Ann Magnuson is a writer/actress/singer/musician/performer whose eclectic resume traverses the entertainment landscape like few others. She has acted in Hollywood blockbusters, Off-Broadway plays, TV sitcoms and indie films, fronted various bands, written for numerous publications and has presented her original performance art pieces at several major museums.
She has also released two solo albums. Her latest and third solo album, Dream Girl is a surreal dreamscape of spoken word and song. Spoken word has its roots in poetry and theater as well as the talking blues and rock music. Magnuson turned the genre truly psychedelic with brilliant and subversive dream-based lyrics in her band, Bongwater in the 1990s.
With Dream Girl, Magnuson returns to her inimitable-style of surreal storytelling and whimsical songwriting. With the exception of two cover songs (a moving rendition of the 1968 Glen Campbell hit, “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife” and a wistful take on Heart’s “Dreamboat Annie”), the 50-minute album features brand new original material that plumbs the depths of Magnuson’s fertile imagination. Musical support comes from film composer and guitarist The Millionaire (who was behind '90s cocktail-music revolutionaries Combustible Edison) and drummer/percussionist, Joe Berardi (Rufus Wainwright, Donovan, Lydia Lunch). Mark Wheaton (Dave Davies, Nels Cline) engineered the album.
From psychedelic folk in “We’re All Mad”, seductive beat-girl trance in “Be a Satyr,” to the Morrison-esque shamanic epic “Ayahausca: The Movie,” the scenes shift rapidly. So do the dramatis personæ. Kate Pierson of the B-52s provides guest vocals on the trippy sunshine-pop tune, “Cat in the Sun”; the dream-specter of David Bowie makes an appearance (in “The Enchanted Forest”) and contemporary Hollywood culture is mercilessly skewered in “Bromance Nightmare.” As to be expected, her characters are many and vivid but, at heart Magnuson is a suburban Appalachian Dorothy wandering through a strange new Wonderland, marveling at the Technicolor beauty and rank absurdity of it all.
Born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia Ann went to New York City in 1978 (after a junior year abroad in London during the punk heyday of ’76-‘77) and soon became part of the seminal art, music and performance scene that exploded in downtown New York City in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. There she managed the now-infamous neo-Dada cabaret and art space, Club 57; was president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Lower East Side and started the all-girl percussive ‘orchestra’ Pulsallama. She performed regularly in downtown theaters, galleries and clubs including The Kitchen, The Mudd Club, Danceteria, The Pyramid Club and CBGB. In addition to her many bands and solo work, Ann collaborated with performers Eric Bogosian, Kestutis Nakas, John Sex and Joey Arias in numerous shows including performing and writing songs with the legendary John Cale for his performance piece “Life Underwater.” She also directed The New Wave Vaudeville show that launched the career of New Wave operatic icon Klaus Nomi.
As a singer and songwriter, she has been in several bands including the sardonic folk trio Bleaker Street Incident, her heavy metal band, Vulcan Death Grip and the psycho-psychedelic band, Bongwater with whom she released five albums and gained an international cult following that remains rabid today. Magnuson has also released two solo albums, The Luv Show released (Geffen 1995) and Pretty Songs & Ugly Stories (Asphodel 2007). Her EP, The Jobriath Medley, was released in 2012.
Ann has appeared as a guest vocalist on The Tindersticks album Curtains (singing with Stuart Staples in the duet “Buried Bones"). She has also appeared as an actress in music videos, most notably as the crazed Annie in the Redd Kross video “Annie’s Gone” and as the mysterious Goth chick tormenting Alice in Chain’s Jerry Cantrell in his video for “My Song”.
She deconstructed the concepts of success and failure through the life stories and songs of glam rockers Jobriath and David Bowie at SFMOMA in 2011 in a musical theater piece titled, “The Rock Star as Witch Doctor, Myth-Maker and Ritual Sacrifice.” In 2012, she performed portions of that show as well as all of The Jobriath Medley at REDCAT as part of the OUTFEST Platinum series and was asked to create a special "Mudd Club Cabaret" for the Cindy Sherman opening in July 2012 at SFMOMA. Ann curated and performer her “One Hour Bacchanal” as part of the Mike Kelly retrospective at MOCA in 2014 and is co-curator of a gallery show about Club 57 (in conjunction with a film series) at the Museum of Modern Art opening in 2017.
As a film actress, Magnuson has appeared in a wild variety of roles in major Hollywood films such as The Hunger (with David Bowie), Clear and Present Danger, Making Mr. Right, Panic Room, Desperately Seeking Susan and the cult classic Cabin Boy. She has acted in many independent films, recently co-starring opposite Christopher Walken and Amber Heard in One More Time (which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival under the original title When I Live My Life Over Again.)
Magnuson also a regular cast member of the early 1990s ABC-TV sitcom Anything But Love (opposite Jaimie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis) and has appeared in numerous TV shows including Modern Family, Frasier, CSI:Miami, The Drew Carey Show, the HBO series’ From the Earth to the Moon and Looking among others. Off Broadway credits include The Vagina Monologues, John Patrick Shanley’s Four Dogs and a Bone as well as her own one-woman show You Could Be Home Now. Magnuson also starred in the LA premiere of Amy and David Sedaris' play The Book of Liz and her show Rave Mom played P.S.122 in 2001. Magnuson also co-wrote and starred in Vandemonium (1987), a surreally comic special for Cinemax.
Street Date Sep 16th 2016
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