Photographers: Therese + Joel/Hair & Makeup by Angela DiCarlo/Shot on location at Joe's Pub.
"This motherfucking train is about to go off the rails." - Bridget Everett
Downtown cabaret star Bridget Everett, who wrapped up a triumphant residency at New York City's Joe's Pub Friday night, is undeniably transgressive: A big-bodied, 42-year-old woman who offers up her sweaty sexuality without restraint, who swills chardonnay in a brown-bag on stage, who asks in song if this "dick makes my ass look big" before revealing a flopping cock under her dress. (Her drummer, part of a talented backing band augmented by two backup singers and, at one point, a twinky 20-something in nothing but a diaper, had a giant fake penis as well; she informed the audience, proudly, that he made it at home.)
But transgressive can be shorthand for empty boundary-pushing, the boring kind, the torrent of swearing and sex that registers as teenage tantrum. And while Everett undeniably traffics in the ostensibly shocking -- she introduced a story about flying out to visit her dying father with the offhand comment that "between the cancer and the Alzheimer's, it was a real gamble using my miles" -- her show,Rock Bottom, offered up the sort of lived-in transgression that you come into honestly after decades as a "slave job," a lifetime of figuring out who you are, of learning how not, as she so sweetly put it, to be a cunt.
And hell, this show was sweet. Between songs about casual sex with Ralph Feinnes and theories about the temperature of Gwyneth Paltrow's pussy -- the coldest in all the Hamptons -- there were multiple forays into the audience, where she picked out audience members like Gary, in a white beard and glasses, and told hilariously specific stories too wonderful to reveal here. (One lesson: Don't trust a hustler just because you both love "MacGyver.") By the end of the show, we were all chanting Gary's name, and we were watching a gay couple slow dance with our candles in the air, and we had given ourselves over to a 42-year-old woman with no bra who had finally emerged, fully-formed, on a stage in downtown Manhattan.
The hugely popular run of Rock Bottomis over, for now. But Everett is working on bringing the show back to Joe's Pub in July. Here's hoping we're so lucky.