Wicked Clown Love, which recently completed a sold-out run in its world premiere at the Kitchen in New York City, is a new work from performance artist Neal Medlyn. The sixth in Medlyn’s ongoing pop star series, Wicked Clown Love is built around the music and culture of hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse, their devoted fan base the Juggalos, and other forms of male bonding and ritual. Starring Medlyn, Carmine Covelli, Farris Craddock and others, the piece features design by Madeline Best (lighting), Kathleen Hanna (set) and Larry Krone (costumes).
Wicked Clown Love is Neal Medlyn’s dark specter version of the Insane Clown Posse (ICP) world, incorporating influences ranging from the writings of Mythopoetic Men’s Movement figure Robert Bly, especially his popular book Iron John: A Book About Men and his analysis of Grimm’s fairy tales, to visual design elements that reference dollar store displays, haunted houses, and the TV show COPS. In addition to their infamous clown face painting and the Juggalos, ICP is known for a type of Midwestern, underground, hardcore rap laced with horror film references called horrorcore. Medlyn’s show will feature rap and spoken word, terror and horror, male bonding activities like flashlight wrestling, Faygo showers, clown love and more.
Until now, Medlyn’s pop star series has included shows about mainstream recording artists like Lionel Richie, Phil Collins, Prince and Britney Spears. Wicked Clown Love explores his interest in regional cultural phenomena, particularly the Gathering of the Juggalos, ICP’s yearly festival, at which legions of fans assemble for a raucous weekend of male bonding, music, and carnivalesque spectacle. Medlyn went to the Gathering in 2011 with longtime collaborator Farris Craddock to research this show and, to his surprise, enjoyed himself. He found a kinship between the “damaged nerds” he met there and the odd young men he grew up surrounded by in East Texas.
Additionally, he found connections in the intense revivalist feeling present at the festival to the ones he experienced as child in a family of traveling preachers. In this show, Medlyn uses what he saw and heard at the Gathering – the violent lyrics, constant nudity, unsanctioned fireworks, etc – and learned from extensive research into ICP and its followers. He utilizes his childhood love of hip-hop and sampling to transform selections from ICP’s seven albums. His renditions are complete remakes of the songs, and include samples from the music of conflicted male songwriters like Dan Fogelberg.
The show also has a blog chronicling it's development at: mmfcl.wordpress.com/