Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Cult of Little Marcy

Just about everyone who visits artist William Robbins' house is exposed -- I think that's the proper term -- to "Little Marcy."

Even though it undoubtedly makes Robbins' wife cringe, "I've introduced everyone to the Cult of Marcy."

"It's an acquired taste," he says.

Little Marcy is Marcy Tigner, an inspirational trombonist who wanted to sing the gospel. She went through three voice teachers before her husband suggested that, rather than try to change her very childlike voice, she
exploit it. With the assistance of Miss America 1965, she developed a Christian ventriloquism act.

Little Marcy, Tigner's inner wooden child, sings gospel favorites like, "When Mr. Satan Knocks at My Heart's Door."

And that makes Robbins smile.

"I can't explain it. As soon as I saw Marcy going through the thrift store, I smiled. I thought, this was great. It's almost genetic."

I can see the attraction. Because I've seen Robbins' work.

Last year we took a Fresh Look at a local drive-through art gallery where Robbins was exhibiting his art.

Like a fiberglass zombie minibar with illuminated brains.

An Andy Warhol Pez dispenser.

And a painting of a Metrosexual Frankenstein. (The monster with a really nice haircut.)

At home, his living room TV is filled with fish.

And a tree grows out of his son's bedroom dresser.

You get the idea.

That's why when Robbins, a vinylphile, leafs through musty stacks of thrift shop LPs, he snaps up treasures like "Music for Bachelors," "Archie and Meatheads Best Arguments," "Stop Smoking and Overeating with Ravine," the Bourbon Street chaplain and auto dealer duo, "Bob and Fred," and, a Cold War enthusiast's must-have, "The Coming War with Russia." *

(If you enjoy these musical and spoken word recordings, you might like to browse this blog.)

You can hear selections from Robbins' record collection on this Fresh Look on Life.

And then maybe you, too, will be indoctrinated into the Cult of Marcy.

*In 2001, Jack Van Impe, the televangelist who made this record, was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize for astrophysics for the assertion that black holes fulfill the technical requirements to be the location of Hell.

Postscript: February 14, I phoned Robbins to tell him the airdate for this story. He told me that morning he and his wife had celebrated his son's birthday. And just 20 minutes before I called, his wife had given birth to a little girl. That's some Valentine's Day.

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