Tammy WhyNot: a trailer park survivor who gave up a career in country music to become a lesbian performance artist
Tammy is dedicated to the facilitation of public engagement in social and economic justice and experimental forms of democracy.
Tammy has accompanied Lois Weaver since 1978 as Weaver’s alter-ego, performance partner and research associate. The character was conceived in The Lysistrata Numbah! created and performed by Spiderwoman Theater and born again in a caravan under the Brooklyn Bridge in a show called Upwardly Mobile Home, written and performed by Split Britches in 1984.
Tammy got her start in show business in the late 80s as a solo artist on the New York downtown performance scene appearing at WOW, PS122, The Club at La MaMa and the Limbo Lounge. Following that, she has appeared in the UK and around the world.
She made her first international appearance as mistress of ceremonies for Club Girrls at the ICA in 1994. After that she toured the UK with cLUB bENT, presented in association with It’s Queer Up North and Gay Sweatshop. Her London appearances include, Saturday nights at Duckie, Club Deviance at the Almeida Theatre, Tammy WhyNot’s X-rated Xmas Xtravaganza at Ovalhouse and Tammy’s Art and Beauty Salon and East End Collaborations at Queen Mary, University of London. She has also performed in Helsinki, Warsaw, Buenos Aires, Bogota, Rio de Janeiro, Montreal, Sydney and Los Angeles.
Tammy’s playful persona enables Weaver to directly engage audiences and community groups on issues such as education, class, human rights, feminism and femininity. She often provides a context for the exploration of uncomfortable and contested categories such as ‘trailer trash’ and ‘high femme’. Tammy is comically naïve but an enthusiastically self-proclaimed ‘learner’ and ‘non-expert’ who encourages people to engage in dialogue on difficult questions on the basis of curiosity and desire rather than conventional understandings of expertise.