Heather Gold Wants to Talk With You
Gay Place sits down and chats with the media/performance maven.
By Andy Campbell,
2:45PM, Sat. Mar. 14, 2009
After spending an hour talking with Heather Gold I feel certain about one thing, life is going to get better.
How else to describe a conversation that left me high and uplifted? I say conversation, because, although it was scheduled as an interview, it's what we did. We conversed. Plus, my notes were lacking, so I am going to attempt to recreate her vibe rather that futz around with "quotes." Also, we are going to catch her Interactive panel today at 3:30pm and hope to come away from that with a vlog we'll post tomorrow.
If you don't know Heather Gold's name then you should, whether you're queer or not. She's been described as "the turkey baster love child of Sarah Silverman and Rachel Maddow," but honestly, I'd add that there's a little bit of Bob Ross in there, too: Happy Trees! (she's supportive of your art!).
Austinites may be familiar with her, she birthed her one-woman show I Look Like an Egg, but I Identify as a Cookie partially in Austin. This was a performance in which she baked cookies for the audience while carrying on a variety of improvisational conversations. Yummers. Gold also hosted Austin Gay Pride events a few years back, and has lectured extensively. These days, she's developing a new show, I Didn't Know How Much I Loved You Until Ken Starr Filed to Divorce Us, about her recent marriage to her wife and the likely invalidation of said union.
I've never met a performer like her.
Instead of snark she prefers vulnerability. While Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are comedy all-stars in her opinion, she works to build spaces where diverse audiences are able to find and help themselves to a place at her table. It may seem like a sloppy thing to say, but her work is truly subversive. I'm not talking shock-tactics and agitprop aesthetics, but rather her ease at threading commonalities between different experiences, while maintaining a sense of humor that doesn't berate or belittle anyone, marks her as a unique voice in a world filled with just the opposite. She works a room like a DJ works a crowd, intuiting and sensing communal boundaries and gently breaking through them. Gold is a stand-up comedian but refuses to perform like one, preferring an organic conversation to develop instead of a 20-minute set. Her art is a curious amalgamation of improvisation, stand-up, performance art and self-help utopianism (that ain't a dirty word!).
She's deeper than Oprah (that's right I said it!) and has a set of wits equal to any major player on Comedy Central. I've drunk the kool-aid and I'm glad I did.
Like so many who are a part of SXSW Interactive, Heather Gold twitters (or is it tweets?), and is appealing to those who want to help her fund an Austin installment of her talk show, The Heather Gold Show, which will happen at the Plutopia 2009 Living Systems party on March 16 at the Palmer. If you can see her, I highly recommend you rearranging your Spring Break plans to do so, and if you can talk to her even better.