The Fifth No�

12.13.2006

By Jason Lamphier

Where are you performing this year?
At a brand new venue called The Box. It's going to open soon on the Lower East Side. It's a turn-of-the-century theater with a balcony. It's unbelievable.

Will you have elves?
I think there will be alien elves. It's really out of this world this year. It's more abstract.

So you have designers every year assist with the costumes?
Luckily I have a boyfriend who has a big closet full of costumes, so we borrow a lot from Fischerspooner. I usually have something made for myself. Last year we happened to have all these kimonos, and people pull together what they have.

I like how the show explores the darker side of Christmas.
You can't get away from it, and it gets worse every year. I used to want it to be a week-long festival. Then I found out it used to be a week-long festival, like Halloween or Mardi Gras. That's where all the caroling comes from. You'd knock on the door, and you had to let people in and give them all your food and wine. Your boss would become your slave for the day. It was such a massive, drunken party that the New England colonies banned it. They purposely scheduled court to be on the day of Christmas so that people couldn't celebrate it. So when people say that it's getting away from its original intent, it's actually getting right back to where it started: a completely insane drunken festival of color and light, feasting, and overindulgence at the end of the year.

That sounds like my type of Christmas. I'm less interested in the commercialized notion of the holidays.
It's all layers and layers of mythology, endlessly unfolding like those Russian dolls, where every time you open the next one, you think that's gonna be it, but there's another. Everywhere you go, someone has another story.

You're in a bunch of projects, including Weimar New York with Justin Bond [of Kiki and Herb].
I wrote the theme song for that, and I did one of my original songs, which I performed. I love Justin's performance. I get tired of hearing standards. I want people to write their own songs, so I decided to do it.

Do you envision Chaos & Candy as a film?
Yes, somewhere between Judy Garland's Christmas special and Pee-Wee Herman's Christmas special, mixed with documentary-like footage.

And you're doing solo performances in New York City for the holidays?
Yeah. I really want to do a subway show and hand out pamphlets. You know how they hand out the religious pamphlets? I would hand out The Alternate History of the Holidays'even if I did it for one day at the 42nd Street stop. I wonder what the motivation behind Christmas is. It's so self-serving but seductive to the people who want to feel good and connected.

So this show gives you a chance to be seductive.
Yes, a chance to be seductive and disruptive. [Laughs]

Chaos & Candy 5: Cosmic Yule, December 17, at The Box, 189 Chrystie Street (Between Rivington and Stanton), 9 p.m. For more on Adam, go to adamdugas.com.

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