San Francisco is never short of creative people, but some — a handful — truly stand out for their ability to balance their sass with some class. Performance artist Monique Jenkinson is one of them.
Many know Jenkinson by her performance name, Fauxnique, her hypnotic drag persona and a creature whose work is often infused with intelligence and enough clever envelope-pushing to make audiences relish the brain candy she’s tossing their way.
“Luxury Items,” her new show — retooled from her sold-out fall offering — is one of those treats. It opens Thursday and runs through Feb. 21 at CounterPULSE in San Francisco.
In it, the performer strings together a number of colorful scenes on a topic most people can appreciate: luxury. She calls it “a meditation on and a questioning of the concepts of luxury and necessity” and it includes dance, spoken word and a few drag-ish moments.
Curiously, Jenkinson is the only biological female to win the Miss Trannyshack title in The City. (Yes. She’s that good.)
On a deeper level, “Luxury Items” touches on several struggles and conflicts.
“There’s a lot of concern now about where our stuff is coming from — who made it, what were the conditions under which it was made,” Jenkinson says, “and then there’s sort of that tension with whether we ‘want’ it. Hopefully, this show is a kind of artful, entertaining way of handling those quandaries.”
Some of Oscar Wilde’s work is incorporated into the piece and, interestingly, nuances of the “Bread and Roses” textile strike of 1912.
As for what seems to be her undying love for creating art, Jenkinson is the first to admit that a large portion of her bliss comes from “that moment of being onstage and connecting with an audience — it’s really one of my favorite moments of this work.”
“It sounds like a cliché, but there’s something magical in that you’re given a moment that will never be repeated again,” she says. “You get this live experience and it’s this chemistry that is really special. My goal, especially in the most political parts of this show, is to make it entertaining and sumptuous.”
If you go
Monique Jenkinson’s ‘Luxury Items’
Where: CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission St. (at Ninth Street), San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays, except 10 p.m. Feb. 20; closes Feb. 21