Ann Magnuson is a Los Angeles-based actress, singer, writer and performance artist working in a myriad of media including TV, film and on stage in theatres, festivals, cabarets and art spaces around the world. She has performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Whitney Museum of American Art (where she performed her 5-hour “Tribute to Muzak” in the museum’s elevator), the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, NYSF/The Public Theater and Joe's Pub; the Hammer Museum, REDCAT, LACE and The Steve Allen Theater; Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum; Walker Art Center, Andy Warhol Museum, and in theaters, clubs and art galleries worldwide. Her performance at The Ice Hotel in Sweden’s Arctic Circle, part of an arts festival curated by artist Jeffrey Vallance, was made into a short film titled “In Search of My Blonde Roots” (in collaboration with director Matthew Amato.)
Ann Magnuson currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, architect John Bertram. Born and raised in Charleston, WV, Ann received a BFA in Theater & Cinema from Denison University and studied theater in London at the British and European Studies Group. She came to New York City in 1978 as an intern at The Ensemble Studio Theater and soon became part of the seminal art, music and performance scene that exploded in downtown New York City in the 1980s. There she ran the now-infamous neo-Dada cabaret space Club 57, was president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Lower East Side and started the all-girl percussive ‘orchestra’ Pulsallama. She performed regularly in downtown theaters, galleries and clubs including the The Mudd Club, Danceteria, The Pyramid Club and CBGB. In addition to her many bands and solo work, Ann collaborated with performers Eric Bogosian, Kestutis Nakas and Joey Arias in numerous shows.
She also made several short-form videos, most notably "Made for TV” (premiering in 1984 on the PBS show "Alive From Off Center") and has recently been featured in exhibits about the East Village at the New Museum and New York University’s Grey Art Gallery as well as in the 2008 exhibition “Punk: No One is Innocent” at the Kunstahalle in Vienna. She also co-wrote and starred in Vandemonium (1987), a surreally comic special for Cinemax and acted in several independent films including Beth and Scott B's Vortex and Sara Driver's Sleepwalk.
Her many Hollywood film credits include The Hunger (opposite David Bowie), Making Mr. Right (opposite John Malkovich), A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon (opposite River Phoenix), Clear And Present Danger, Cabin Boy, Glitter, Before and After (opposite Meryl Streep), The Caveman’s Valentine (opposite Samuel L. Jackson), The United States of Leland and Panic Room. She has appeared in many independent films including Still Breathing, Ghostlight, Chasing Tchaikovsky, Gregg Araki's new film Kaboom!, and is currently shooting Woman's Picture with Memphis based filmmaker Brain Perra.
She was a series regular on the ABC-TV sitcom Anything But Love (playing the eccentric magazine editor of Jaimie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis) and has acted on numerous TV shows including Frasier, CSI: Miami, The Drew Carey Show, the HBO series From The Earth To The Moon, and Our House (opposite Doris Roberts).
Off-Broadway credits include The Vagina Monologues and Four Dogs and a Bone as well as her own one-woman shows, You Could Be Home Now and Rave Mom. She also starred in the LA premiere of the Amy and David Sedaris play The Book of Liz.
Ann has been in several bands including the sardonic folk trio Bleaker Street Incident and the heavy metal group Vulcan Death Grip. She was the lead singer and lyricist for the psycho-psychedelic band Bongwater with whom she released five albums. Her solo album The Luv Show was released on Geffen Records in 1995 and her new CD, Pretty Songs & Ugly Stories, is currently being distributed by Asphodel Records. She is currently working on material for a new CD.
Ann has appeared as a guest vocalist on a myriad of recordings. She is featured on The Tindersticks album Curtains (singing with Stuart Staples in the duet Buried Bones) and recently contributed vocals and spoken word to Fisherspooner’s new album. She has also appeared as an actress in music videos most notably as Annie in the Redd Kross video Annie’s Gone and as the Goth chick tormenting Alice in Chain’s Jerry Cantrell in his video for My Song. (Both can be seen on YouTube.)
Ann has also written for magazines as varied as Artforum, BUST, VOGUE and Condé Nast Traveler and for eight years wrote a monthly column titled “L.A. Woman” for Paper magazine (as well as blogging on papermag.com).
Ann has been working increasingly in the art world and guest-curated the December 2007 show at CUE in New York City which featured LA-based artist and musician Phranc with whom she also performed. Ann has recently been creating visual art and has shown that work in group shows at Art Queen in Joshua Tree, CA (where she has a second home) and had her first solo art show there in April 2009. In 2007 she premiered her ongoing serial “Time Traveling Hooker” at the Joshua Tree Saloon as part of Andrea Zittel's High. Desert. Test. Site event and created a video installation for the 2008 HDTS that was shown in Room #8 (the Gram Parsons ‘death suite’) at the Joshua Tree Inn.
Ann hosted the second annual West Virginia Music Hall of Fame awards on November 6 in her native state. (She hosted the inaugural event in 2007.) She performed at REDCAT in October 2008 in a show with Adam Dugas called DUELING HARPS which was had it’s first workshop performance at the Steve Allen Theater in LA in September 2007. She also frequently performs in Robbie D's Telekinesis Cabaret in L.A.