My VegasChatter review :
Let The Bumbys Give You A Fair And Honest Appraisal, If You Dare
| by Richard Lane |
The Bumbys are waiting for you. Part performance. Part art. And, for the right person, pause for thought. You have a limited time to get to The Cosmopolitan and experience it, and we urge you to get Bumby’d:
Two strangers, disguised and mute, will give you, “A Fair & Honest Appraisal of your Appearance.” That’s what they say, and that’s what they do.
Here’s the deal. Take the escalator up to The Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio. The one where visiting artists take temporary shelter and create and show their wares. It’s a great place. (We love the Cosmo’s dedication to art.) When you arrive, stand in line and walk up to face The Bumbys. Gill and Jill. They are faceless, won’t talk to you and are wearing headphones, so they may not even be able to hear you.
They take a look at you, type your evaluation on an electric typewriter and grade you with an overall rating out of 10. They remove their appraisal, check the punctuation and hand stamp it. Analog, direct and personal. At this point in the art context we’d be inclined to reference Banksy, The Residents, even harken back to the Guerrilla Girls, or maybe Duchamp on anonymity, but we’d have to digress.
We’ll skip the back story of how the pair merged into this combine. On the gallery wall is written, “Who (or what) are the Bumbys.” Take them at face value. Just be sure to know, this isn’t as ephemeral as the paper that traps their handiwork. There is a sly intelligence at work here.
We walked up, said hello, and watched our first Bumby review. Gill is fast, not given to pauses, and quick to assess. There’s a muscular approach to his keystrokes. And, a directness in his overview. Here’s his appraisal, which we’re not afraid to share with you. (Frankly, we’ve not yet found anyone to understand our obsessive references to French revolutionary politics of the 1950s let alone the 1790’s, but we digress.)
Being a contrarian sort, we then doubled back to join the line for a Jill Bumby assessing. A precise woman, with delicate hands, a thoughtful aspect and a slight tilt-of-the-head approach in her methodology. We also noticed on occasion she would lean forward to give her subjects an up and down once-over. We appreciated the extra perspective.
We’ll also let you spy on her appraisal:
Yes, we dress like that all the time. And, oddly enough, there is Rilke on our bookshelf. (The letters of Rilke and Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis. Prefer 20th Century English poets, but – again – we digress.) Anyway, what does that home run say about this writer, a Bumby, or the world where we might converge? See, pause for thought, Cosmo club-kids.
The set up at the P3 studio is small. Some photo collages on the wall of previous Bumby events, including a reading of President Obama. The Bumbys shut out the world with headphones and they let you try-out their favored brand while you watch a CBS video report before you stand on line.
Also on display, a number of typewriters they’ve worked their way through. Like writer William S. Burroughs, they seem to peck them to death. Judging by Gill Bumby’s rubbing of his hands, it’s no fun on the carpal muscles. We feel your pain Mr Bumby, we feel your pain.
This is a great event to share with someone. Or, maybe it’s a route for self-reflection. It’s not altogether serious, but might trigger something. Wow, a subtle danger of self-discovery! As we said, there’s a slyness to this performance. In two appraisals, you read references to history, poetry, wine and mortality. This isn’t Facebook LOL spiel, despite the party-trick framing of the concept. You’ll experience a combination of cold reading, theatrical improvisation, common sense and just plain smarts.
And it helps that both carry their task with a charismatic air. Buried under a disguise or not, Jill Bumby certainly has a way about her. (Jill, call us: We have books on Rilke and Satan, hate walks on the beach and digress a lot. It’s like you know us already.)
If you are in the area, we urge you to check it out. At its very least, it’s a uniquely personal Vegas souvenir that everyone you share it with will have an opinion. Just maybe not as fair and honest.
The Bumbys are at Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio until April 1. “Performances” are on Thursday from 7-8 p.m., Friday from 8-9 p.m., Saturday from 8-10 p.m., and Sunday from 7-8 p.m.