What does the all-American woman look like? Does a blonde girl come to mind? Is she white? Is she smiling? Is there a dynamic element to her posture, perhaps as if she’s standing near a wind machine? “Monday Night” developed out of my search for the natural Blonde. I realized that my questions about blondness weren’t a matter of real vs. fake, but a dialogue between “real” and “natural.” Marilyn Monroe is a real blonde. In fact, she is probably the realest blonde in contemporary history, leading the cultural space once occupied by Cinderella, Barbie and Goldilocks. The natural state of her hair color is a non-issue in the context of our collective imagination. I believe that this material is accessed by individuals the world over and used as a kind of sympathetic magic. Indeed, Marilyn is necessarily a realer blonde than even Grace Kelly (a Natural one), emphasizing body modification as its own specific language.
For the performance of “Monday Night,” ten women were cast to perform blondeness. They stood on a small platform wearing a costume of a white Tyvek® suit and clear safety goggles. Wind machines positioned at the four corners of the platform aided the movement of the performers. Each woman was asked to imagine an orgasmic shampoo commercial as an action prompt along with the spirited choreography of National Football League cheerleaders. I composed the accompanying soundtrack using elements of the Monday Night Football theme “Heavy Action” and marching band percussion exercises. At the completion of the soundtrack the performers removed the white suits, which covered their street clothing and exited the performance space.
The inevitable question posed in “Monday Night” is: couldn’t I, as a black woman, be a real blonde? Documentation of the performance offered the opportunity to utilize the performers as proxies, multiplying and magnifying my own performance of blondeness. I donned a straight textured wig and, in front of a green screen, danced to the audio track I composed. Then I superimposed my dancing silhouette onto the documentary footage of the ten blondes, filling my form with a magnified video of the original performance.