Love Sick with Betty Grumble
Posted on March 23 2019
Betty Grumble is a Sydney local who I had the opportunity to catch up with in my new town, New York. After seeing Betty perform at Joe's Pub, in Manhattan, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to spark some light and love back into Love Sick.
Betty is a solo performer, who can sing, dance, do aerobics, produce a few pussy prints and spreads a message of love. I enjoy her company so wanted to use any excuse to take up her time in NY.
Here's our convo we had while she was flying back to San Fransico.
Name: Betty Grumble
Star Sign: Aries
IG alias: @bettygrumble
Laurel aka Kee Kee: Hello you glorious creature who brings so much light and laughter! How are you and how has your USA tour been going so far?
Betty Grumble: It has been a real whirlwind. I flew into Austin, Texas to participate in OUTsider Festival, a queer arts festival that was truly a magic thing. I since have blown through NYC and am hitting San Fran and LA with shows and adventures. Americano extravaganza!
KK: I managed to grab myself some front row seats to your show at Joe’s Pub in NYC with my husband, Tristan, and friend, Jess.
Jess and I knew what we were in for, but Tristan wasn’t prepared for how beautiful and intimate the show can be. How would you describe a show for first timers and what should they expect?
BG: A Grumble experience is a genre smash of performance art, ritual theatre, sha-womanic striptease, singing, poetry, visual art and lots of flesh riotous dancing. People can expect a lot of pleasure-seeking behavior, a celebration of our divine right to laugh and a lot of push backery. I make shows as healing balms for myself and the attendees. We cultivate the energy together.
KK: You cover being an Eco Sexual in your show, which I later googled in the cab home. Can you explain what it means to us Eco Sexual newcomers?
BG: An Ecosexual is someone who feels erotic/sensual in nature. It is a sexual identity I was introduced to by Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens. I really love how they describe reframing the Earth from ‘Mother’ to ‘Lover’. I worship nature, Gaia, magick and the cosmic truth that we are all connected. I believe in fucking and unfucking the damage that our current societal set up has done to the environment. We should all be Eco-Warriors if we wanna be good to ourselves and vibrate a healthy spirit. Ecosexuality has given me a poiesis into finding hopefulness amongst the tidal wave of uncaring entitled behavior. I really do believe in the inherent beauty in humanity, but ouuuuppp BABY! There is A LOT of healing to do.
KK: I particularly enjoyed your explanation of “men” meaning The Man, corporations, government and those people who keep us down but we both agreed that we truly love men and they make up some of the best people we know. How do you deal with The Man and how society is made up?
Has including this in your act sparked up conversations with your audience?
BG: People get where I am coming from. That ‘men’ suffer as well within the patriarchal brigade of war-mongering, paranoid, toxic system holders. Audiences connect over these truths in womanhood that has meant most of the women I know have experienced male violence. There has been an ongoing Femicide that has been normalized and we are living in a time of great change and language around shaking that apart. I say I made the show instead of doing an assassination attempt….Or maybe the show IS an assassination attempt. I’ve often described Betty Grumble as a war mask but she is also a love letter. We are dreaming of the world we want to live in. Utopia is in the struggle towards it.
KK: What do self-love and self-care mean to you? What are your practices?
BG: Bathtime! Sex! Delicious vegan food! Nature! SEX (with myself and others), The ocean. The ocean. The ocean. Putting your hands in the soil. Dancing to disco. Laughing with your family. Reading excellent books. Taking yourself on a date to the gallery. Anointing yourself with sacred balms and oil. MORE BATHTIME. Laying on the ground. Making up special mantra’s that you can recite to yourself or to the world when the black dog's bark. Caressing your self like a Mother and Babe. Just breathing. Giving yourself a break for your fuck ups.
KK: We are both witchy women and believe in little signs here and there. While we were shooting we came across “No” on a post-it in the laundry mat then outside the mechanics. What do you think it symbolizes?
BG: We were talking also a lot about rape culture and how people apologize for it. I think the No was a reminder of the power of saying NO. Acknowledging that it sometimes isn’t easy to do. The NO is sitting in the discomfort, standing up for yourself and others, even when it’s not the popular thing to do.
KK: You’re retiring the signature Grumble wig, what’s the go, what’s the deal and is there going to be another Betty Grumble evolution?
BG: I have been donning the wigless and less indifferent Grumble states. I still have this one really fucked up dreadlocked wig I wear for Love & Anger. She represents a time when Betty was fresh from the chrysalis and maybe had a bit more protective items on her. I’m excited about the space between Grumble and Emma Maye (my civilian name) She is slippery.
KK: You show a lot of your body and soul on stage, I think I’ve seen all of you! How did you get this self-confidence, what advice would you give to gain a little self-confidence and what brought you to express this on the stage?
BG: I’ve always been a natural nudist. An exhibitionist. Very comfortable naked. The body has also been a tool for me. The site of pain and the site of reclamation so it’s been a natural progression to explore how to pull and twist and reveal her in different, sometimes extreme ways. For self-confidence, I would advise stupid dancing in front of a mirror.
KK: What’s your top 3 places you’ve performed and where can we see you next?
BG: Ouuuuufffff. That’s a hard question because …. I have performed in a lot of places! Lucky Grumble. Glastonbury & Edinburgh were very groovy! I love the heaving queer dance floors of Sydney & The Bearded Tit that have given me so much support. I pulled a maraca out of my Yoni at The Sydney Opera House. That tickles me! You can catch me in LA! Then I’m back to Sydney for shows and Melbourne Comedy Festival. I bounce around a fair bit!
KK: We touched on your gal Val in our last interview (https://laurelofficial.com/blogs/news/love-sick-with-betty-grumble) since it’s been a while, has your opinion changed, morphed or have you gained new knowledge or insight?
BG: I still love Valerie Solanas and her SCUM Manifesto so much. She speaks to me, to the mad enraged parts of me. To the messy fucked up, righteous, vengeful parts of me.
KK: How has Betty Grumble grown and transformed since you first created her?
BG: She was created as a war mask and now she has become a love letter as well. She’s become less rigid, more ceremonial.
KK: I absolutely adore you as Betty, like yourself and both combined. I think the world needs more positive, inclusive and silly people like yourself and I enjoy any moment I get to share with you. For those who can’t catch up with you and talk shit, where can they follow or stalk you?
BG: You can catch me on my Instagram and Facebook. I keep a healthy thread of thoughts, film, and photography on that socialist media.
KK: Big love to you sis, I cannot wait to see what’s next and support your career!
BG: Thank YOU Beauty One! Keep on threading those powerful Glamour Spells!