The Jones Family Retro Show
Maris Jones and Lavinia Jones Wright are two sisters who are rock and roll drag kings. They have been been dressing as men and making rock and roll videos for about two years under the name The Jones Family Retro Show. It started as a web series project honoring their love of classic rock and roll, the 70s and variety shows and talk shows like The Smothers Brothers and Dick Cavett. Like a true variety show, The Jones Family Retro Show web series features real and fake musical performances, fake interviews with our famous rockstar guests, commercial parodies, movie trailers, sketches and more hosted by The JonesBrothers: Maris and Lavinia dressed as their male counterparts Nick and Joe Jones.
As much as they love making fun of and honoring the last 60 years of pop culture, pointing out the ironies and silliness of TV, movies, advertising and music from the past, and doing it all through the lens of fun, in the Jones Sisters' words:
"At its core, the show came to be a statement about the fact that there was no representation of women in that world, and therefore very few roles for us to play unless...we embodied male characters. Our theme song explains that we wanted to have our own show in the 70s but when we got there, we realized that we couldn't as women, so we pretended to be men. That's the origin story of The Jones Family Retro Show. As we have been developing our larger concept for the show, we realized that not only are we inserting ourselves into the male-dominated rock and roll world, but we are also invading the world of male TV hosts (our major inspirations for the show were The Smothers Brothers and Tim & Eric). So with our online presence, we decided to make it fun and mysterious and to tease out the concept over time. It felt like a subversive approach. The uncanny valley of people realizing what we're doing has been exciting. They come for the rock and roll, slowly realize we are women, and sisters, and have to confront their feelings about that. In the process, a deeper realization dawns on them: that we HAD to become men in order to participate in this culture."
More About The Jones Sisters:
We primarily conduct our Instagram in character as The Jones Brothers, invested in the ruse of being men, and not wanting to be caught being sisters, to get at how our world of pop culture throughout history has been dominated by men. We incorporate feminist parody commercials (see Girl Water and Guy Fi) and other jabs at the issues via the hosts and our commentary about the guest bands ("On tonight's show we've got four men, because there's four of them. They're the Beatles!") Our hope has been that we'll have the opportunity to make an even larger statement and reach more people with it when the filmed show is produced for a bigger outlet.
We grew up as girls with a genuine, to the bone passion for rock and roll. It has been difficult for us as women to make people understand that we don't want to be with the band, we want to be the band. As actors we don’t want to be cast as the girlfriend, we want to be cast as Freddie Mercury and Brian May (see below: our Bohemian Rhapsody project.) We love rock and roll and these previous cultural eras so much, but we have had to confront that we don't have a place in it, but that just made us strive harder to have as much fun as possible doing this, to make that fun infectious for the viewer not exclusionary, and to reach as many young women as possible who have had similar experiences.
To that end, and in order to further pursue our message and to expand and nurture our community of artists and performers, we have developed The JonesFamily Retro Show into a series of live variety show performances in Brooklyn: The Jones Family Retro Show LIVE. Our live show has been an incredible opportunity to expand our political statement and the pure joy of this project. We have had the opportunity to include characters like a "woke" Roy Orbison who refuses to sing because there weren't any women on the bill and a male burlesque dancer who does a number about being a new dad. And our upcoming Knitting Factory show will be taking aim on a number of new archetypes such as 50s sitcoms, game shows and 80s rom coms, in addition to the always classic Rock and Roll themes.
Trolling Bohemian Rhapsody:
The Jones Family Retro Show has also embarked on a quest to get the attention of the Queen movie Bohemian Rhapsody. When the first trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody came out, we knew we had to remake it. Not just because we have been impersonating Freddie Mercury and Brian May both on the show and live onstage (and I believe we make a really fantastic Queen) but also because when movies like that come out it further illuminates how women continue to be excluded from the focus and the best roles in rock and roll history. We didn’t get the call to play any of the band members. Just sayin’.
To that end we make a shot-for-shot remake of the trailer starring us, and plan to continue to remake any marketing materials they release for the film until it comes out in the Fall.
The Jones Family Retro Show Online:
Bohemian Rhapsody trailer side –by –side with the original: