A.C. Everson – Breaking Cupid With a Bat
Written by Debora Bump on July 1, 2019
If you don’t know her by name, you’ve seen her at local venues. You may have been accidentally slapped by her trademark, long flowing braids on a dance floor. Her pinata and sculpture pieces have been at various locations, or one of her hand-crafted magnets is on your fridge. She might have ushered you to a seat at The Egg in Albany.
I once featured Annine in a conservative setting, for a Valentines Day poetry reading. The owner of the establishment had asked me to “rattle the cages” of local people, with the premise that they “needed it.” Annine finished the evening with a piece called “Cupid is a Bastard,” featuring a cherubic pinata. Positioning Cupid over her knees, she invited the audience to spank the representation, amid taunts of “Bad Cupid! Bad Cupid!!” Soon Cupid’s butt crumbled and caved, offering a variety of goodies that were tossed to those brave enough to have stayed. I reconnected with ACE, in her Albany based studio.
RRX: Have you always had Albany roots?
ACE: Yes, even when I was in Southern California, it was nice, but the Northeast always called me back. This is the home area.
RRX: We are lucky to have you, Annine, I know you have traveled extensively.
ACE: In the back of my mind, no matter where I was, I never moved away. If you want to do anything in the arts, any form- there are people in this area that are going to help make that happen. Supporting yourself in the arts is a whole different ballgame, that’s a struggle no matter where you are in the world. This particular area is an amazingly supportive community. The amount of talent here is incredible!
RRX: What prompted “Breaking My Art?”
ACE: I had been writing poetry for years. In ‘94 I went to the Love Ball, at the Troy Arts Center, when it was on Second Ave., and was totally blown away! It was a wonderful night, with massive art installments and poetry. I so wanted to do that! I wasn’t able to go the next year, but Caroline Is was playing The Oxford Ale House, Valentine’s Day, and invited me to read. I read a poem called “Mr. Wrong Guy.” This was not a poetry venue whatsoever. But folks were really cool about it. This is what set the tenor for performing, just being unconventional.
RRX: So you had encouragement from one you respected and admired.
ACE: Yes, oh my God, Caroline was an incredible woman. Fuck Cancer!
RRX: How did the pinatas work into the mix?
ACE: It was a wonderful progression for someone like me. As a child I was always breaking things! I was already making pinatas, a paper mache process, and they just seemed to work together. I figured with my pinatas, and magnets they held, I could be on hundreds of refrigerators around the country, and in Europe, eventually. I would be in people’s lives, in some way. It was a way of spreading myself out.
RRX: Where have you performed outside the U.S.?
ACE: I did an impromptu street performance with a bronze cupid pinata underneath the Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus. My Brit friend was nervous about me doing it. We traveled with the pinata on buses; pinatas are not known in Europe. When I started the performance, people weren’t alarmed, but at the end, I smashed it, and everyone was like “Okay, let’s just ignore the crazy American.” My friend was standing way off, saying he would bail me out of jail. I was scooping up the little heart magnets, knives with little blood drops and question marks that read “This is Love?” Few people accepted them, (laughs) I kept telling them they were for their refrigerator.
RRX: Oh, it was that proper British mentality thing!
ACE: I love London, though. It’s a fun town! I did pinatas in Amsterdam, and Scotland, too. Pinatas take most of the space in my suitcase!
RRX: I heard that a pinata was destroyed a few months back, at The Low Beat. You have a piece there, don’t you? “Word Bird?” Is Word Bird okay?
ACE: I hadn’t heard about that! Where did you hear this?
RRX: Social media. A couple punk bands were there a few months or so back. There was talk the day after a gig, about a pinata being demolished. I assumed it was Word Bird.
ACE: Wow. I didn’t hear of that.
RRX: So I guess “Word Bird” partook in a punk rock moment?
ACE: (Laughs) Jeez, I don’t know! Well, let’s go check it out after, I guess!
RRX: Okay, we’ll do that. What local events stick out in your memory?
ACE: The Discard Avant Garde Recycled Fashion Show! It was fun to do. The first three, I didn’t use my own music, but incorporated the pinatas. The first one was a hat; I had ornaments hanging from my dress I had made. The second one was called “Road Kill,” and I had crafted a chair that was supposed to have been roadside. I made crosses from fabric taken off abandoned furniture and worked them onto the pinata. “Smoke That Cigarette,” was a woman smoking, in a short black, lounge dress. I dressed like a cigarette. Another time I did a mermaid. Eventually I started using my own music.
RRX: That’s right, you’ve worked with musicians as well! I remember “Cupid is a Bastard!” Great video!
ACE: That was with Albert Von Schaaf, Mitch Elrod, and Tony Perrino. We did a CD some time back.
RRX: Yes! Idi Annine, something.
ACE: (Laughs) Yes, Idi Annine and The Mommas was just a shits and grins bombshell kind of band; we made all kinds of a racket, way back, at keg parties, things like that. I always wanted to have that band, and it came together more seriously, years later. This was when I started using my own music for The Recycled Fashion Show.
RRX: Your work has been displayed in a variety of places, as well. I recall seeing some of them in the window of The Spectrum Theater overlooking Madison Ave., some years back.
ACE: There were a few of us that were doing Spectrum Theater windows, a small core group, it seemed. There was Sarge Blotto, Timothy Cahill, and myself. There were others, of course. I will always be grateful to Annette and to The Spectrum for that. In fact, a sculpture piece called “Spring Sprite” that was initially made for The Spectrum Theater window has a permanent home in the Delaware Ave. library.
RRX: What’s this about you and Bob Dylan?
ACE: The Bob Dylan Birthday Tribute! It started at the Union College Rathskeller; my good friend Dale Metzger started it as an annual tribute; they share the same birthday. The roster would fill up very quickly. Everybody showed up for it, The Jug Stompers, members of Blotto, Brian Thomas; we had to turn people away. Dale and I did original pieces; everyone else did covers. We did one piece I loved, called ”What, Bob?” It blames an inability to understand what he was saying on my hearing, not his singing. The pinata for it was a question mark; inside were envelopes with “ears”, and magnets that read “What, Bob?”
RRX: Well, he IS hard to understand.
ACE: Oh yes, he is. But I’m also hearing impaired, so I have a hard time understanding just about anybody!
RRX: Well, you’re not alone, when it comes to Bob! This event is still goin
ACE: It ran from 2000 to 2008, and was revived two years ago at The Low Beat.
RRX: Where and how can people see your work? There is a Facebook page for it, right?
ACE: Yes, it’s Breaking My Art, on Facebook
RRX: What about the amazing video, “Cupid is a Bastard”?
ACE: I have a YouTube channel! YouTube wouldn’t let me go with “A.C. Everson,” so I am listed there as Annine Everson. I have several different things on it, including music videos with Caroline Is, and other local talents and events.
RRX: That’s right, you are also a videographer. What a presence you are in the local community, Annine!
ACE: I am so blessed to be part of this community. How it evolved, was these amazing, incredible, supportive people in the arts, who are inclusive. You have to take the beginning steps yourself. I had the encouragement of Caroline inviting me up. Being able to be involved with the Recycled Fashion show, open-mic poetry readings, the Dylan Birthday Tribute, etc. If you have the desire, and willingness, there are people here who will help you follow your dreams. It is incredible.