It always feels incredibly decadent to go out to the theater on a 'school' night, but that was exactly what I did on Wednesday, and to a show that greatly exceeded my fairly modest expectations: Margaret Cho's The Sensuous Woman. I'm kind of allergic to stand-up comedy (in fact high up on my list of dislikes should be people handing out flyers to comedy clubs--and comedy clubs themselves...), but this really was hilarious, a wonderful mix of great material very effectively delivered by Cho and others and the most delightful burlesque acts. There's a serious underlying point about the miraculous variety of female body types, but it never gets foolish or sentimental because of the sharpness of the material (this is in contrast to a quite awful Eve Ensler show with similar aspirations that I saw a few years ago and hated, Ensler made me have my most stony-faced hard-hearted unwillingness to laugh).
Several of the women in particular really have the most extraordinary figures, like nothing you will ever usually see and quite lovely. Two of my favorites (I've just updated the first one with a better picture, I did not realize the other one would come out so small):
Dirty MartiniSelene Luna
(I couldn't stop thinking during the show about how much my friend Helen would have loved it. I've been thinking a lot about Helen recently--I had a dream last week in which I was delighted to recognize the skyscape familiar to me from two of Helen's animated films, "Scratch and Crow" and "Mouseholes," with interesting objects like chickens and gravestones and teapots floating through a scratchy black sky. Helen's films will be shown on Oct. 24 in New York at the Anthology Film Archives; do take this chance to see them if you're New York-based and have any leaning this way, they are absolutely magical.)
Cho's show is at The Zipper Factory, and I strongly recommend it if you want to see something bawdy, hilarious and visually delightful; also there is a rather lovely restaurant next door these days, traditionally that stretch of West 37th St. has been something of a gastronomical wasteland so make note of an excellent place to eat between 8th and 9th Avenue. The food was very satisfactory (I had rather delicious steamed mussels with coriander and cilantro, and my dining companion had brisket!), but the space itself could legitimately lay claim to being a top-ten most-beautiful dining experience, it's got the feel of the old zipper factory (for real) with some rather lavish and lovely and mildly theatrical/set-dressy interior decoration (sort of open to the theater next door, as far as I could tell, so that most of the performers were passing through as we ate our meal). Check it out if you find yourself in the neighborhood...