Cherdonna Shinatra: 'Are These Friends of Thine That Harken To Thy Words?' (Kissing Like Babies)! Oct 14, 2017

by Koushik Ghosh

She enters the stage to cackles, in pomp and adornment and yet in contrast, in ritual of an immaculate conception and yet in garish ceremony, at once Gabriel and Mary, the two-in-one of Annunciation, and swiftly moves from personal to the impersonal, in jagged shifts, dislocating and luring the audience to the comfort and retreat of 'babydom,' the chief Oracle of the Temple of Infinite Need and Unlimited Want, at once the temptress and the priestess, invoking the spirits in the audience, to usher in the Age of Infantilism, inviting the audience to succumb to play, to pay homage and get cuddly with the inner child. 

Cherdonna Shinatra has changed her votive offerings over the years. You will have to observe and decide if they are appropriate for you to pamper the infant in you, the privilege you think you deserve. She mostly mumbles and blabbers so that when she does speak it is loud and clear. But one has to pay attention since it is so comforting to enjoy the spectacle of her play. 

Cherdonna is not anxious to raise questions of justice related to gender, sexuality, patriarchy, but raises them nonetheless, in naturalistic ways, with the classical chorus, her playmates, her many, mostly cooing mothers, in tow, even as her father interrupts her play occasionally in measured tones, to provide her some perspective about the 'natural' order of things, protects her from self-harm, and then dissolves her drama into the soft twilight of nostalgia. 

Burlesque? Slapstick? A classical chorus in the age of modernity, employed to illuminate action? Easter bunnies or monsters? Tin soldiers or jazz band? You get to decide when you visit the Temple of Infinite Needs and Unlimited Wants with a Hint of Social Justice. 


Koushik Ghosh is an economist/poet/writer who is deeply interested in transnational issues, and the areas of social choice and justice. 


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