Edith Raw Reflects on Performing for Eastside vs Westside Manhattanites

Art in Odd Places: Edith Raw "White Trash"

Edith Raw performed her piece “White Trash” during this year’s Art in Odd Places festival in October and she recently commented on this blog about her experience walking across 14th Street in full regalia. What is really interesting is how eastsiders & westsiders differed in their response to her performance work.

Hrag: Any interesting experiences during your journey down 14th Street?

Edith Raw: Well, yes, since you’ve asked…..interesting? Maybe more revealing as to the cultural temperature of NYC in 2008.

As I was in performance mode, coquettishly mingling and not slashing the crowds to get somewhere, I had time to note the obvious differences between east and west siders.

East siders generally felt the Carnivale aspect of “White Trash“….they seemed to immediately relate to the piece and understood the political nature of it even if they couldn’t yet articulate it completely. I fell in love with the juicy ladies who came careening out of a beauty shop with curlers in their hair and plastic around their shoulders, pleading, “Wait! Wait! Can I take your picture?”

West siders, on the other hand, tended to be as subdued and suspicious as a gray Furstenberg wrap dress, as if I were reminding them of something they wanted to forget yet was unrelenting and lurking inside them…almost recoiling from that which might overtake. A woman outside one of the boutiques in that area claimed White Trash was beautiful but very disturbing…so, in their way, they also understood it. Only one pissy encounter where a man roared in my ear, “Get a LIFE!” Our favorite response was a young man throwing a paper soda cup onto the train. Yes!

My friend, Marea and I will be editing the film soon…if you are interested in the final piece, I will keep you posted.

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