The masked enigma known as The Residents
Active since the late ‘60s, The Residents are a legendary performance collective that’s remained one of the most unknown groups in any subheading of performance art despite being one of the most intensely celebrated. To this day they’re still very much an enigma, falling in the cracks between music and theater, celebrity and mystery.
For newbies to the group, The Residents are a melding of music and visual art, and in live shows typically feature four members wearing eyeball-shaped helmets or other face-obscuring adornments. Throughout its history, the group has kept the identities of its members a tight secret, with the only connection to the outside world through its aptly named management team, The Cryptic Corporation. So while The Residents may be considered outsider musicians with shifty origins—much like the infamously illusive Jandek—likewise the group has had a great influence on modern avant-garde dignitaries such as Animal Collective and Primus. Bringing their latest innovative show to Santa Cruz this week, The Residents perform at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, at the Rio Theatre.