Clutching the Absurd with On-Stage Alter Ego Dynasty Handbag

Dynasty Handbag, Clutching the Absurd

Photography by Jeaneen Lund.

For her recent undertaking, Soggy Glasses, a Homo’s Odyssey, which premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dynasty Handbag reinterprets Homer’s Odyssey through a feminist lens, incorporating clips from the George Clooney film The Perfect Storm and reclining on a plush sandwich-shaped pillow in full-body spandex, her face lathered in goopy makeup. It’s as unexpected and bizarre as anything the Los Angeles–based performer (née Jibz Cameron) has done since she introduced her onstage alter ego in 2002 at San Francisco’s Ladyfest.

“Sometimes I’m like, I can’t believe I’m still doing this thing — like, what the fuck?” she says with a laugh. In the years since she created Dynasty Handbag, Cameron has graced stages on both coasts (including at New York’s Joe’s Pub and L.A.’s OutFest), released two albums and numerous video vignettes, and lectured at Cornell University and CalArts, where she’s currently an adjunct professor teaching “Performacizing.” Her art is often scripted — in one video she sends up country music in a denim jumpsuit (and then topless) while singing her original tune “I Can’t Stop Thinking ’Bout Having Sex With You, Girl.” Other times, she begins with a blank canvas and improvises, like with her experimental monthly show, Weirdo Night.

After previous attempts to bring Dynasty Handbag to the small screen, Cameron has now partnered with actor Jack Black to film a loosely autobiographical pilot, which she’s shopping to TV networks. “I’m going to keep trying to get that Hollywood cash,” she deadpans. “Because I really want a new Prius!” 

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