Funny Valentine

Just a couple of quick reviews of some shows I got to see over the Valentine's Day weekend:

Saturday night, I headed over to the Music Box theater to see the irrepressible Michelle L'amour and her Chicago Starlets put on one hell of a Burelsque Revue by the name of Belles and Whistles. In addition to the usual bevy of disrobing damsels, L'Amour and producer Franky Vivid really made this into an old-school vaudeville revue par excellence. Visiting acts such as slapstick troupe The Oona Tramps, amazing beat-boxer Yuri Lane, and the hilarious acrobatics of Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey made this a show absolutely jam-packed with talent. The depression-era opulence of the Music Box was a perfect fit for this type of Orpheum-circuit shenanigans (one of my favorites; the starlets doing an amazing and intricate ensemble number involving some nude pulchritudes and strategically placed canvases). L'amour and crew promise to bring this revue back later in the year, so make sure you keep tabs on their website. 

On Valentine's Day proper, I was lucky enough to catch Ms. Sandra Bernhard's cabaret act at the Lakeshore Theater. I had known Ms. B only by reputation and her appearances on the old Roseanne show, so wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I'm pleased to report I was utterly blown away. In addition to her storied pipes and renditions of classics, Bernhard is one of the smartest comics I've seen in a while; her literacy is amazingly wide-ranged, referencing cultural touchstones both high and low (both Kate Gosselin and Gloria Steinem were name-checked). In a show that encompassed a dizzying array of stand-up styles --show biz raconteur, non-sequitur absurdism, ripped-from-the-headlines topical humor, agit-prop feminism-- Bernard managed to forge a unified and hilarious persona. There were many highlights for me (and even when newer material didn't work, Bernhard carried it off with signature panache) but it was her reminisces about her torrid affair with Brad Pitt and the subsequent musical number that struck me as most hands-down inspired set pieces I've seen in a quite a while. Be sure to catch her next time you have the chance. 



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