An Evening of Experimental Music with Sweetness & The Christian Endeavors, Handmaiden America, and Down River

DATE: January 31, 1999
VENUE: The Lab, San Francisco, CA


Our story begins with a story. A story, as told by Sweetness (performance artist Tim Craig), of life in the country. Where daddies run away and little girls fall in love with strange men who drive big shinny trucks. A tale of betrayal, forgiveness and a simple but truthful understanding of human relationships. Overhead stock photography allows us the view of a country side. Backed by the Christian Endeavors (Dennis Bevelacqua, Kurt Hausman, La La Hulse, Adam Stein, Kevin Hausman, & Kristi Jendry), Sweetness sings all of your country/western favorites by Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and others I can't remember. If C/W music needs anything it's a man in drag.

Handmaiden America took the stage next, marching out single file. Chanting and enchanting. This group of seven women delighted the crowd with Bulgarian chants. When though this is an acapella group, African hand drums were used along with an electric guitar. Members include Shana Kingsley, Gina Darnell, Gabrielle Ekedal, Michelle Menard, Rossanna D'Anillo, Kristi Jendry, and Paige Weber (Van Gough's Daughter).

Last and most impressive was Down River. A collaboration between Carolyn Ryder Cooley and Anah-K Coates. Playing organs, guitar, vocals and various found instruments these women filled the room with a haunting dream. The film they showed probably describes their music best. The pair (one playing an accordion) riding a carousel where all the horses have been blindfolded as if for execution. At one point, one strapped on an accordion and they both played it while dancing. This must be seen to truly understand the sensuality of it all.

This event was presented in conjunction with The Secret Language of Girls exhibition.