On a sticky June afternoon at the Balloon Saloon, a party store in Tribeca, a casual shopper would have found an array of stick-on piercings, a host of glow-in-the-dark finger puppets, a shocking selection of fake excrement and one pop star giggling about it all.
Rina Sawayama wandered through the aisles squeaking with equal parts delight and mild horror, posing for pictures with mannequins before settling on two flags: a rainbow one, in honor of Pride Month, and, seeing as it was one of the British-Japanese artist’s last days in the United States for a while, a Stars and Stripes.
It was the final week of a pandemic-delayed tour supporting her 2020 debut, “Sawayama,” and she was feeling emotional. “I’m going to miss stories with the fans and just sharing that incredible energy in the space,” she said a few hours earlier, over lunch. “It’s almost like a relationship.”