Monotrona | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Monotrona 

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The woman behind Monotrona is best known as Jodie Mecanic, a key figure in the early-90s Wicker Park no-wave scene. She and Quintron founded the underground art-damage venue Milk of Burgundy in the Flat Iron Building in 1990, and the two of them were core members of the junk-contraption band Math. When Math broke up in 1994, Mecanic and Michigander Rikkeh Suhtn (now of X27) got together as Duotron, a spastic duo (duh) that combined unstable rhythms and guitar racket. Mecanic also formed Dot Dot Dot, a bleating estrogen holocaust of a band, with the Scissor Girls' Kelly Kuvo and enigma Zeek Sheck. Both outfits broke up when Mecanic moved to Portland, Oregon, where she founded the Poop Parlor, a combination social club and venue that issued membership cards, and introduced her electronic solo act Monotrona, in which she sings in a a vaguely Asian accent about seven quasi-deities she calls "superbeings." Her characters live in the "supersphere" (yes, that's where the defunct dot-com got its name) and occasionally interact with humans, "watching us, reading us, laughing, and stealing." Sometimes Mecanic belts the lyrics almost heroically and sometimes she excretes high-pitched syllables like a schoolgirl; her hyper synth comping sounds like the sound track to a chaotic video game. When she performed last year at 6Odum she wore a red superhero outfit complete with cape and fake muscles, but for a recent show in New York, her current hometown, she donned an all-white nun/ice-queen getup, so maybe the various superbeings each get their chance to serve as Monotrona's mouthpiece. It's impossible to decipher whether Mecanic thinks the doings of her beings are good or evil, but it sure is fun to watch a grown woman dress up and dance around in an elaborate miniature cardboard city. Saturday, December 8, 9 PM, Heaven Gallery, 1550 N. Milwaukee; 773-342-4597.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jocelyn Shipley.

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