Late night TV then and now by Weird Alice
This written piece was commissioned by Midsumma in April 2020 as a response to the mass loss of the Melbourne queer arts industry (due to COVID-19). This blog is part of a series of works from our LGBTQIA+ arts and culture community that gives Midsumma audiences an insight into the practice of the queer arts and helps to make queer arts and cultures more accessible to diverse audiences in this time of social distancing and uncertainty.
Weird Alice is interstellar drag trash royalty who is glamorous with a dash of disgusting. She has been performing around the world for the past 10 years and will be soon appearing on a screen near you.
- by Weird Alice
Late night TV then and now, it’s bizarre being reminded in real-time what one of my biggest influences is for my art. I always joke that TV and B-Movies are the driving force behind the referential underground style of art that I like to produce, but now that this pandemic has hit full-tilt and I’m back on the other side of the world in isolation at a family home with access to cable and a huge bout of insomnia and creative block I turn to leaving the flickering box on in the background while I try to process and here it comes… the infomercial. The later at night, the weirder they get. Sometimes you don’t even quite understand what they’re advertising with the vague nature, but they all have one tagline in common - “Call Me Now”. I never pick up the phone and dial but I’m eternally fascinated by the what if prospect. What if I did call? What would the voice say on the other line?
Well, if you’ve had the opportunity to see me perform then you’ll be in on the joke that I’m OBSESSED with phone calls and audio clips from my fave pop culture in most of my numbers. I’ve even joked about changing my name to reflect this but I will probably save that as a character for a show down the line. A few of my acts are that of the phone calls that come out of these infomercials. One is that of a sweet woman singing an old timey love song, “Maybe it’s late, but just call me. Tell me and I’ll be around.” and when she answers the phone she’s not actually sweet but hurls insults at the listener in a mocking prank call fashion.
Inspiration draws at the oddest hours and in places you aren’t always looking for it. There’s just something so taboo about these commercials that made them enticing when I was younger and didn’t understand them and now they seem like something from a distant memory. Seeing that they are still alive and well means for me that my references are far less antiquated than I thought. I’m wanting to elaborate on this more with my work throughout the quarantine portion of COVID-19 since we are all having to find new ways to keep in touch and communicate creatively through this time. So maybe it’s time to come up with a new tagline, put out the ad and see who calls. Maybe I’ll answer.
~ to find out more about Weird Alice, see the social links below