Every time today that I’ve thought about yesterday’s visit to the Park Avenue Armory to see Paul McCarthy: WS, I start laughing all over again. The imagery and the storytelling are wonderfully absurd, joyful, obscene, rude, and hilarious. If “Snow White” had originated as a live-action motion picture, the video footage at WS might be titled, “An Uncensored Behind-the-Scenes peek onto the set of Snow White.” Talk about “Whistle While You Work!” I thought Elyse Poppers (White Snow) was incredibly charming and has the talent to portray this character with the right amount of Snow White innocence (and not too much winking). And I loved the Dwarves - especially Dopey (Trevor Rounseville) who arrives at breakfast stark naked and finds great joy in playing with balloon animals (well…they all do really).
But, Paul McCarthy as Walt Paul was stunning. The film “The Contract” had me in stitches. It brought back so many memories of my time at the Mouse House that when WS turns the tables on him I started to clap and stomp my feet. In “Living With Walt,” I thoroughly enjoyed his shaving scene in front of the bathroom mirror which completely reminded me of Robert DeNiro in one of the most famous images from “Taxi Driver.”
I was at the Armory for about three hours and there is so much to take in you can’t possibly see it all in one visit. The Feature film, played on huge screens at the front & back of the Armory, runs for 7 hours on its own. I need to go back later in the day next time to catch the ending chapter “The Prince Comes.” There’s at least 11 other films as well (the most sexually graphic ones are in special rooms along the side). Plus, you can peek into the set (a replica of McCarthy’s childhood home) where the films were made (along with seeing some very graphic depictions of the demise of some of the characters) and walk through a beautiful enchanted forest in the center of the hall.
Don’t forget to visit the “Walt Paul Store.” Incredible pieces of vintage Snow White merchandise for sale (I think) and all with Walt Paul’s signature!
Runs through August 4th. No one under 17 admitted.