First Class Mess
First Class Mess is a one-person performance and video installation designed, written, and directed by Christopher Kreiling that incorporates four male dancers who weave in and out of the biographical story’s fantastical, ADD, non-linear plot. The show is a multimedia stage production that utilizes Hi-definition rear-projection video on three 12 x 12-foot screens and figures with Christopher Kreiling as the central protagonist. Two of his highly polished video works play a significant role in the live performance, and many others act as backdrops to interact and progress the story visually. Blurring the lines between art and entertainment, FIRST CLASS MESS employs costume, dance, offbeat narration, and rapid-fire timing to reveal the highs and lows of celebrity as they intersect with everyday life. Raised in a household with no rules by his mother, the motto being looks and beauty are the keys to success, Kreiling’s survival skills for Tinsel Town were groomed at a very early age.
He springboards through many transformations, including characters like Britney Spears and his drunken alter ego Betheena. Meanwhile, Kreiling tells the story from the perspective of a Hollywood insider revealing the darker trade secrets. Characters move in and out of the performance in a series of explosive dance numbers that allow Kreiling to transform his persona into the starlets he has worked on throughout a ten-year jaunt as a designer and wardrobe stylist. The journey is a coming-of-age tale in which life’s obstacles derail dreams, and unexpected paths shape Kreiling’s life.
In one video, IN-SIDE-OUTSIDE-IN, we see a figure violently attacked by flashes of light, creating a storm of strobe in the performance space. Kreiling is revealed on all three screens inside a mirrored box wearing a codpiece and sports socks as he moves through vanity rituals ending up completely covered in flesh tone base make-up. He then acts a series of eerily cheesy magazine posses we are custom to seeing pop stars do on covers of magazines. IN-SIDE-OUTSIDE-IN is an abstract example of celebrity as a caged animal. The show culminates with Kreiling’s newest video work, a highly camp, cinematic four-minute, and thirty-three-second trailer for his forthcoming feature film JAMES BLONDE: Double Glory Hole Seven, the first gay James Bond remake.
The process for making all the work, mainly done in 2010, was modeled after fast-form entertainment production with Kreiling writing, designing, producing, editing, shooting, and staring in the video and live production. First Class Mess is energy-packed, experimental, hi-fi, low-fi, and a smoke-and-mirror spectacle that not only engages artists, entertainers, and musicians but yet has broad audience appeal and great potential.