In the Pink
For a certain sensibility, trashiness has always had a certain kind of coolness. Naturally it depends on what you mean by trashy: Your former obsession with “The Anna Nicole Show” may not be the same as my fascination with Britney Spears’ pudenda flashing around the globe.
So while Bridget Everett doesn’t have Spears’ sartorial flair in her subterranean zone (we guess), in At Least It’s Pink—subtitled “A Trashy Little Show”—she packages her trashiness, then flattens you with her talent.
Of medium height, blond, zaftig and likely on the scarier side of 30, At Least It’s Pink is a cabaret show on coke, or as Everett would phrase it, “really good shit.” And because she shares writing credit with Kenny Mellman (aka Herb of Kiki and Herb) and her director Michael Patrick King, writer/director/executive producer “Sex and the City,” it’s not the usual “Here I am, listen to me sing” silliness, but a trippy theatrical tramp through Everett’s trashy life.
Whether Everett still waitresses at Ruby Foo’s Uptown or really loves singing karaoke is hard to know. She does have a breathy, soulful, down-home, crushingly sensual voice that takes the original songs she and Mellman have written and sifts them for earthy humor and pointed moments until you’re either disgusted or laughing or both. “Canhole” is my favorite—halfway through, Everett unceremoniously drops her drawers, and there she is, in a leather bustier and not much else. She’s not the svelte American girl corporate America sells us, but the American woman as she is. Well, if women were to talk about trolling on the Web for well-hung men of color at 3 a.m.
Everett sings songs with titles like “Big Girl,” “Special Lady,” “2 For 1 Special” and “Back-Stabbing Bitch,” and if any sentiment creeps in, she destroys it—like a tornado decimating a trailer park.
Other elements help Pink differ from your typical cabaret act. For example, Everett’s first accompanist is an African-American fellow named Simon who may also be an object of her lust. Not long after her drawers have descended during “Canhole,” with Everett furiously jiggling her mountainous butt, Simon stops playing: No, baby, he’s not up for a “Baby Got Back” moment. And so he leaves. After an extended interlude with Everett interacting with the audience (I’ll keep secret what she does), Mellman enters in what seems like a final attempt to rein Everett in. He’ll fail, and you know it’s all staged, but you buy into the shtick anyway.
By the way, don’t underestimate Mellman’s contributions to the show. Furious hard-driving chords, lyrics that weirdly scan, flashes of scatological wit, the endless swigs that Everett takes from a bottle of something or other—these are all Kiki and Herb hallmarks. And while Kiki & Herb will always remain the king and queen of downtown subversion, this is subversion of a different sort. Everett isn’t like all the cabaret trash out there, with all that crooning of the same old tunes and reminding us why they’re the lesser lights of Broadway. Everett may be trashy shit, but the girl’s got game.
Through March 11. Ars Nova, 511 W. 54th St. (betw. 10th & 11th Aves.), 212-868-4444, $25.
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