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Arts and Entertainment

Taylor Mac Brings Extravagant, Witty Crash Course In Pop Music To UCLA

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A performance from the illustrious Taylor Mac at UCLA will take us through years of American music. Musician, writer and actor Taylor Mac has quite a performance coming up: Mac (who prefers to use the pronoun "judy" as opposed to "he" or "she") will be performing at UCLA on March 12. If you've never seen Mac, prepare yourself for an extravagant show that marries musical theater, performance art, drag, comedy and social commentary.

This year is America's 240th birthday, so Mac has taken each decade and put together an hour's worth of music for each, calling the show A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. The work begins in the 1770s and carries on through the 2010s. Though Mac intends to eventually tackle the full 24-hour performance, the show at UCLA will be just a segment from the 20th century. Mac has been performing pieces of the entire show across the country, telling L.A. Magazine that judy just did 1956-1986 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

In addition to cuts of music from the periods, Mac also draws upon what was going on during these years while putting an individual twist on each number.

Mac told L.A. Magazine:

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To do these songs and to sing a Bruce Springsteen song and be a raging queer while doing it—that's enough in some ways. It reframes the history and puts me in it. To do Gimme Shelter, and to frame it like it's just a shot away, and to talk about Marshall P. Johnson, and throwing the shot glass against a mirror at Stonewall—to take a hetero-normative song and make it a gay liberation doesn't happen too much. Despite the arguments of historians, we exist and find our way into it.

Each performance has an over-the-top costume created by Machine Dazzle, who has collaborated with Mac for many years. The UCLA show will also feature special guest Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles.

Here's Mac performing "Ziggy Stardust," followed by trailers for other segments of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music.

Taylor Mac performs 24-Decade History of Popular Music at UCLA's Royce Hall on Saturday, March 12 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $19 to $39, $25 for staff, $15 for students.