All Hail the Coochie II: The One Coloredgirl Coochie Self Determination Circus | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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All Hail the Coochie II: The One Coloredgirl Coochie Self Determination Circus

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ALL HAIL THE COOCHIE II: THE ONE COLOREDGIRL COOCHIE SELF DETERMINATION CIRCUS, at Acme Art Works. This multimedia performance-cum-lecture on women's sexuality by educator and spoken-word artist Sharon L. Powell is nowhere near as, um, fuzzy in its politics as The Vagina Monologues. Far more ribald, it's also more specific about how to create a friendlier environment for coochies of all races--lotsa condoms, rubber gloves, self-esteem, and imagination. Powell revels in her own sauciness and still serves up generous dollops of history, referring several times to Sarah Bartman, the "Hottentot Venus" brought from South Africa to France in the early 1800s and exhibited as a freak because of her generous buttocks and labia; Bartman's sliced remains were returned to her native land only two years ago. (Her story also inspired Suzan-Lori Parks's play Venus.) The father of modern gynecology, J. Marion Sims, is both credited for his early work in studying gynecological fistulas (still prevalent among African women today) and nailed for his use of female slaves as early surgery subjects, often sans anesthesia.

At more than two hours (including intermission), Powell's piece suffers from pronounced shapelessness; some of the songs and spoken-word interludes grow repetitive. But a three-piece band shows some serious chops, and it's hard to argue with Powell's unvarnished truths, like "Do not fuck a man who gets on your nerves."

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