Alexis O’Hara’s diatribes fall flat

Rating: NNNNNE ven considering the wily eclecticism that is the trademark of the O'Hara clan -- think of Mary Margaret's.


Rating: NNNNN


E ven considering the wily eclecticism that is the trademark of the O’Hara clan — think of Mary Margaret’s rubbery gigs or Catherine’s fabulously screwy SCTV characterizations — performance artist cousin Alexis O’Hara is out there. Sadly, out there — as in outside, down the street and not within earshot of a rock crowd at the El Mo — was not where she was Friday.

Riffing at top volume on, er, stuff (her routine is apparently completely improvised and so varies depending on the kind of day she’s had)while co-conspirator Rob Stephens doodled the ether with blippy sonic squiggles and the odd George Harrison song, O’Hara, sometimes wearing a wig, jacket or shiny shirt illuminated by some kind of bulb, had a series of temper tantrums in front of the microphone.

Admittedly, performance art is a tough sell even in a conducive setting like, say, an opium den. The GG Allins and Karen Finleys of the world carve a niche and work it, and no matter how many yams they pull from their butts, they’re just not going to impress everyone.

The difference, though, seems to be that the above-mentioned artists are striving to offer some form of commentary.

That might have been O’Hara’s intention, too, but it wasn’t the result, as was clear from the alternately confused and bemused expressions crossing the faces of the plainly restless patrons on hand.

Fifteen minutes in, it got tiresome. Thirty minutes in, it was flat-out annoying. By the time O’Hara closed in on the hour mark, her shtick was a certifiable form of torture. Turns out there’s a case to be made for the slapping of raw meat against the skull after all.


ALEXIS O’HARA, at the El Mocambo, August 25. Tickets: $8.50. Attendance: 200. Rating: N

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