Or Is It?
In an NYT article that I finally finished reading during this vacation, I learned about the new art scene in Tel Aviv, including a number of female artists.
The article stated, "...Israeli art has found its feet. Once given to a certain histrionic expressionism, it has suddenly acquired something else: a sense of humor."
Yael Bartana's "Kings of the Hill," I would agree, is pretty funny -- at least as much as I watched of it.
Sigalit Landau's "DeadSee," where the artist is floating naked, in profile, among a mass of watermelons atop the Dead Sea is startling and beautiful, if not funny...though it sounds funny, doesn't it?
If It's on YouTube, It Must Be Funny, Right?
Yesterday, I also caught up on an article from a back-issue of "Curve," which was a feature on lesbian comedians. (I almost wrote, "comediennes," but that sounds retro to me, like "Jewess." I am a Jew, not a Jewess.)
Here's the anti-climax: I spent a long time on YouTube between yesterday and today, checking out the humor of the women who were mentioned and for whom there were clips and wished they didn't swear so much, and that they made me laugh aloud more so. Someone had posted a bit by Suzanne Westenhoefer on Animals, which amused me, since we have two cats. And Bridget McManus was funny to me as well; she reminded me of Jennifer Saunders because she was pretty *and* funny.
Historically, Sandra Bernhard, Lea Delaria and Margaret Cho, who I see as more queer-friendly than queer herself, have always made me laugh the hardest, even as their material could be extra-raw.
Note: Added on New Year's Day, 2009: Jessica Halem, a comic I met when she directed the LCCP, also makes me smile broadly and nod my head and feel represented, i.e., what she's observing aloud -- that's so true; I just found Jessica on Twitter.
The comedian who made me laugh aloud more than any during my humor hunt of the past day was Anita Renfroe, an evangelical, suburban mom (with a husband). Her parody of Faith Hill's "Breathe" cracked me up.
Earlier this year, I first heard of Anita Renfroe in a Sunday "New York Times" magazine profile. There had to be a trial in one's life, I think, to enable one to be a great artist. It also didn't hurt to come from a geographically, if not sociologically, marginal place; according to the NYT profile, Anita Renfroe grew up in a small town in Texas and her dad left when she was two.
Israeli artist Sigalit Landau's statement in the other NYT article also made sense:
"When you are always at the center, you live in a valley," Landau said. She was talking about New York, where she studied at Cooper Union. "When you live on the periphery, you're on a mountain. It gives you perspective."