Smile Politely

My Brightest Diamond’s Extravagant Creatures

My Brightest Diamond

For her next show, My Brightest Diamond deserves magma. A seething, furious pit of the stuff. She would stand howling at its brink while an audience of cro-magnons huddled emaciated and terrified in their caves.

Last night she got Krannert Art Museum and an audience modernities away from the ancient and capricious universe she conjures.

Her show was ostensibly a solo set. Which meant artist Shara Worden was joined only by the cast of extravagant creatures she channels.

Shara left her body and let those characters run the show. Mostly she was a maddened elf that flashed gleeful grins when the music was darkest. Though that trickster was often elbowed aside by a stamping, yodelling seer.

More striking was Shara the storyteller. For five minutes straight that crone presided, crinkling fingers at the audience while spinning tales of wayward winds and doomed sailors, (sound effects included).

Shara had a love-indifference relationship with the audience. There were singalongs and jokes. When static came through the PA she started mumbling “Ground Control to Major Tom,” eventually drawing it out to a sublime mini-number, though before that she disappeared entirely. Walking her solo to the back of the stage, following a sound that was for her alone.

Toward the end she drew ominous and uncomfortable chords from an organ. As the sickly tension built she pulled out a single white balloon and puffed it sadistically. Was she going to squeal its opening into the mike? What nightmares if it popped? What beautiful, grotesque vaudeville! She ended up tying it off and bopping it towards a relieved audience.

After the show, Shara became herself and chatted long and amicably with fans. Which was an opportunity afforded by the intimate and tonal venue the Krannert Art Museum miraculously provided. I hope Pygmalion continues booking there, though credit should be given to sound work by Mingram.

There were other performances there last night.

Brooke Waggoner, through virtuosic synth work, managed to back her vocals with a cosmic string orchestra.
Before and after Shara’s set, Denison Witmer and William Fitzsimmons sang sweet and mournful over descending chords.

It was all well and good, but come morning I thought only of My Brightest Diamond, and the dying tradition of earnest, inhabited performances her work represents.

Bottom photo by Cody Bralts.

Related Articles