Stark and her cartoonist/drummer boyfriend, Ron Rege Jr., are the sole members of a new side project called Mystical Unionists. They played a low-key yet sublime show at the aptly titled Hope Gallery in Echo Park this weekend, where Rege’s artwork is currently on display.
“This is entirely about the aural,” says Stark, hoping to effect a sea change, one small drop at a time, from the hegemony of the male perspective towards something much less aggressive. If she can get this small, devoted audience to even slightly alter the way they process things, perhaps it can affect a widespread shift towards the global acceptance of “love” and “peace” she’s always touting in her music, with utmost sincerity. “Close your eyes and let go of the visual,” she advises before launching into a subdued melody. “Well, except for Ron’s art,” she qualifies. “You should look at that.”
Armed only with a microphone masking-taped to a wooden stick and a pair of carefully decorated floor toms, Mystical Unionists sounds something like a campfire lament at the end of the world and a hopeful appeal to America’s frozen heart. Ron and Becky are a dynamic duo whose artwork couldn’t be more aligned. In her lyrics and his cartoons, in her stage banter and his illustrations, the couple is devoted to building a Utopian world that shares the optimistic ideals of the 60′s, minus the questionable hippie trends of the day (is anyone really longing for a revival of door beads and lava lamps?).
“I had a dream the other night,” Becky tells me when I approach her after the show, “where everything I had ever thrown out was turning into cups of tea that I was forced to drink. Every piece of Scotch Tape– everything.” A regime change or a liberal political upheaval is good, Becky says, but we can’t rely on politics to change the world for us. “Each one of us is accountable for everything we do.” Somehow, when Becky says it, it sounds less like a lecture and more like a fun challenge, full of dancing and color and song. Becky Stark is our generation’s Yoko Ono.
Check out 21 pictures I took at the show, after the jump!