Now Playing

Live Art Piece Lets Big Girls Cry (and Laugh)

No stiff upper lips here.

It’s not necessarily a pretty sight, but that mascara-running-down-your-face, snot-bubbling-up, tears-turning-to-cackling-laughter fit of hysterics holds some serious therapeutic value. And artistic value, too.

At least that’s the idea behind a new group show from San Francisco art collective Repulsive Women, Laughing & Crying, being staged for two nights at the Z Space (Aug. 18–19). The show celebrates the cathartic benefits of a good breakdown and prods stereotypes about women’s emotional stability. “Hysteria is one of those things that we, as women, are pigeonholed as—irrationally emotional,” says cofounder Christine Crook. Playing up the campy, exaggerated aesthetic of the martini-spilling housewife, Crook says, “allows us to laugh at the female condition.”

The show includes musicians, dancers, comedians, and drag performers—as well as a sort of flash-mob “hysteria outbreak” with several archetypal female characters. Feel free to have a cry, too: The performers won’t judge you for it. 


Originally published in the August issue of San Francisco 

Have feedback? Email us at
Follow us on Twitter
Follow Gwendolyn Wu at