The Residents Ready For “World Premiere” at The Museum of Modern Art

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Premiering a multimedia art piece in New York City isn’t how most artists are kicking off 2020, but then again, when have The Residents ever been conventional? 

The avant garde rock group will premier a live video concert for their classic album “God in 3 Persons” at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art on Jan. 24 & 25, 2020.

President of the Cryptic Corporation Homer Flynn — the band’s public relations and management company — spoke about his excitement for the piece and the legacy of the 1988 album. 

“I can’t say how pleased I am that The Residents have this opportunity. I’m really looking forward to it,” Flynn said. “I hope that people can see The Residents on a slightly different level or through a slightly different lens.”

Since the creation of the Cryptic Corporation in 1976, Flynn witnessed The Residents push the boundaries of Western music with over sixty albums released since their debut in 1972. 

The fan favorite “God in 3 Persons” is no exception.

The album tells the story of Mr. X, who encounters a pair of allegedly magical genderfluid twins. Primarily sung in trochaic octameter — think of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” — the album indicated a shift for the group as internal conflicts within the band eased.

“I have to say it’s one of The Resident’s more personal albums. They were going through a lot of conflict at that time and not necessarily conflict within the group,” Flynn said. “By the time they got to “God In 3 Persons,” it’s almost like this was a really strong step away from that internal conflict.”

“God in 3 Persons” also pushed thematic boundaries by introducing a gender fluid character.

“I think that gender fluidity, which was kind of unheard of at the time as the album came out, was actually very timely,” Flynn said. 

The album never received a proper tour, but with the premiere of the live video concert at MoMa, fans will get to see the album presented in a way that wasn’t possible a couple decades ago. 

“The Residents always felt like of all of their projects this was one of the top two or three that really needed to be done — needed to be expanded beyond the album version. They just felt like there was a lot of potential from a visual point of view, and kind of a theatrical presentation point of view that, you know, a lot of territory had not been explored or could be pushed further.”

With help from fellow musicians and artists, The Residents are now bringing the classic album live to New York. 

Acclaimed video artist John Sanborn will tell the story of Mr. X through layered video projections as a seven piece ensemble led by The Residents provide musical accompaniment. Laurie Amat will reprise her role from the record with her chorus vocals. 

Additionally, Travis Chamberlain will direct while Joshua Raoul Brody will provide musical direction. Leigh Barbier will work on puppetry and stage design as Steve Sarporito handles production. Genderquuer porn star Jiz Lee stars as The Twins in Sanborn’s video production. 

Tickets for the performance go on sale starting Jan. 10 and Jan. 11 at www.moma.org

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