American Realness

M. Lamar


Wednesday, January 13, 5:30pm
Thursday, January 14, 8:30pm
Saturday, January 16, 10:00pm

Run Time: 70 minutes

Abrons Arts Center, Underground Theater
466 Grand Street / Tickets $20

Single Tickets Festival Pass

DESTRUCTION is a song of mourning for what Antony Paul Farley calls “the motionless movement of death through slavery, segregation and neo-segregation.” Drawing on themes of apocalypse, end times, and rapture found in Negro Spirituals, the work explores radical historical expressions, and invokes long held and continued calls to end our white supremacist world order. DESTRUCTION is a futuristic salvaging of the negro spirit destroyed in the flames of the western world.

Photo by Serena Jara

Destruction by M. Lamar
Sound Design by Hunter Hunt-Hendrix
Art Direction by Sabin Michael Calvert
Libretto Cowriter Tucker Culbertson

M. Lamar works across opera, metal, performance, video, and sculpture to craft sprawling narratives of racial and sexual transformation. Mr. Lamar is a self described Negrogothic Devil worshipping free black man in the blues tradition. Lamar holds a BFA from The San Francisco Art Institute and attended the Yale School of Art, sculpture program, before dropping out to pursue music. Lamar’s work has been presented internationally, most recently at PS1 New York, Human Resources Los Angeles, Walter and McBean Galleries at the San Francisco Art Institute, Participant Inc., New York; New Museum, New York; Södra Teatern, Stockholm; Warehouse9, Copenhagen; WWDIS Fest, Gothenburg and Stockholm; The International Theater Festival, Donzdorf, Germany; Cathedral of Saint John the Divine,

Sabin Michael Calvert is a comics artist and long time collaborator of M. Lamar. He has been instrumental in the visual design and direction of M. Lamar’s stage work as well as albums art and overall aesthetic. Calvert has help to mold Lamar’s Negrogothic aesthetics drawing from underground black metal/punk/comic styles. Mr. Calvert has served as Art director for M. Lamar’s staged productions of Negro Antichrist, Speculum Orum: Shackled to the Dead, Surveillance Punishment and The Black Psyche as well as the forthcoming Funeral Doom Spiritual and DESTRUCTION.

With and for M. Lamar, Tucker Culbertson cowrote the librettos for DESTRUCTION and Funeral Doom Spiritual, and collaborated on staging and story for Negro Antichrist and Surveillance Punishment and the Black Psyche.  Tucker talks, writes, studies, teaches, directs and performs in a few incommensurable voices and spaces.  He is currently a constitutional law professor at Syracuse University, where he’s currently focusing on the twisted kinship among white supremacy, national security, and state sovereignty as rationalizations of ritual violence.  His writings on queer equality, human animality, colorblind racisms, constitutional terrorism, and sexual predators’ proper liberties appear in academic journals, some blogs, and
two anthologies of critical legal theory.  

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix (b. 1985) is a composer-philosopher-poet known primarily as the author of the text “Transcendental Black Metal” and as the guitarist, songwriter and conceptual architect of the band Liturgy. Drawing inspiration from romanticism, the internet, black metal, avant-garde classical music, rap, post-structuralist psychoanalysis, and the history of western philosophy and occultism, he has performed extensively in the US and Europe, including at the Pitchfork, Primavera and Unsound festivals and at art spaces including Almine Rech, Essex Street, Greene Naftali, Museum of Modern Art and Issue Project Room. His 2015 album The Ark Work  has been widely recognized as polarizing and groundbreaking. He lives and works in New York.

“Mr. Lamar plumbs the depths of all-American trauma with visionary verve.”
– The New York Times

“Lamar’s Goth-postpunk-diva affect is fused with his operatic style to create a mélange that cannot be named.”

“M. Lamar, performs songs that are a cross stylistically between operatic excess, old-fashioned Negro spirituals and demonic possession.”
– Ottawa Citizen

“When talking about his art, Lamar is an intellectual powerhouse, but his work is informed by that thinking — not constrained by it. It is as emotional as it is thoughtful.”
– Out Magazine

“[H]e deconstructs the persona of the diva even as he wraps himself in divalike hauteur.”
– Hilton Als, The New Yorker