In 2000 or 2001 I made a series of duets called "Tandemonium." I invited my friend Howie to be in a duet with me to the song Deceptacon.
Howie and I are friends from college and we played in a band together at the end of the 90’s called Princess. When that band ended Howie went on to become the very successful My Robot Friend.
Anyway, since Howie is not a professional dancer, I made the dance simple enough for him and me to perform together. We did it at an event in downtown NYC that my friend, the writer Laurie Weeks, was at. She had just interviewed Le Tigre’s Kathleen Hanna for Index Magazine. She told Kathleen about the dance and Kathleen contacted me about having us perform it at their CMJ show.
We did that and they really loved it. A few months later she contacted me again saying that she wanted to videotape it to be their “video” for the song.
So Howie and I showed up at her and Adam Horovitz’s house on spring street in Manhattan and a video artist friend of Kathleen’s named “Elizabeth” (I think) recorded us doing the song in their attic. Le Tigre went on to use the video whenever they performed the song and I have no idea who “iamthewalrus” is on youtube and it was only a long time later that I realized that a bunch of people had contacted me about the dance. I get emails about it from time to time still — from people who just want to say “great video/dance” or who want permission to re-create the dance.
It was Howie’s ideas to make the costumes the way we made them. Howie is very creative when it comes to costuming, if you’ve ever seen his robot character you’ll know what I’m talking about. I believe we bought the pilot jumpsuits at some thrift store downtown then we met at Howie’s computer programming job where we cut them up and STAPLED the velcro pieces onto the costume. This makes the costume really fucking uncomfortable. For the helmets we took two big bags of cotton balls and covered them in yellow duct tape. And then made the straps with the tape and staples. Again. the gloves are from some weird video game that Howie knew about. And then he got a bunch of l.e.d. lights that he put into the goggles (again, from some army/navy store) and I think we put them somewhere else on us but I don’t remember. The sneakers are from some website where you could get customized sneakers mailed to you. I have all of these fucking costumes in some bag in my apartment somewhere.
background photo by Eric McNatt