clea did a live cover of “Is It Cold in the Water?” And Buffy, whose work often explores biological substances, was covered in slime. “It felt fitting to be able to have a monstrous beautiful ethereal birth for a Sophie tribute,” Buffy says. “As queer and trans people, we often experience a hunger for touch and physical connectivity.”

“Hole Pics is a cavalcade of trans excellence that's unmatched and has these weird connective tissues that are historical and meaningful, both in this intensely public and intimate way — an unfolding of intimacy that TRSA and Brendan have mentioned, that is a hole pic in its own right," Buffy tells PAPER. "I had the realization that the ‘Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides’ is also that intimacy and vulnerability. And something as sultry and silly as a hole pic has that intensity connected to it too.”

Photography: @step2vic