‘Speed Queen’ explores life of butch billionaire bon vivant Joe Carstairs

Who: Phoebe Legere stars as cross-dressing butch billionaire Betty “Joe” Carstairs
When: March 7 – 24, 2018
Where: Dixon Place 161A Chrystie St. New York, NY 10002

Joe Carstairs, heir to the Standard Oil fortune, loved engineering, speed, and stiff competition; but above all, Joe loved women. Joe Carstairs broke the world speed record for motorboat racing in 1926.

Legere, a musical and performance art virtuoso, brings kinky billionaire ‘Joe’ Carstairs to life in this vibrant solo show. In addition, Legere portrays several of Carstair’s glamorous movie star lovers including Tallulah Bankhead, Marlene Dietrich, Garbo and Mabel Mercer.

At the height of her fame, Joe sailed away from the glare of publicity. She entertained the Jet Set on her own, private, Lesbian Island in the Bahamas.

“Speed Queen” is a sensual, intoxicating LGBTQ play that uncovers deep truths about the moments that define us, the women who shape us, and the ache of love that can last a lifetime.

This is a 70-minute play that will include: immersive lesbian films, songs, dances, spectacular special effects and intimate portraits of Joe’s girlfriends: Marlene Dietrich, Tallulah Bankhead, Greta Garbo, Mabel Mercer, Billie Holiday and Dolly Wilde. At the center of the story is gay pioneer Joe Carstairs.

Phoebe Legere is an Acadian-Abenaki performance artist, author, multi-instrumentalist, artist, and community organizer​​. She is a Juilliard-trained composer who underlines her philosophical and social message with music, text, movement, image and dance.Legere began her career as Resident Composer at the Wooster Group.

She has had numerous academic appointments including Resident Artist at the School of Visual Arts where, in 2003, she invented a musical instrument, the Sneakers of Samothrace, a wearable computer for disabled children. Phoebe Legere sang with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, debuted at Carnegie Hall as a composer, and has played with classical ensembles all over the world. She wrote an epic poem called The Waterclown about water issues and water rights which she sang with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony.

Legere’s work,(with music co-composed by Morgan Powell) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2001.Legere received a NYSCA grant to write The Queen of New England, an experimental multimedia opera about the Massachusetts Native American Holocaust. The opera, produced by Roulette Intermedium in 2002, featured eleven Native Americans and four classical musicians. In 2004, Legere revived her 1992 political play with music: Hello Mme. President about the first female President of Color.

The original cast included Rock n Roll Hall of Fame great, LaVerne Baker, with Phoebe Legere playing the First Partner. In 2013 Legere created an alternative fuel vehicle, a giant Eagle puppet entirely made out of junk. She rode it around Northern California, doing performances on the solar stage, teaching school children about the environment.

The SHAMANCYCLE was the subject of her 2015 film The Shamancycle Story. Legere has recorded seventeen albums. She shoots, directs and edits her own videos. Her video for her award-winning song Marilyn Monroe.was seen by David Bowie. He invited her to open for him on his 1991 National Sound and Vision Tour. Legere’s 2017 album Heart of Love went to #18 on the National Roots chart. She has had over a million views of her videos on Youtube.

A walker between worlds, Phoebe Legere is both a Native American and a Mayflower descendent, a Vassar Graduate and New York street kid; she’s both male and female, funny and serious, mad and maddeningly sane. Legere, signed as a teen to Epic Records, has, throughout her career been a vital part of the downtown-avant garde music and art world.

Phoebe Legere was Head Writer and Host of the Roulette TV, a show about the experimental art and music. She is an Acker Award Winner and MC of the annual Acker Awards. She has recorded for Mercury Records in England and Epic, Island, Rizzoli, Funtone, ESP Disk and Einstein records in the United States.Legere is a prolific painter whose works are held in major museums and collections around the world including the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.

She has performed and exhibited all over the world, from Art Basel to the Venice Biennale. A student of Larry Rivers, Hunter S. Thompson, Morton Subotnick and John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet, Legere is now learning from the children of low-income communities. In 2006 Legere formed the New York Underground Museum and in 2014 she broadened the mission to bring art and music to underserved children at her 501(c)3 entity Foundation for New American Art.

Learn more on Phoebe’s website.

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