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The Citizens Band, Cabaret Collective

2007_06_arts_ciizensband.jpgThe Citizens Band are a political cabaret troupe that hurled themselves into action after the outcome of the 2004 Presidential election. Both entertainers and protesters, they engage their audience by spinning creative webs that connect music, theater and dance with politics and humor. The band features Karen Elson, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Angela McCluskey, Chelsea Bacon, Duke Bojadziev, Ian Buchanan, Michael Cavadias, Aaron Conte, Jorjee Douglass, Rachelle Garniez, Mike Jackson, Mark McAdam, Amy Miles, Jon Natchez, Rain Phoenix and Ronin. They're performing their newest show, “Masquerading in Paradise,” at the Highline Ballroom tonight. Tickets are on sale here.

How did the Citizens Band begin?
Jorjee Douglass and I have been friends for fifteen years and she was basically my big sister, role model, rock star. I was just so obsessed with her especially when I first met her and she always had the idea of doing a political cabaret and we moved to LA together at the same time which was right around the time Bush stole the first election. And we attempted to do a political cabaret there and it just didn’t work in LA. So when Bush got reelected, we were all sitting around one drunken night, mourning the outcast state of our political scene with Paul and Angela, and a few others, and we revisted the idea and felt really compelled to try it out again in New York and it just took off like a house on fire. And from the start Karen and Rain, Paul and Angela, and a bunch of others we got together and it formed really naturally. The history of cabaret, I think that in times of political strife it seems only natural for politics to creep into entertainment so it wasn’t really something we planned out it just felt like a need, or something we had to do. (Sarah Sophie Flicker)

Can you explain the group dynamic?
Our group dymanic is quite unique. We have a diverse group of rascals from all walks of life. Ronin is a school teacher and our rock. She's so direct yet hysterically witty she knows how to make us all focus, she comes to rehearsals after school and always throws herself into it. Then you've got myself, who has been a model for years and I somehow fit in, Sarah Flicker is a maverick and is the real driving force behind us. The reason why it works is that we all somehow bring out the best in each other, we are all so different as individuals but we all connect when put in the same room together, its magic. (Karen Elson)

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