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Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz Are Worth the Trip

August 18th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

I’m incredibly excited about the show that we’re putting on at Union Hall next weekend — for any number of reasons, really. But one of the most exciting things for me about this variety extravaganza is that we’re featuring what promises to be an incredibly strange burlesque act from Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz.

Here’s a little about Mat, from his Wikipedia page:

Fraser was born with phocomelia of both arms, due to his mother being prescribed thalidomide during her pregnancy. As a live artist he was a member of the performance art group The DHSS in the early 1990s. He was included in Manuel Vason’s book “Exposures” and has performed at numerous internationally renowned venues. He received considerable critical acclaim for his one-man show “Seal Boy”. In 1999 he worked with the Hydra Collective on an event known as “Wrong Bodies” at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. As an actor he has performed with the “Graeae Theatre Company”, Europe’s leading disabled theatre company. He is the creator and main performer in a new play called Thalidomide!! A Musical. He also co-hosts the BBC’s Ouch! Podcast.

Fraser has appeared on television both as a presenter and as an actor, in a number of productions including Metrosexuality and Every Time You Look at Me. He is also a martial artist having studied hapkido, taekwondo, Karate.

The following video is a trailer for his movie “Kung Fu Flid,” also known as “Unarmed and Dangerous.” Bear in mind that it’s incredibly gory and the language is likely not safe for work:

This video shows more extensive clips from the film, too. And brother, the language would make a porn star blush. It gets really intense at 1:52:

Mat’s fiancee and performing partner is Julie Atlas Muz — no slouch in the accomplishments department either. From her Wikipedia page:

Julie was among the artists featured at the 2004 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art. At the biennial, she and thirteen other cast members had performed her take on Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” which is inspired by the life and death of JonBenĂ©t Ramsey.

In January 2007, Julie, along with Kembra Pfahler curated a mixed media art exhibition titled, Womanizer, at the Deitch Projects. The show included works by E. V. Day, Breyer P-Orridge, Vaginal Davis and burlesque performer Bambi the Mermaid.[5] Julie’s contribution was “Mr. Pussy”, an exhibit of photos of her genitalia in various poses and props. The exhibit also featured video of “Mr. Pussy” greeting viewers with “welcome” in multiple languages.

Here’s a video of one of her pieces that I’ve had the good fortune to see live. If you ‘re at work and you’ve made it this far, your’e probably fine. But just in case, please be aware that Julie is barely clothed here and tilt your monitor accordingly:

I saw the piece that they’ll be performing on Sunday, August 28th over a year ago at Brooklyn Bowl, and a week hasn’t gone by since that I haven’t talked about it. Tonally, it’s somewhere between Julie’s video and Mat’s clip above, suffused with comic outrage but no gore whatsoever. If I knew John Waters personally, I’d demand that he come catch this piece — it perfectly captures my insane love/hate relationship with the South in a an elliptical, utterly bizarre way that no performer will ever be able to duplicate.

All I know is that I didn’t know whether to scream or laugh or just fall on the ground when I saw them perform together. And I hope you guys can make it out and feel just the same way.

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