If you’re in Los Angeles, don’t miss this very brief exhibition by two young female artists who are going to be very, very big.
As I understand it, the two teenage girls who create art under the name “SWEATERQUEENS” met when they both took summer jobs working at the same Simi Valley Dairy Queen. (For those of you who don’t know what a Dairy Queen is, a “DQ” is the soft-serve ice cream-like restaurant chain where Parker Posey’s character worked in the film, “Waiting For Guffman.”)
The girls would take breaks at the same time, when they would smoke cigarettes, practice French kissing and show one another their drawings. A few weeks later, Tom C., a 20-something guy also started working at the Dairy Queen. According to reports, Tom listened to classic goth, dark wave and electro music, sported an asymmetrical two-tone haircut and only wore acid washed Guess jeans from the mid-80s that he found in dead stock.
The girls quickly developed crushes on Tom C. and started to make sketches and drawings of him, his hair covering one eye, in various tableaux around the DQ. One day, a guy in his late 20s, styled similarly to Tom, visited Tom at the DQ when he and the two girls were working the same shift. Tom gave his friend a banana split to take with him, and in return, the young man kissed Tom C. on the mouth. The girls, standing next to a deep fryer filled with sizzling oil and french fries, were stunnned as they watched the men kiss, their tongues prodding around each other’s mouth.
Tom C., unaware that the girls were behind him, turned and saw their faces. “What…you didn’t know that I was a gay?? That’s my boyfriend, Ricky.” “Fuck you, Tom….dammit!!” one of the girls replied, stomping through the rear employee entrance of the Dairy Queen. The other girl said to Tom, “I think homos are cool. I wish I was a homo. I mean, I already like boys and stuff. But doesn’t it hurt to like….take it up your….um….poo-hole?”
Later that night, Tom, Ricky and the two girls got drunk on shots of E & J Brandy. The girls grilled Tom and Ricky on what it was like to be practicing homosexuals. Tom and Ricky could barely keep up with all of their questions. “What’s a boner feel like….you know…like when you have one?” “Do you want to be a drag queen even if most of them look like big ugly girls with butt ugly faces?” and “How could you guys be so stupid as to pick the rainbow to be your logo or symbol or whatevs. I mean, that’s like soooo gay.”
Cut to the birth of the SWEATERQUEENS. With Tom C. and Ricky (Tom’s now EX-boyfriend) as their muses & guides, the girls were transported away from Simi Valley (in Ricky’s Mazda Miata, as Tom had 2 DUI offenses against him) to learn all about The Gays, editorializing all they way. With fake IDs in hand, they ran through West Hollywood bars, surprised at the bland cloneage in clothing and music. (“Barf out, another Mariah Carey song….sick! These queens are dorkos!”) They met male prostitutes in the middle of the night on Santa Monica Blvd. (“You’re cute but how’d you lose so many teeth?” “Crystal? What’s that?”) And on one of their fondest adventures, they saw Jackie Beat perform live. (“Fuck, she’s so cool!” “I love her boots.” “I love her boobs!!” “Those aren’t real boobs.” “Huh?? Wait, are those boobs or is like her belly kinda shoved up into tits??” “Damn, she sweats a lot” “Wish I had like..a beach towel to give her….” “Tom, drag queens really sing? What’s the deal? She’s like really singing and it’s kinda good.”)
The girls devoured whatver they observed, were told, imagined, smoked and snorted. With colored pencils, colored paper, a broken typewriter, fashion magazines and X-acto blades, their work trained a keen and critical eye on “The Gays.” Their rainbows. Their perverse interest in fashion (yet wearing crap clothes to bars). Their drugs. Their secrets. Their revolving door policy in regards to sexual partners. Their equal obsession with “Dollar Drafts” and with penis length (specifically, with adding anywhere from 2.25 to 4.75 inches to how long their penis actually was).
I recently heard that they have a new mission and that is: to “out” all of the gays who aren’t yet out, “like…just ’cause. So you’re a gay….get over it. And buy our shit. You got the money. Whatevs. Being on the down low is super gay.”
WOWtv Storefront Gallery
6650 Hollywood Blvd. (at the SE corner of Cherokee and Hollywood)
17 – 22 August, 2007
Courtesy of Nancy Regan Projects