See Taylor Mac Sing Radical, Queer ‘Amazing Grace’ in San Francisco’s Streets
After Taylor Mac’s marathon performance A 24-Decade History of Popular Music in Brooklyn last year, the New York Times‘ Wesley Morris called it “one of the great experiences of my life.” The groundbreaking art concert is Mac’s subjective history of the United States told through 246 songs – everything from World War I ditties to The Mikado to a mash-up of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” and Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” – told with the help of radical drag queens and other special guests.
To preview the new production at the Curran in San Francisco (taking place September 15th – 24th), Mac has released a gorgeous video of him singing “Amazing Grace” while prancing through the streets of San Francisco in full radical faerie regalia that showcases costume designer Machine Dazzle’s outrageous creations.
“In the show, I use ‘Amazing Grace’ as a way to talk about how, during the performance, we’re not going to worship the creator but the act of creation, we won’t worship the artist but the making of the art, and we won’t worship the noun but the verb,” Mac tells Rolling Stone. “It’s my way of using an iconic religious song in a subversive and more inclusive way. Plus it’s fun to sing it in a minor key. One of the first AIDS actions in San Francisco, in the Eighties, was the catalyst for the entire work, so it’s especially fun that we filmed this in San Francisco and are bringing the entire show to the Curran this September.”
A 24-Decade History of Popular Music recently won the 2017 Edward M. Kennedy Award for Drama Inspired by American History and was a 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama. For this updated production, it has been reworked into four six-hour Chapters that will be performed at the Curran. It will later be performed in an abridged version on September 27th at Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall.