Apparently the TCM team has a contest going on to see who can send me to the most unusual show. I’m on deck whenever they run into a schedule conflict or emergency. That’s how I found myself at the Cedar last night covering The Lady Parts Justice “Vagical Mystery Tour”. So TCM sent the “old white guy” to an event about abortion rights and women’s health.
I can talk about music all day long, but this was about more than some tunes. It is was about human rights and the last thing I wanted to do was “mansplain” issues, so being the smart guy that I am I asked my wife, what I should write about. The response: “You don’t have a Vagina, shut the F… up!” And you know what? That’s pretty good advice.
This is the second year of the Vagical Mystery Tour. Founder Lizz Winstead had something different in mind for Minneapolis. Since we have a ton of incredible talent in our town, why not invite them to join and sing the most sexist songs they could think of. Challenge accepted. The house band called “The Maneaters” and fittingly opened up with the Hall and Oates song of the same name.
After a short intro by Lizz Winstead, 2/3s of Bruise Violet were unleashed with the Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” followed by Laurie Lindeen (Zu Zu’s Petals) and Jill Sobule (complete with a reversible dress). A comedy bit by Sarah Hartshorne helped us laugh some of the creepy feeling away. She introduced me to my new favorite Minnesota food “Tater Titt Hot Dish”. There was also a group live video tweet (look it up).
I had never paid close attention to the lyrics of many songs but hearing them in the context of the show gave me some WTF moments. What were they thinking? “Under My Thumb” – performed by Tricky Micki. “Maid”? Really, Neil Young? You wrote a song about somebody keeping your house clean? And I liked Chastity Brown’s haunting version much better than yours, so take that…. As Brown put it: “This song is so pretty and it’s so f’ed up. He’s just whining about it “
Janey Winterbauer gave us “I used to love her but I had to kill her”, and the one and only Lori Barbero ventured out from behind hereusual drum kit to perform “Only women bleed”. Then Jenn Schaal took over for a bit more comedy. A rather creepy duet of “Baby it’s cold outside” followed before Tina Schlieske brought the house down with an incredible rendition of James Brown’s “This Is A Man’s World”. The entertainment part of the show ended with the full cast on stage and the audience singing “These Boots Are Made For Walking”.
But there’s more than entertainment to the this tour. A talkback with women’s health care providers and activists followed. Despite the seriousness of the issue, I found the overall mood good natured, humorous, and engaging. It opened my eyes to some of the issues women looking for help face. As a husband of 25+ years and father to 3 daughters I feel this is an important topic. It is about freedom of choice and respect for others.