Afterglow Festival

Tammy Faye Starlite

Tammy Lang a/k/a Tammy Faye Starlite has come to be one of the brightest stars in the Downtown New York scene. The always peripatetic Tammy maintains a busy schedule of performances, guest appearances and benefits, not only in Manhattan but around the country with appearances in LA, Palm Springs, Chicago, St Louis, Pittsburgh as well as the farthest reaches of New Jersey and New Hampshire. She’s been a girl on the go-go since her soap opera days when she was a regular on The Guiding light portraying one of two “wacky maids.” Allison Janney was the other one.

She later came up with the Tammy Faye Starlite character, a chipper yet bitter country music singer whose reactionary rantings and authentically convincing Partonesque vocals made for sophisticated satire of the highest — or lowest — order. Her jaw-dropping repertoire included such ersatz country classics as “God Has Lodged A Tenant In My Uterus” and “Did I Shave My Vagina For This?” among other campfire favorites. Against all odds, the act was accepted not only in New York and LA but also in Nashville where her sold-out performances both scandalized and thrilled club goers. Her following in Music City grew exponentially to the point where the fire marshal had to be called on at least one occasion.

In recent times, her startling feats of musical reincarnation she has created a new kind of cabaret. Equally gifted as an actor and singer, Lang deep-dives into the vaults of art-pop-rock-whatever and returns clutching buried treasures. In Nico: Underground— her bio-show, as it might be called – she brings back the late Velvet Underground icon in all of her fuzzed-out, deadpan glory. With mentions of Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Jackson Brown, John Cale and Andy Warhol, she animates the character providing both historical context and up to the minute contemporary references.

With Cabaret Marianne, Lang salutes Marianne Faithfull one of the great, straight-talking divas of modern pop music, another foreboding yet tragically vulnerable blonde icon of the 1960s. She pays homage by performing a singular repertoire that is bitingly and world weary while commenting on the continuing downward spiral of the culture. Both portrayals are much more than mere concert tributes; she possesses these real life characters provides with spiky monologues woven between songs that have had audiences alternately laughing and gasping. Nico and Faithfull were women committed to following their own rocky paths. They stood for a bruising new vision of love and other let downs. Now, thanks to Lang, they stand before us once again.