Last weekend, avant-garde rock collective the Residents staged their 1988 concept album, God in Three Persons, live for the first time at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
The performance found the band teaming with visual artist John Sanborn and director Travis Chamberlain, and now videos from the show have surfaced online (via Brooklyn Vegan).
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God in Three Persons, as the Residents’ website details, tells the story of a slick talent manager named Mr. X who discovers a pair of Siamese twins with special healing powers and takes them on the road as “holy healers.”
Mr. X eventually starts to lust after the “female” twin, but discovers both twins are actually gender fluid and, not to mention, far savvier than they let on.
In order to reassert his control, Mr. X “plots a vicious rape” and splits the twins apart, and the story/album ends with him realizing that his feelings for the twins “were not being imposed on him by [them], but came from within himself.”
Fan-shot videos from the MoMA performance (and a review of a Bay Area preview in the East Bay Express) offer a glimpse into how the Residents finally brought this show to life. On stage were the Residents, characteristically clad in masks, joined by singer and keyboard player Laurie Amant. There were two actors, one playing Mr. X, who narrates the show, and another essentially playing a shadow of Mr. X, who provides a physical/dance accompaniment to the spoken narrative.
The final element was Sanborn’s multi-layered video projections, which mixed psychedelic animation and featured footage of the twins, portrayed by the performance artist Jiz Lee. (Additional videos can be found on the YouTube page L Ron Jesus.)
Later this spring, the Residents will embark on their Dog Stab! tour, which kicks off April 16th at the Wonder Ballroom in Portland and wraps with three nights at the Chapel in San Francisco, May 14th through 16th. The band has continued to tour and perform in the wake of the October 2018 death of Hardy Fox, a founding member and the Residents’ main composer.
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