One of the main reasons to see comedian/ actress/songstress Sandra Bernhard perform live is to find out whom she might single out from the audience. The last time I caught her act, a couple of rather crunchy Goddess-is-afoot types in the front row asked if they could caress her then-pregnant stomach. She verbally impaled them, and for that I love her.
Although she has had good turns at acting -- from her frighteningly hilarious role in the much-admired Kings of Comedyand her Sapphic stint on Roseanne -- she saves her best performances for the stage. And we're lucky to have her in the Bay Area with her current cabaret production, An Evening With Sandra Bernhard. If nothing else, she could single-handedly bring cabaret back to the mainstream, and for that I also love her.
Admission is $25-30
Mind you, though, this is no Andrea Marcovicci singing Cole Porter standards. If Sandra Bernhard's admiration for the cabaret and its performers is felt in her work -- with shout-outs frequently going to Liza Minnelli and Burt Bacharach -- she usually tells you so while bending the genre in unusual directions. Her repertoire has ranged from covers of Aerosmith, Heart, and Prince to her own songs, such as "On the Runway" -- a pretty damn funny spoof of supermodel-cum-vocalist (heh) Naomi Campbell eulogizing Gianni Versace. Not only can Bernhard liberally dish out her own sharp-edged interpretations of topical events, daily idiosyncrasies, and celebrity lifestyle; she also possesses a mighty fine set of vocal chords. One moment, her voice is lulling you into a wistful sigh; the next, she's knocking you back several rows with it.