“The superhero always had… something they had to overcome,” says burlesque artist Vivienne LaFlamme. She’s one of the superheroes in the Murderous Chanteuse video, “Made of Candy.” The new video recruits Connecticut women artists to fight domestic abuse.
Overcoming is a theme of both the video and the artist’s life. Murderous Chanteuse is the alternative-pop persona of singer-songwriter Jennifer Hill. As Jennifer Hill and Company, she was a rising star in the Connecticut music scene in 2015. After taking a break to confront her experiences with emotional abuse, Hill is back in force. “Made of Candy” tackles a tough subject with humor and sequins.
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As you watch, look for 1990s alternative rocker Patti Rothberg as a villain! Admire the sparkling costumes by Kristin Costa. And take a close look at the weapons, created by burlesque prop artist Daniel Surkis.
Directed by David Gere and filmed by Ryan Sweeney, the video features locations in northeastern Connecticut (shot before the pandemic).
“I wanted to do a video that would take back some of the actions I had experienced in life,” explains Hill. Some of the scenes are from pop-culture fantasy, such as Surkis tying up singer-songwriter Nan Roy in his van. However, a real-life experience of one of Hill’s friends inspired the running “date” story that ties the video together.
The cast includes a variety of Connecticut artists that Hill knows from twelve years of managing SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day CT. As well as LaFlamme, Rothberg, and Roy, the cast includes poet Mikala Guyton, visual artist Marisa Copley, dancer Ally Davis of Visceral Movement, Shelby Smith, and Hill’s musician daughter Scarlett. Guyton, who plays both a target and a villain, says the experience “the importance of being just as strong and supportive toward yourself as you are to others.”
Though the pandemic led to cancellation of SWAN Day CT 2020, its planned theme of supporting domestic abuse survivors is still relevant. Donating to Sarah Speaks, which the event was intended to benefit, is one way to pitch in.
Hill’s forthcoming album, Gaslight Noir, will feature songs about encounters with narcissists. She’s also working on a book of her adventures in indie music.