Student

Becca Kauffman

I’m a performance artist with a theater, music, and dance background based in Ridgewood, Queens. I am currently exploring the potential of live action role play (LARP) and avatar work to carve out new social and relational spaces and possibilities. I work primarily within my cultivated pop persona, Jennifer Vanilla (it/I), a world-building, gender-and-genre-fluid fantasy vessel through which I create original voice-oriented dance music, choreographed stage shows, musical albums, interactive radio shows, videos, and merchandise-as-conversation-pieces.

Jennifer Vanilla performances create sites of celebration and interpersonal realness in places like MoMA PS1, Bowery Ballroom, DIY basements across America, Queens Public Television, Times Square, public parks, natural landscapes, and surveillance cameras. JV has toured coast to coast and shared stages with Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney), Cindy Wilson (The B-52’s), Miho Hatori (Cibo Matto), Yaeji, YACHT, Dynasty Handbag, & more.

About Me

I’m originally from Cambridge, MA, and graduated from University of Massachusetts, Amherst with an interdisciplinary concentration in Performance Studies. I then moved to New York City and joined the experimental pop band, Ava Luna, writing, singing, recording, playing guitar and synth, and touring around the U.S., Europe, and Japan for the next ten years. After making a series of home music videos in my Brooklyn apartment and directing a dance play about ego death in a nightclub while an Artist in Residence at Otion Front Studio, I discovered Jennifer Vanilla inside of a dew drop in the forests of Jenniferia and committed myself fully to contempo-clowndom.

All my projects are catalogued at akajv.cargo.site, and the portal to all things Jennifer is @jennifervanilla, as well as bandcamp | youtube | soundcloud.

Jennifer Vanilla’s take on Mickey Mouse, if Mickey Mouse were the devil. Escapism is ok as long as we eventually come back, right?
Jennifer and Its Angels, performed at a music concert opening for !!! at Elsewhere, Brooklyn, 2021. With dancers Ry Eshel and Jo Warren.

Souvenirs for the Jennifer Vanilla experience, thrift store-sourced and hand-lettered since 2016. The full catalog lives here.

Social Souvenir Hotline with Jenny V. on The Lot Radio, Times Square, NYC 2021. A live hybrid radio show incorporating performance, spoken word, a DJ set, and an interview with a local resident named Clarence.

Social Souvenirs, 2021. A project-in-progress in which the souvenir is the socializing itself, manifested in a T-shirt gifted to the recipient in exchange for a conversation.