by Sara Gaddis
You might know Killy Dwyer. You might’ve seen her on stage, crooning sweetly into a microphone while birthing a babydoll from her fishnets, or maybe pulling a diva move on her band, Kill The Band, and firing them all during the show? Perhaps you may have seen her leading that group of surly gorillas through your neighborhood? Maybe you saw her last Friday, caped and being chased by an angry group of tourists across the Brooklyn Bridge Park boardwalk? That’s where I last saw her, and it was pretty goddamn terrific.
There was a small group of extras including saxophonist/photographer/Renaissance man Blair Frowner and premiere confectionist Debby Bell. A two-man camera crew was made up of her husband, Craig, and his longtime friend, Jae. Killy roped more strangers into playing with every shot, her bright red cape and shiny mental patient’s pigtails being hard to resist. The visitors to Brooklyn Bridge Park got a hell of a show, and two ladies eating ice cream made a giddy cameo behind the singing, lock-stepping mass of friends and Killy fans. There was an abundance of orthodox Jews at the boardwalk that day, and a tiny little yarmulke-clad boy chased after us, his ear locks bouncing. Killy’s antics couldn’t be less orthodox anything, except, perhaps, orthodox Super-Killy
The camera work was simple, a fact that seemed to annoy Killy at times, and occasionally she threatened her husband, half-jokingly, with divorce or various forms of bodily harm. Nonetheless, love abounded, marital and otherwise. Killy acted as both talent and talent wrangler, mostly wrangling herself, but quieting the extras and performing the chorus several times until we got it somewhat right. “We’ll fix it in post, guys, don’t worry about it.”
There was one late-comer to the group, who arrived wearing what looked like white pancake make-up and a feathered scarf, with hair bleached into a state I can only liken to a late-season dandelion. No one ever got her name, and from the moment she got there, she was saying she had to leave. Despite this, she rode with the group to the next shooting location, sitting on Killy’s lap and ducking at traffic lights. I naturally assumed that someone, anyone, knew who the hell this woman was.
I want to take a moment here and talk about appropriate conversation topics to broach with strangers. The weather, yes. Neighborhood minutiae, your favorite Debby Bell recipe or your preferred pet gender and why dogjunk is intolerable (maybe that’s just me). I can pretty much guarantee that adamantly insisting that Osama bin Laden has been dead for four years is not easy, happy stranger-conversation. Regardless, this is what this white stranger muttered about in a low, insistent monotone, disregarding anyone’s comments. Suffice to say, Killy’s great at easing awkward silences, while I find them simply hilarious.
More hilarious, however, was the general reaction at the second shoot: Killy’s own neighborhood. The workmen at the place across the street already knew her as Lady Gaga and as we walked to the subway entrance, Killy waved and greeted her neighbors. It’s funny though, in New York, people can get used to almost anything, especially if there’s a camera pointed at it. Almost anything, that is, but blocking the subway entrance in any incremental way, as comedian Jon Savoy and I learned in rude, living color. A woman clad in knee socks and high-waisted shorts, hefting a package above her head and yelling “It’s a bomb!” will only get a few minutes of attention before New Yorkers push past her and return to their regularly scheduled commute.
Finally, we got to the last shot of the day: the chorus! Debby, Jon and I are kept around for a small, slightly choreographed number. Jon and I were “Team Say Something”, while Debby and Jae were “Team See Something”. There was some friction between Killy and Craig over which side of the subway to shoot from, but despite some yelling and umbrella banging, there are smiles all around when we (the extras, at least) wrap for the day. Due to costume misplacement, Killy needed my distinctive glasses for her Clark-Kent get-up, and thus, I required Debby Bell’s guidance through the crosswalks and stoplights between us and the bar where everyone else was waiting.
Everyone re-convened at Project Parlor for after-shoot drinks and dinner. It was perfect timing: Happy hour! The airy back garden was perfect for the smokers in the group, and we settled in, discussing the decline of the feminine throughout the history of time, due to the introduction of written language (seriously), until finally, Killy and crew returned! A tab was set up and we ordered pizza… twice, much to everyone’s frustration. “I’d been drinking like I’d be eating soon!”
Killy Dwyer is a mockstar, and if you don’t like it, she’ll wrap your ass up like a present, and drop you into the East River, motherfucker.
- See Killy and comapny kill at Alter Ego on the 3rd Sunday of every month at Fontanas Bar NYC 105 Eldridge ($5).
Sara Gaddis is a writer and performer based in NYC. She’s currently finding her burlesque feathers throughout the East Village, and will debut at the Trachtenburg Variety Show on May 25th, to seduce her favorite Irish gentleman, as well as any other funnyman that comes her way. Until then, you can read her blog at http://saragyall.blogspot.com/ or contact her at email@example.com.