PATTY is all girl. As in 100% female cast. When the show opens this month at Highways, it will be state of the art. Audio, video, multi layered, multiple projectors, hip hop, Laugh In, black power, fight the power. Fight yourself! That’s probably the harder battle
I visited Patrick Kennelly at Highways in Santa Monica last week, and I was totally knocked out by what I saw and heard. PATTY is a kaleidoscope of old school analog counter culture vibes, cut and pasted all over the stage, thru some digital timespace manipulation (aka finesse).
Oh! And the music!
Kristin Erickson, Jonathan Snipes, Daveed Diggs, all the Pattys…they take the top of my head off with their showtunes meets fast forward digital glitching.
But first things first. PATTY creator Patrick Kennelly catches us up on the background details:
Why did you choose “Patty” as a subject? Who is PATTY?
Patty is a new socio-pop myth we’ve created – a Frankenstein monster of identity issues meant to inevitably serve as mirror into the American soul! We’re swinging for the fences here. I wouldn’t dare compare myself to William Klein, but I see what I’m doing as kind of along those lines…
When did you begin working on this? Has this been your obsession for a long time?
This is the accumulation of a lot of different thematic obsessions and aesthetic ideas I’ve been exploring for about ten years now. When I stumbled across the odd parallels in the myth-making lives of icons Patty Duke and Patty Hearst, it created a surface where a lot of these things could be collaged – beginning with celebrity, madness, and cult-ideology.
How would you describe Jonathan’s music?
This is the peak of a collaborative partnership I’ve developed with Jonathan for the past 5 years. I don’t even know where to begin in describing his music. Perhaps 21st century Wall of Sound. Jonathan has truly come into his Phil Spector here—minus the guns and domestic violence! With the support of Kristin Erickson and Daveed Diggs, the music he’s created really has a richness of thematic depth and sonic complexity that is just non-existent in most contemporary pop music.
If you can imagine a ’60s girl group sound super-charged by French house, and then mix in prog rock elements, synth disco, 90s rave, ghetto tech and everything in-between, you might have a vague idea.
Ultimately though, the final stew—the PATTY: The Revival album—is completely its own unique, epic sound.
What can audiences expect from the production?
This is Patty’s passion play. Her stations of the cross in 12 songs. It is a dance-pop concert, a fashion show and a theatrical revelation of the power and ultimate hopelessness of myth. It is a sonic and visual assault. Like Patty herself, it is everything.
Will there be cocktails, etc available at the shows?
What would a revival be without a bit of spiked drink?
War, economic depression, pollution, poverty…Our world is kinda messed up in 2012. What’s the most PATTY response to all this?
Accepting one’s fate is both inevitable and a cleanse. When you become truly fee, you realize that you are alone in the world. Are you ready for the glory? Are you ready to be re-born?
INTERVIEW WITH COMPOSER JONATHAN SNIPES
Who is Patty, this character that you have been writing music for?
Patty is the perfect Pop Icon. She’s a diva, a revolutionary, a messiah, and the girl next door.
How would you describe her musical world?
We’re drawing from pretty much every sphere of influence imaginable. Because every possible musical idea has already been realized, I adopted an approach of constant, frantic plagiarism. Innovation is only possible on the ashes of the past, so every moment of every song in PATTY is a fragment excavated from the ruins of pop music.
Is PATTY in any way related to what you do with Captain Ahab? Was it fun/difficult to switch musical gears for this project?
PATTY pretty much *is* a collection of Captain Ahab songs, but with more collaborators than I usually have on an Ahab record. The exciting thing for me was to be able to explore ideas I would deem, “too stupid” to work in a Captain Ahab context. There’s been something intangible about fording 15 incredibly talented women to sing this music that’s allowed me to further push the boundaries of what I find acceptable or silly. The cast has a really good way of cutting through the superficiality of my melodies & lyrics, and finding profundity beneath.
What kind of motifs/genres did you feel that were needed to tell Patty’s story? And which made the final cut?
Pretty much every kind of pop music you can imagine, I suppose – and hopefully no one of the songs stays in one genre for very long. If you want me to list genre names, I can do that I guess—disco, no-wave, southern rock, booty house, hip house, jumprope chant, new age, doo-wop, dubstep (sorry), breakcore, jungle, seapunk, post-minimalism, lounge, frenchcore, 2-step, juke, adult contemporary, etc.
What musicians were involved?
I co-wrote a few of the songs with Kristin Erickson (Kevin Blechdom). Also rapper Daveed Diggs (with whom I’m in the band clipping) contributed a lot of lyrics (and appears on the recordings). Justin Asher played some guitar & bass, Bryan Taylor played some drums, Kristin played banjo, John Snyder played some piano & did some string arrangements, but everything else was pretty much sequenced or played by me in the studio. The cast will do some live drumming as well, but otherwise the music will be pre-recorded. Electronic music of this complexity is impossible & pointless to try to re-create live. The vocal parts were all written with live singing in mind, obviously, but the recorded parts are meant to be playback. The playback is still dynamic & can adapt/change with the performers to a certain extent.
How was it working with Kristin in this context?
Kristin has been delightful to work with. I’ve been such a huge fan of her music for years – years before I met her. To be able to collaborate & write with her on this project has been very exciting – we complement each other’s ideas very well, and I like getting to be the most grounded/sensible person in the room for a change! If *I’m* the one who has to keep saying, “I think that idea is too silly” we’ve gotta be in some pretty exciting new territory!
Can you tell us about the Soundcloud track on SC.com?
“The System” is a list of instructions & collection of advice given to Patty about how to be the perfect American role model.
What part of PATTY are you most excited to see an audience react to?
Its conservative & respectful running time.
Music by Jonathan Snipes
Lyrics by Daveed Diggs, Kristin Erickson, Jonathan Snipes
Sung by Heather Cadarette, Daveed Diggs, Emma Hawley, Megan Otteni, Stephanie Tucker
Mixed by Steve Kaplan
PATTY: The Revival album credits:
Music by Jonathan Snipes with Kristin Erickson
Lyrics by Daveed Diggs, Kristin Erickson, Sigrid Gilmer, Patrick
Kennelly, Jonathan Snipes
Live Mixing by David Crawford
Recordings Mixed by Steve Kaplan
Pre-recorded Guitars by Justin Asher
Pre-recorded Drums by Bryan Taylor
Pre-recorded Banjo by Kristin Erickson
Piano & String Arrangements by John W. Snyder
Supplemental Pre-recorded vocals by Daveed Diggs, Megan Otteni, Jonathan Snipes
Don’t miss the show…
Highways Performance Space & U-N-M-A-R-K-E-D present the world premiere of
PATTY – a PoP! Musical Event
Premiere Performances MAY 18-20 & MAY 23-26
All female cast! RSVP
8:30pm Highways—1651 18th St., Santa Monica CA 90404
$15 (General Admission – Standing Room only / includes free cocktail)
$30 (VIP Admission – Assigned Seating + 2 cocktails + schwag bag)
Tickets are available online or by calling 310-315-1459
Opening acts over the seven day run include:
Friday, May 18 – Actually Huizenga
Saturday, May 19 – IE
Sunday, May 20 – Bai Ling
Wednesday, May 23 – TBD
Thursday, May 24 – Kevin Blechdom & the M.T. Brain
Friday, May 25 – Wet Mango
Saturday, May 26 – Maxi Wild