THE MANY FACES OF JILL PANGALLO

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SIDE-SPLITTING PERFORMANCE ARTIST, JILL PANGALLO ON HER PERSONAS, IMPROVISING AND HER TWO BRAZILIAN BUTT LIFTS.
TEXT Paul Bruno

 

 

DIRTY: WHERE WERE YOU BORN?  IS THAT WHERE YOU GREW UP?

JILL PANGALLO: I was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Grew up: Annapolis, Newport, Ventura, Annapolis, Coronado (in that order).

 

D: DO YOU HAVE ANY SIBLINGS?

JP: Yes. One sister who used to pull my hair out when we were little. I didn’t want to tattle on her, so when my mom took me to the doctor to find out why patches of my hair were missing I told them I didn’t know and they diagnosed me with night terrors. This behavior has since ceased…my sister pulling my hair out…not me not tattling on my sister.

 

D: WERE YOU A HAM GROWING UP?

JP: I used to do Jimmy Carter impersonations for my family – I watched a lot of SNL – and frequently re-staged the scene from Gypsy where the 3 experienced “dancers” sing to Louise about coming up with a schtick. Does that make me a ham or desperate for attention?

 

D: WHERE DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE?  WHAT DID YOU STUDY?

JP: I left High School a year early because I was about to explode and my teenage self needed to get away from Southern California with all the sunshine and ‘rexias (an, tan, man, etc). Spent a year at BU doing hair shows on Lansdowne before deciding that Boston wasn’t big enough for this 17-year-old! Headed to NYC to study at Parsons and Eugene Lang, where I double majored in Communication Design and Psychology. Took my junior year out at Otis (in LA) when it was still Otis-Parsons.

 

D: DO YOU HAVE A 9-5?

JP: I am a handmaiden.

 

D: IS YOUR WORK SCRIPTED OR MORE IMPROVISED?

JP: There are pre-scripted, major, narrative bullet points, but with most of my solo work letting it flow, improvisationally speaking, yields a more natural product.

 

D: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR?

JP: Happy-Sad. With a special focus on the Sad.

 

D: WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LIKE?  HOW DO YOU ‘DEVELOP’ YOUR PERSONAS?

JP: I take aspects of my own personality, remix it, add a little bit of field observation, remix it again, then blow the whole thing up on a copier anywhere between 120% – 400%

 

D: WHO IS NATIA?

JP: Someone who compulsively seeks escape from the disomfort she feels in the form of her own made-up religion. The religion itself is an uninformed mix of self-help, mysticism, magic, movement, and new age techniques. For all her commitedness, Natia has a constant influx of community and support, both emotional and monetary. She’s no different than any addict, but I wouldn’t say this addiction will hurt her in any way other than preventing her from ever finding out the real reasons for her uncomfortableness – it just masks her pain, like drugs.
 


 

D: HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR YOUR RENAISSANCE SUPERHERO CHARACTER?

JP: Era Silva was initially costume driven. My friend Steven and I came across the green and gold unitard in an Atlanta thrift store on the way to a farm weekend with our friends. I performed in it a couple times before deciding I should wear it to the Tuxedo, NY Renaissance Faire. During my initial outing in 2003 had the unexpected experience of being rejected by most of the inner Ren community, something I didn’t expect. The costume has that nubby, barely stretchy feel of a vintage leotard, the kind your mom wore for exercising in the 70’s. I made some faux-leather, curl-toed booties at some point, but they made me look more Elfin than Super. Making shoes is really difficult.
 


 

D: TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ‘NIGHT OF 1,000 STEVIES’.

JP: An Old Skool NYC holdout… “1,000” is poetic license, but there are definitely several hundred freaks, geeks, and chics dekked out in their best interpretation of Ms. Nicks. The show, in three separate sets, primarily features drag acts, with some more unpredictable stuff (like my and Cathy’s act, the HoHos) thrown in for good measure. My favorite is getting a load of all the sincere Stevie fans (of which I am one) getting a load of the whole thing. They’re simultaneously ecstatic and repulsed. It’s happening for the 20th time this Friday, the 14th, and I highly recommend attending – just break out your best velvet and baby’s breath thong and come on down to the Highline. The HoHos go on at midnight.

 

D: HAVE YOU SEEN ‘THE COMEBACK’ BY AND STARRING LISA KUDROW?  I THINK IT’S RIGHT UP YOUR ALLEY.

JP: A curse on those “people in charge” who thought it was a good idea to cancel that show. Way to take a poop on Lisa Kudrow’s amazing talent and the Hair Arts Industry, in general. I miss you Mickey Deane. Most everyone I know whose sense of humor I get, loved that show.

 

D: YOUR LAST SHOW “NOTHING TO DISPLAY” DEALT A LOT WITH COMMUNICATION THRU ELECTRONIC MEDIA.   WHAT WERE YOU COMMENTING ON / TRYING TO SAY VIA THIS THEME?

JP: “I am lonely here in My Hole™ and, at the same time, too afraid and irritated to pick up the telephone, let alone, see you in person.”

 

D: WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR CREATIVE INSPIRATIONS?

JP: My cat Vinny. Carol Burnett. John Waters. Kate Bush.  Hazel O’Connor. Mike Albo. Lily Tomlin. Early Whoopi Goldberg. Justin Bond. Fantasy Island. Anything with a runaway (either the musicians or a child who has left home) and tube socks.

 

 

D: WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO THESE DAYS?

JP: Lately I’m liking the art/music hybrids like ‘We Are The World.’ I dig their look: sort of a Holy Mountain/Boy George mesh with lots of pantyhose on the face. I am a sucker for this pantyhose on the face trend. Also revisiting ‘This Mortal Coil’ in anticipation of our new dance trio, This Mortal Voguing, in which we – duh – vogue to TMC songs. Also a band called ‘Baby Alpaca’ who I saw recently…I like that lead singer’s voice, kinda Marc Almond-y, and looks-wise he really does evoke a young alpaca.

 

D: DO YOU WATCH ANY TELEVISION?

JP: Yes. Some days I feel better about it than others. Good: PBS dinner date with my boo. Bad: Compulsively watching a whole season of {insert Netflix rental here} in one day. I tell myself it’s research.

 

D: TELL ME SOMETHING NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT YOU.

JP: I’ve had two Brazilian Butt Lifts – the first one didn’t take.

 

 

JILLPANGALLO.COM

 

 

 






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