and Animal, Susan Powter
to put it mildly, is no run-of-the-mill club show. Those
of you already familiar with these performers know what
we’re talking about; those of you who have missed out on
either Bitch and Animal or Susan Powter—who will play Valentine’s
on Saturday—just have no idea.
The iconoclastic, feminist folk act Bitch and Animal mix
genres and styles so brazenly that you may just be inclined
to take at face value their professed origins, which lie
“in the waning decades of the last decade [when] the sperm
of a metallurgist and the sperm of a math teacher mixed
with the eggs of a tap dancer/choreographer and a kindergarten
teacher/artist.” The duo’s hybridization of outspoken political
folk, Depression-era country, jam-band exuberance and socially
conscious hiphop—unlikely as it may be—has drawn consistent
critical praise, not to mention the attention of the Righteous
Babe, Ani DiFranco. After an opening slot for DiFranco in
Amherst, “Massatwotits,” the band were asked to stick around
for the rest of the tour, and DiFranco produced their sophomore
album, Eternally Hard.
Bitch and Animal’s newest release, Sour Juice and Rhyme,
adds to the mix spoken word and storytelling, better approximating
the freewheeling, almost cabaret-style anarchy of their
live shows. The celebrations of womanhood are still there
(“Areola Prayer”), as are the unflinching diagnoses of societal
repressions (“Secret Candy”), but so too are odes to less
controversial pleasures (“Croquet”).
Rumor has it that this will be Bitch and Animal’s last tour:
They’re parting to pursue individual interests. So, strike
now while the iron is hot, fans and potential fans. You
may not get another chance. And even if the rumors of their
demise are exaggerated, you likely will never get to see
a double bill quite like this one.
On Saturday, Bitch and Animal will be joined by Susan Powter,
who first came to national attention as the shock-haired,
high-energy, infomercial diet queen demanding that we “stop
the insanity.” The controversial weight-loss guru (at the
height of her fame she was criticized for having plastic
surgery) has taken on a much broader mission: In her newest
book, The Politics of Stupid, Powter takes on wholesale
lifestyle revision, and advises women on how to use their
power as “85 percent of the consumer market” to become “queen
of the aisle.” She’ll perform excerpts of her one-woman
comedy show, also titled The Politics of Stupid.
Bitch and Animal, and Susan Powter, will play Valentine’s
(17 New Scotland Ave., Albany) on Saturday (March 6). Tickets
for the 7:30 PM show are $12. For more information, call
50 years ago by distinguished Guinean choreographer Keita
Fodeba, Les Ballets Africains are widely regarded as Africa’s
most accomplished touring company. Les Ballet Africains
blend traditional dance, acrobatics and storytelling to
the sounds of tribal instruments in their energetic performances.
When the Republic of Guinea became independent, they became
Guinea’s national ensemble and have acted as its cultural
ambassadors, using intense touring to help foster a better
understanding of Africa. And audiences worldwide have been
charmed by their cheerful costumes, powerful drumming, and
Les Ballets Africains will perform at the Egg (Empire State
Plaza, Albany) on Sunday (March 7) at 4 PM. Tickets are
$22 for adults, $17 for seniors, and $11 for children. For
reservations and information, call 473-1845.
has been a major transportation artery, a link first for
upstate New York settlement and then the original gateway
for mass western expansion. It has been a source of limitless
inspiration, from 19th-century artists to 21st-century balladeers.
It has also been a public and private dump, and it’s in
our own backyard.
We’re referring to the Hudson River, the subject of a new
documentary to be broadcast Wednesday evening on WMHT. Produced
by John Campbell, Paul Frederick and Artie Traum, Hudson
River Journeys explores the past through the eyes of
two artists. Painter Len Tantillo is a noted history painter
whose re-creations of life on the river reflect the real
people and industries that lined the Hudson’s banks. American
music icon Pete Seeger, who put considerable effort over
the last four decades into efforts supporting the river’s
cleanup, is an artist who poured the river into his music.
According to WMHT, the film is “a passionate look at the
people and places, now and then, that made the Hudson River
what is today,” and helps point the way to what it can become
River Journeys will premiere Wednesday (March 10) at
8 PM on WMHT (Channel 17), and will be repeated the following
Friday (March 12) at 8 PM. For more information, visit www.wmht.org.