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Mary Poppins Gone Mad

"Our band revolves around a purple electric guitar, drums, and a multicolored toy xylophone that cost $14 at Target," says Tragic Tantrum Cabaret singer/guitarist Zeph. "We aren't afraid to venture into the territory of melodicas and glass bottles either." The performance-art trio appears frequently at Twiggs Coffeehouse, calling itself "punk cabaret" in flyers.

"The term was coined by the Dresden Dolls, who have [in their act] living statues you can write on, ballerinas, milk maids, belly dancers.... We're currently working with a puppet-maker on props for one song, we have a projector for film and photography, and we're attempting to work a sculpture or two into the act."

Singer/lyricist ZöE says, "It feels a bit like Mary Poppins gone mad, or like you've fallen through the looking glass into a world of red, black, white, stark colors, make-up, masks, and burlesque theater. At the same time, it can be very emotional, deep, human, and erotic...." Tragic Tantrum's third member, Meagan Widdes, "hits things," explains ZöE. "Mostly drums. Once, she had a boyfriend who was sort of drum-shaped. It didn't last."

An occasional fourth member, Zaza, sometime dances and sings with the group, though "she's not always available for performances," says Zeph. "She studied ballet when she was younger, and she's a talented painter.... We're currently on the lookout for new dancers, as well as other painters and art-centered locals. Actors, photographers, puppeteers, filmmakers, face painters, clowns -- we'll even take a mime. What the hell, nobody else will."

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"Our band revolves around a purple electric guitar, drums, and a multicolored toy xylophone that cost $14 at Target," says Tragic Tantrum Cabaret singer/guitarist Zeph. "We aren't afraid to venture into the territory of melodicas and glass bottles either." The performance-art trio appears frequently at Twiggs Coffeehouse, calling itself "punk cabaret" in flyers.

"The term was coined by the Dresden Dolls, who have [in their act] living statues you can write on, ballerinas, milk maids, belly dancers.... We're currently working with a puppet-maker on props for one song, we have a projector for film and photography, and we're attempting to work a sculpture or two into the act."

Singer/lyricist ZöE says, "It feels a bit like Mary Poppins gone mad, or like you've fallen through the looking glass into a world of red, black, white, stark colors, make-up, masks, and burlesque theater. At the same time, it can be very emotional, deep, human, and erotic...." Tragic Tantrum's third member, Meagan Widdes, "hits things," explains ZöE. "Mostly drums. Once, she had a boyfriend who was sort of drum-shaped. It didn't last."

An occasional fourth member, Zaza, sometime dances and sings with the group, though "she's not always available for performances," says Zeph. "She studied ballet when she was younger, and she's a talented painter.... We're currently on the lookout for new dancers, as well as other painters and art-centered locals. Actors, photographers, puppeteers, filmmakers, face painters, clowns -- we'll even take a mime. What the hell, nobody else will."

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San Diego Reader’s Best Of issue 2021

Joshua trees in Mission Beach, Ace Hardware in Hillcrest, the regulars at Liberty Tobacco, the unnecessity of Balboa Park, “We live on the edge of paradise”
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