Bridget Everett and Kenny Mellman: Sexercise Live!
Wed Feb 6 2008
Photograph: Dick Mitchell
Joe’s Pub; Sun 10, Feb 17, Feb 24
This evening is subtitled “A Tribute to the Potty-Mouthed and Profound Millie Jackson,” and we can only wonder why it took so long to happen: The pairing of performers and subject is just spot-on. Bridget Everett va-va-voomed her way onto the New York scene last year with her solo show, At Least It’s Pink. If you read a subtext in that title, rest assured you’re meant to—Everett seems to think double entendres are good, but single ones are better. Jackson, for her part, made her name in the early 1970s with liberated, bawdy R&B; but beyond the raunch, the singer’s main topic was hypocrisy. She raged against it on her 1971 single “A Child of God” (which Antony has covered live in the past), and it lurked behind all of her explicit, often uproarious dispatches from the war between the sexes. “She owned her sexuality without guilt,” explains pianist and coconspirator Kenny Mellman. “But there was also a clowning aspect to her projected personality that I think marginalized her.”
Jackson’s “raps” were her trademark, monologues spoken over simmering funky business and usually landing smack in the middle of ten-minute-long multipart epics; the “Logs and Things” soliloquy (“I’m declaring my independence, my right for a man to offer me a Tiparillo—oh yes, I’m gonna be smokin’ ”), for instance, was the ham between two slices of brioche titled “Keep the Home Fire Burnin’ ” and “Put Something Down on It.” We trust that Everett and Mellman will turn the Millie heat right back on.