My Barbarian

Steve Turner

My Barbarian, LA’s own all-singing, all-dancing, all-acting performance troupe (Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, Alexandro Segade), can be read as a gentle parody of alt-rock’s claims to ownership over experiential extremes, as per the band My Chemical Romance. But one might also consider how names follow other names; after all, could there be a (My) Chemical Romance without a (My) Drug Hell without a (My) Bloody Valentine? My Barbarian nods to all of these, while also suggesting rapprochement. The inversion of “the other,” via the personal pronoun, into something approaching “the same” is central to everything the group does, beginning with their appropriation of a host of theatrical—moreover, musical-theatrical—tropes for purposes of performance art. “Show-core,” as they have dubbed their practice, is exactly the antithesis to the antitheatrical thesis of performance art.

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