This Sunday, head down to the Turf Club for the next installment of the hilarious and extremely entertaining Chat Roulette Rap Show with performance artist/rapper/visual artist Michael Gaughan aka ICE ROD. It matters not whether you’ve visited the much talked about website that is the catalyst for Gaughan’s shenanigans, ChatRoulette.com; his alter-ego, a freestyle rapping, dorm room-bound college student named ICE ROD, is something you’ve simply got to see. And though Gaughan’s live Chat Roulette sessions on the stage of the Turf are quite creatively (and linguistically) impressive, the majority of his daily energy is spent teaching (Gaughan has a Masters in Art Education from the UofM) and working as a visual artist, whose brilliantly absurd and beautiful watercolor creations are becoming an increasingly hot commodity both locally and nationally.
We had a quick chat with this charismatic creative about Sunday’s event as well as what he’s currently working on as a visual artist…
The651: Can you explain the concept of Chat Roulette for our readers?
Michael Gaughan: ICE ROD (Michael Gaughan) sets up the stage to look like a dorm room (with “Bob Marley” and “Pulp Fiction” posters, a snowboard, etc) and uses a small inconspicuous microphone, sits on the bed, goes on the chat roulette website and free-style raps to the people on the computer. The whole show is improvised and one of the goals is to entertain the other person on the screen with a specialized rap for them. ICE ROD will lyrically describe visuals of that person, and also invites them to give a topic, engage in conversation, etc. The chat-partner is led to believe that ICE ROD is just a 22 year old kid in a dorm room, and they are having a private one on one rap session, while in reality it is a facade, set up in a crowded music venue, and the computer screen is projected so the crowd can see what the raps are referencing and also see / hear the chat-partner’s reactions. Audience members are welcome to come on stage and act as “dorm neighbors, RA’s etc.” and sometimes the web cam is swiveled to reveal to the chat-partner that they are in fact in front of a crowd.
What is the most memorable thing that’s happened during a CR event?
The most memorable thing from the chat roulette happened during the second show (Dec. 2011). I randomly stumbled into this dude from New Jersey…I was rapping at first when he came on, and then we just started chatting and he stayed with me on the screen for a while, and we kept trying to one-up each other. He was in his attic bedroom, and he was eating (a lot of mcdonalds, like several meals worth) and he was drinking…so I starting drinking my Iced Tea and eating the noodles my friend Colin gave me, He then took off his shirt and flexed muscles, so I pulled out my weight set and started lifting, he then panned the camera over to show his thick, beautiful, puerto-rican girlfriend popping and locking on the bed, so I quickly had people (girls) from the audience come up and dance on my bed, it was so fun and we were both really enjoying it… then I turned the camera to show him he was in fact in front of the whole crowd at the turf club, and he was screaming and saying “oh shit I’m on national t.v.” ha ha ha.
What do you have planned for this Sunday’s session?
What we have planned for Sunday is pretty much the same set up from last time, only we plan to start the show early, Jon Neilson plays first at 8:30, and I perform 9:30pm to 11:30pm. That way it’s not super late for the start of the work week.
You are also an amazing artist. Do you have anything cool coming up in that regard?
Ha ha thank you. I am doing tons of watercolor paintings. Pretty much all I do is make art and teach art. I recently finished album art for Diplo and Nicky Da B record, and I am doing some album artwork for my hero, Neil Hamburger, and some posters, t-shirt and album art for Margaret Cho. I do them all in watercolor. I am going to have some exhibits this summer. I will be part of several group shows, and I will have a solo show at the Burnet Gallery, the opening for that will be July 13th from 6-9pm. Besides that I am working with Charles Gehr to get an ICE ROD chat-roulette tour together which will happen in May. May 4th at the Turf, then off to the south and east coast and back. I’ve been applying for artist opportunities all the time. You put out like 32 things and get only 1 back. It is exhausting to keep getting rejected but it’s cool when that one thing comes through. You can’t give up. I just got rejected from the MAEP gallery at the MIA this month so I was bummed, but whatever, I’m gonna keep being me, doing what I do.
What are your favorite things about St. Paul? Other than doing Chat Roulette at the Turf, of course.
My favorite things about St. Paul are the Turf Club, playing shows at Big V’s in 2005. and of course the Como Conservatory, specifically the “tropical encounters” section. so sweet.
In the words of Emo Phillips…”aww Minneapolis with your exciting night life and restaurants and everything, and ahhh St. Paul with your exciting proximity to Minneapolis!!!!” ha ha ha Just kidding I love St. Paul.
For more info on Chat Roulette at the Turf this Sunday, April 1st, check out the Facebook event HERE.
To see more of Michael Gaughan’s artwork click HERE.