Poorgrrrl Has Miami Scratching Heads and Shaking Booties

She asked me to meet her at dusk.

Why dusk?

“Because watching the sunset here is so nice,” Poorgrrrl says, earnestly pointing out the hues of bright orange and indigo as we sit on the porch of her Wynwood home. “Look at how beautiful those colors are — that’s some Miami shit.”

After weeks of wondering who Poorgrrrl was, I had finally gotten my answer.

I became aware of her back when I looked over this year’s III Points lineup. I searched her name in Google, and her Instagram account popped up. It didn’t really answer any of my questions — in fact, I probably was more confused than ever.

"It's sometimes about making noise sound palatable."

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Finally, the Sunday of III Points, I bumped into a friend and told her I was thinking of checking out Poorgrrrl’s set because curiosity was getting the better of me and if she had any clue who this was. “Yes, you know her. Tara Long, the performance artist.” She went on to explain that Poorgrrrl was Long’s Miami grifter persona and musical side project.

Long is a Miami-based experimental performance artist and part of the artist collective Tvvinhaus. One of her most memorable art performances was part of Southernmost Situations’ Redacted Love show at Emerson Dorsch last year when she and fellow artist Misael Soto performed as a pair of suburban Miami teenage lovers at a party.

In some ways, Poorgrrrl is an extension of Long’s role in Redacted Love, except that through her performances and music releases, the public is getting a more fleshed-out backstory of the character.

So what does Long want people to know about Poorgrrrl?

“Not much,” she says at her Wynwood home. She’s sitting alongside her musical collaborator Andrew Byrd (he also goes by the aliases DJ Buddy Boy and Byrdipop), Space Tapes’ chief marketing officer David Sinopoli, and self-anointed “fan girl” Monica Lopez De Victoria of the TM Sisters.

“Right now, Poorgrrrl is trying to embrace the moment,” Long explains. “She comes from inside of me... She was born on Instagram.”

Long doesn’t speak of Poorgrrrl as some character she jumps in and out of. In many respects, Poorgrrrl is essentially Long, and she insists the project will “figure itself out in public.”

What is certain is that Long and Byrd take the music seriously. Rooted in noise, Long’s vocals melt in and out of Byrd’s chaotic musical landscapes, sometimes purposefully off-key. When it clicks, like on “ERRRRRRRRRRRRRROR” and “We Trashy,” the noise coalesces into something resembling a pop hook.

“I sound so fucking stupid.../What the fuck am I doing?.../Dumb shit over and over,” Long sings on “ERRRRRRRRRRRRRROR,” almost too self-aware of the track’s repetitive nature.

“It’s sometimes about making noise sound palatable,” Byrd says of the music. “It’s all very lo-fi and distorted. Things are off, and the keys aren’t really important. It’s all about the energy of the noise and the sound that comes from her voice.”

If there is one person they point to as an influence, Byrd says, it’s everybody’s favorite emotional rapper, Drake. (Long laughs when Byrd calls out the former Degrassi star.)

However, I don’t disagree with Byrd’s assertion even if it was said in jest. Because, as he proved with his video for “Hotline Bling,” Drake isn’t afraid to use the internet’s obsession with memes to rise to new viral heights. It seems only natural that Poorgrrrl, an IRL Tumblr GIF, could also figure out how to use the internet to her advantage.

“It’s the best thing I’ve heard in a long time because it’s so fucking unique,” Sinopoli says. “It’s really authentic if you know [Long and Byrd].”
When Poorgrrrl hit the stage the final day of III Points, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but the performance definitely piqued my interest despite the mounting exhaustion I was feeling. Surrounded by gyrating mamis, Long rap-sang-screamed her way through the set as Byrd stood behind his equipment on the side. It felt like a feverish dream in someone’s living room at a house party on another planet. And despite some technical difficulties, Long seemed like a natural performer in front of a crowd of at least 300.

That being said, when Poorgrrrl dropped her video for “Triptic” in October, not all of the comments were positive. But Long seems to take all of the criticism in stride.

“It’s not important if people like this or not. What’s important is that it’s coming from a real, true place of expression. I don’t have a background in singing or music or whatever, but I’ve always fucked around, with rapping, oddly enough, and flowing and writing. I don’t consider myself a rapper or a singer, but I do feel my voice is important and stay true to my voice — making sure there is this sense of individuality whether people like it or not.”

So what’s next for Poorgrrrl? Long says Pitiparti, Poorgrrrl’s first four-track EP, drops December 1, and a performance at the Institute of Contemporary Art’s opening party for Art Basel takes place the same day. She’ll also man a booth at Littlest Sister, the faux invitational art fair presented by Spinello Projects, as well as take part in one of the fair’s panels December 5.

“[Spinello] is allowing me to show another side of [the project], the visual side of Poorgrrrl,” Long explains of her involvement in the fair. “At the booth, there will be vinyl, posters from a high-fashion photo shoot I did, and a listening station where you can listen to the record... It’s sort of like an absurd merch booth in a way.”

Long is particularly excited to premiere her next music video, for “The BluézZz... Rn,” because she thinks it will finally give Miami a better explanation of her thoughts about Poorgrrrl.

“It’s much more digestible,” she laughs. “It will reveal a lot more of what’s going on. It’s a pretty personal and intense video.”


At Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami Opening Night. 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, December 1, 4040 NE Second Ave., Miami. By invitation only.

At Littlest Sister. Noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 1, through Sunday, December 6, at Spinello Projects, 7221 NW Second Ave., Miami; 786-271-4223; Admission is free. Also at the Littlest Sister Afterparty. 11 p.m. Saturday, December 5, at Libertine, 34 NE 11th St., Miami. Free with RSVP via Ages 21 and up.

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Jose D. Duran is the associate editor of Miami New Times. He's the strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's cultural scene since 2006. He has a BS in journalism and will live in Miami as long as climate change permits.
Contact: Jose D. Duran