Thursday, March 30, 2023

There she goes again: Tammy Faye Starlite returns as Nico at Joe's Pub

Text and photos by Daniel Efram

This past Friday, Tammy Faye Starlite and her accomplished group of musicians brought her portrayal of Nico to life once again at Joe's Pub
Nico, whose real name was Christine Paffagen, gained fame as the lead vocalist for the Velvet Underground's first album and struggled with drug addiction and other personal demons throughout her life as she tried to establish herself as a solo artist. (She also once lived at 101 Avenue A.) 

In this reprise performance, "Nico: Underground," Starlite reimagines a pivotal interview that Nico gave in 1986, just two years before her death. Starlite embodied the complex and enigmatic character of Nico, shedding new light on the legacy of this remarkable artist, along with interviewer Jeff Ward, Keith Hartel on bass and acoustic guitar, David Nagler on keyboards, Eszter Balint on violin, Richard Feridun on electric guitar, Ron Metz on drums, and Craig Hoek on sax and on the story's pivotal flute. 

Her Nico performance started in 2010 at Joe's Pub, before the Duplex in the West Village, then The Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles. The official run at Theater For the New City began in 2014. 

"I love pretending to be her — her innate contradictions, the dialectic within, her inherent nihilism, her somewhat subversive nature, are all so fascinating to me," Tammy Lang, known on stage as Tammy Faye Starlite, told me. Cafe Carlyle would be lucky to have this production. 

"Nico: Underground" returns to Joe’s Pub on July 24. Find tickets here.


Anonymous said...

Love Tammy Faye!

stephen b said...

Wow let's have more of this so imaginative in this era of B.S.