Picks and Pans Review: Ann Magnuson's Vandemonium
updated 06/22/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 06/22/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Like the prettiest girl or the coolest guy in high school, this show has a way of making a person feel instantly unhip. The show's star, Ann Magnuson, is a New York performance artist—that is, the kind of artist who doesn't paint paintings or sculpt sculpture but simply does things and calls that art. Magnuson does her things on video. She's good. She showed lots of imagination on PBS' Alive From Off Center. She exhibits bursts of talent again in this Comedy Experiment. But this show is wildly weird. Magnuson plays a biker's "ol'lady" who, on the way to a redneck-o-rama and wet T-shirt contest, finds herself inside a painting on the side of a van, where she meets Shirley MacLaine (also played by Magnuson), makes insider art jokes about Dali and Dada and then becomes a TV evangelist selling an aerobics record—an "exorcise album." Magnuson has lots of good gags but not much discipline—she's over the edge as much as she's on it.