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The Lonely Insanity of B-seventeen

By Nathaniel G. Moore

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B-seventeen, the pouting kidnapped dungeon girl of Dick Cheney is the brain (damaged) child of Chicago artist Sarah Weiss. You can watch the whole episodic monstrosity on YouTube and judge for yourself if this psycho/paranoid art medium is funny or not. It's involved, chaotic, disheartening and expressive. It's aggressive and raw, and a dark commentary on the role of both women and youth in America's monster.

The premise is a young girl has been kidnapped by Cheney and she lives in a state of hallucination with what she believes is a Japanese girl (actually an ironing board dressed as a girl that she kisses). Weiss began B-Seventeen as a performance called "I Heart The War on Terror" which she presented in a performance art course in 2004. Since then, the episodes have been garnering a slew of attention. "The reactions to B-Seventeen have run the entire gamut--it's been truly incredible! Everything from angry, derogatory comments--I think someone said they wanted to kill me--to letters from girls so inspired that they were crying with happiness. I mean, every possible shade of a reaction has been covered," says Weiss. "People really see all kinds of different messages and symbols in B-17, which is just the best thing you could hope for as an artist. Of course there are others who say it is the dumbest thing they've ever seen and feel sorry for me for thinking I am an artist. It's all good. It really builds character to have to constantly process these different reactions."

Weiss and her creative partner Arturo Cubacub have started "a new school of cinema" called Hyper-Cinema. "We are still finishing our newest project '><: Level 2"' Weiss says, explaining the concept as "a dark and glittery musical piece about the dollar and the euro." As for her ongoing performances, Weiss has some plans before the year is up. "The next event I want to do, maybe in December, is a Hypermedia show with a group of internet/digital media artists from around the world. Our own work might start moving in that direction. I could go on forever with this question, but I guess that'll do it for now. I do really want to start singing more--that was my first love."

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