What’s Antony Got in the Bag?

Antony and the Johnsons

Antony and his handbag

As you may remember, last week I saw a highly amusing performance by Antony and the Johnsons at Town Hall. (Above are crappy photos of the band–I was too embarrased to snap any more pics during this quiet, seated event.) Part of my amusement with the event was because any time Antony came on or off of the stage he would tote along a handbag. I’m not sure why a performer would need to bring his/her handbag on- and off-stage with them…it’s not as if he/she was at a dinner party with lots of people he/she didn’t know and was afraid to leave his/her personal belongings in the host’s bedroom. I can’t even imagine why shoulder-wear would be necessary for a performance situation. All I know is that thing came and went with him wherever he was in the venue. Lord knows what is in there…Do you have any theories?

Other than the Handbag Incident, the show had other weird moments–like when Antony started bird calling the audience. No one was quite sure what to do…”Should we whistle back?,” I asked Matt. “I don’t know!!!,” he replied. Eventually someone else started whistling back, so I along with many others joined in.

Then there was the other part of the show where Antony asked us to all hum to create an atmosphere for the song he was going to sing…I can’t remember which song it was, in part because when Antony sings I can’t understand a damn word he’s saying.

All in all the event was gay-rific, but I still like Rufus Wainwright better.

8 thoughts on “What’s Antony Got in the Bag?”

  1. when i worked at joe’s pub, antony played there several times, and he always carried his purse onstage with him. not sure why. during one of the shows he also passed around a rare record (i forget which it was) around the audience. i think he likes audience participation.

    and to daniel josef…antony is a pretty big guy…yep.

  2. in every antony show i was lucky enough to see before he got so big (ok, famous – although he has certainly gotten larger in size) he always brought on his airline bag. and at some point in the show he’d stop and take things out that he said he brought from home, and give them away as gifts. i have an odd little book on apartheid published in s. africa in 1949 from him, from one of these shows. he also gave away a lot of records (including david niven in ‘around the world in 80 days) and photographs. he was, and is, unspeakably sweet. there’s no performer like him.

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