St. Vincent: Patron Saint of Shredding in Evening Wear

Holier than thou.

I have a small obsession with Annie Clark, the dark starlet behind the music of St. Vincent. I think it’s pretty manageable at this point meaning I’m still able to eat and post Facebook updates, but lately I have been binging on anything Annie. Her dresses, her anime eyes and marble-white skin, her endless supply of prog-rock riffs and operatic range.  When she appeared on David Letterman a few weeks ago in a black cocktail dress shredding Stephen Malkmus-style on a red electric guitar, I thought my little bearded heart was going to explode.

Annie Clark in an ‘Emile’ dress by Acne studios, NYC.  (Please excuse David Letterman for still being on television):

Annie makes people uncomfortable. Just watch a few of her music videos. I have, and I keep making my roommates watch them over and over again like a Vietnam vet with PTSD working through my ‘stories’.  She effectively uses fashion to build a character and that character would fit well in a live action production of The Royal Tanenbaums on ice.

Check out this video for her track “Actor Out of Work:”

Can you believe that? In my research on Clark, I found out David Byrne contacted her after seeing that video and said something like ‘Thanks for creeping me out.” DAVID. EFFING. BYRNE.

Her outfit in that video is authoritative, high-fashion work wear. Like you were just checking in at a sleek NYC salon and Annie  couldn’t find your name on the list:

“Sorry,  I can’t seem to find your name, and we’re booked through 2012.”

“But, there must be some mistake, I…”


She also just appeared on the cover of SPIN magazine’s Style Issue, boasting a Boy George look, complete with bowler hat and dark, stenciled eyebrows.

Yes, she really wants to hurt you. Yes, she really wants to make you cry.

Wanna see another video? I do. This is her latest, for the track “Cruel.” She plays a woman who gets kidnapped by a motherless family, forced to perform mundane maternal tasks while slowly being murdered by her children. As the finale, she’s buried in a shallow grave.

Once again, her fashion is such a strut to the success of this piece. Those 1960’s house dresses. Her slowly-lowering torso in a Jackie-O neckline and ribbon bow pumps. The mess of her curls blowing in the wind at the video’s crescendo.

Nope, nothing creepy about this photo....wait. Is that a baby's arm?

So, Annie Clark. Gorgeous: check. Talented: check. Gothic: check. Who wouldn’t want to throw a burlap sack around this one and take her home? Or better yet, drown her in designer clothes.

Here she is playing the runway show for Rachel Comey.

Annie's got her guns.

And here she is being lovingly styled for Under The Radar magazine by David Tabbert, a ginger bear that I immediately stalked and friended on Facebook.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of her new album, Strange Mercy, you should. It’s a little bit runway, a little bit benzadrine-and-white wine, a little bit self-destructive; just like her fashion.

She’s styled for a purpose, and I respect that. Her creepiness resonates.

You know, just a mouth screaming through some white latex.


About adamboehmer

Adam Boehmer is an artist, musician and writer living in Seattle, WA. Adam's poems have appeared online and in print journals including Spork, Gertrude, The Monarch Review, CityArts magazine, and the anthology The Full Spectrum, from Knopf Books. He has worked as a contributing writer for online entities such as Ironing Board Collective. His music project Tenderfoot works towards an unabashedly romantic collection of queer folk songs. Visually, his art is sculptural and assemblage-based, and stems from the desire to arrange and bind objects in a powerful way, recontextualizing building materials, masculine accoutrements and ephemera. He is currently producing a collaborative book, Sweaters & GLASS with LA artist Maggie Carson Romano.


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