TALK SHOW WITH HARPER SIMON | EPISODE 15
Geneva Jacuzzi Talks Art, Dating, Sex and Her Jehovah’s Witness Past
Geneva Jacuzzi is a Los Angeles-based visual artist, musician, composer, and playwright who is known for her synth-driven bedroom pop recordings, theatrical stage performances, and video art.
Since the early 2,000’s Jacuzzi has developed a cult following after self releasing multiple albums of analog 8-track cassette home recordings. Her lyrics describe blood being thrown onto fire, clown-like machines in search of sadness and the raging monologues of future/past elemental beings. Her videos and live performances portray the story of a once abundant Self being shattered into a variety of other personas, all being played by Jacuzzi, and all cannibalizing-commodifying their rape revenge upon the idea of an original Self which is now lost if not mythical, somewhere in the Islands of the Jacuzzi.
In 2011, Jacuzzi, teaming up with long time muse and playwright, Casey Obelisk, began her latest project titled “Dark Ages” which pulls together most of her past and present work into an epic multimedia art project. Functioning as a play, Part I was presented in the form of a music video montage and Vice Magazine editorial takeover which introduced the concept of the broken Creation Myth Feedback Loop (the CMFL) – the current episode being the primordial origin of Julie Zygote, a sort of edenic sacrificial alter-ego of Jacuzzi. Since then, scenes from the play have been presented in the form of video, Installation, sound recording, sculpture, and performance. Live performances have been staged in multiple venues in over 31 countries across the globe.
Artist Geneva Jacuzzi shares details about her upbringing as a Jehovah’s Witness member, recalls how she burst onto the L.A. music and performance art scenes, and talks about dating and drawing inspiration from singer-songwriter Ariel Pink.
Geneva recounts her experiences as a Jehovah’s Witness and explains how she eventually was officially excommunicated from the church.
She explains how grew up in a trailer community with other Jehovah’s Witness members living all around, and they would keep tabs on what the others were doing. On one occasion she was reported for having a party when her parents were out of town and the rumors about what happened flew out of control.
“So they walk by and see people smoking and drinking… then the rumors start, and by the end of it there was an orgy that somehow happened, you know people were just going crazy. The story just was exaggerated by the time it got to the elders of the congregation.”
Geneva said she didn’t care for school so she devised a plan to make the setting seem so sinful that she actually got out of going.
“I hated school, so I was like, ‘Mom, there are people doing drugs, they’re trying to have sex with me, it’s just too much,’ so I was able to weasel my way out, it was a little opportunity I took.”
She talks about being sheltered throughout her childhood, and often times lonely with no siblings. “When I was a teenager I just kind of had the radio. I didn’t have an older brother or sister or cool people to show me good music or art – I didn’t know anything about it.”
She said she ended up getting kicked out of the house at 18, when her parents discovered a condom in her purse. But then she moved to Los Angeles and spent a lot of time alone since he didn’t know anyone.
Someone gave her a keyboard and Geneva said she used it to make “Depeche Mode kind of songs,” during a period when she was very depressed.
But eventually her social got better when she began hanging out at L.A. mod or goth clubs. “And then people turned me on to all the good stuff, but I came into it way too late in life.”
At one point, she decided to start a band despite her lack of musical background, and began to model her style after a lot of German and European bands that were utilizing synthesizers to create a minimal musical sound.
“I just decided to book shows, I think I booked shows before I even wrote songs – I just decided to book shows, and come up with a band before I even had music. Because I figured that was the easiest way to get something done,” she said.
“Fortunately I was able to adapt to public humiliation, so performance art came naturally after that.”
Her videos and live performances portray the story of a once abundant self being shattered into a variety of other personas, all being played by her. In 2011, Geneva teamed up with her longtime muse and playwright, Casey Obelisk, on a project titled “Dark Ages,” which pulls together most of her past and present work into one big epic multimedia art project.
Addressing her seven-year relationship with Ariel Pink, Geneva said they were in love with each other and were also sources of creative inspiration for each other. “I think I inspired him to succeed, and be like a husband or a provider, whatever he had in his mind that was a successful man,” she said, adding that they always supported and loved each other, and collaborate a great deal.
“And I would always work on his stuff and he tried to work on my stuff, but I had to kind of kick him out of the room, because I think that for me being a female doing it, I had a different experience – being in the public eye as an artist,” she said. “People just assumed that he writes all my music and does everything, that he’s somehow the reason I have a following or career.”
Watch the full episode to also hear about Geneva’s international tour, and to find out which artists have been her greatest influences.