Have you ever been compared to someone? Sometimes is a huge compliment, sometimes a backhanded one. To Taylor Mac, when someone said ‘Wow, you must have been influenced by Lady Gaga,’ it was not a compliment. “I’m a little bit older than her…” Mac says, and he’s been donning sparkly non-sense long before her antics hit the stage.
Contrasting two performance artists is also nothing new. Comparison is Violence: The Ziggy Stardust Meets Tiny Tim Songbook is part monologue, part concert, with selected music from each artist. Because Taylor Mac wears sparkly make up on his face, he’s been compared to David Bowie’s alter-persona Ziggy Stardust. Because she plays a mean ukelele, much like Tiny Tim, fans have compared Mac to him as well.
We compare people to help others understand something or someone they do not know personally, and giving them a context through comparison can be very helpful to gain a superficial understanding. But does it really benefit them?
Taylor Mac says no. I tend to agree. We are each our own person, and having someone reduce one to a stereotype or a comparison doesn’t do justice to the uniqueness we each have inside.
I highly recommend you wear sparkly things to see Mac perform. She likes that best. Have a cup of coffee before, as the show can go late, and bring your sense of humor.
And whatever you do, DON’T call Taylor Mac a “Niche Performer”!