Those who came to hear Sandra Bernhard for her signature political commentary or lampoon of gender stereotypes may have found it somewhat lacking in the mix during her “Sandyland” performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
She seems to have come a long way from her beginnings in “Roger and Me”’s Flint Michigan or her catapult to nationwide stardom in that comic homage to the ups and downs of working class life we all knew and loved, “The Roseanne Show”.
Bernhard’s brand of cultural commentary these days seems to speak to that 10%, or perhaps 1%, among which she resides in Manhattan in an apartment with too little closet space. She’s overflowing with extemporaneous regrets about $7500 paid to Kabala consultants, one thousand dollars+ spent on skin lotions and potions, and many a trip to luxury lands in Hawaii or Europe--- NOT exactly the kinds of concerns that would make her the poster girl for the Occupy movement or even in the multitudes of less politically oriented homes similar to Roseanne’s where people just want to know a good laugh.
In a little black designer dress that we know is one of many in her collection, Bernhard tried out new material and sang several songs with “The Flawless Zircons” backup band.
We heard of her travails doing standup in places where they just don’t get her, difficult agents and her steadfast refusal to go along with the MCA’s administration by having dinner with some rich patrons instead of going shopping at Barneys.
How many of the 1% or 10% were in the MCA crowd is unknown. There were for sure Bernhard groupies in the crowd, seeming to laugh before Bernhard said a word and sending tweets from their seats, perhaps validating Bernhard’s girlfriend’s claim that she could do nothing on the stage and still be loved.
Having been treated to very edgy political and gender commentary on this same stage not long ago by Taylor Mac, MCA performance regulars may rightfully ask the MCA staff to revisit how it packages Bernhard’s show. Then again, given that she shared that she refused to dine with MCA patrons as the MCA Performances Director Peter Taub stood by in soldier’s pose in the shadows, she may not get a return invite any time soon.
Bernhard fans need not worry, however. She shared that she will soon be on another network TV show and that they still go to lengths to write in parts for her. She also shared her love of tweets and you can tune those in anytime.
MCA Performances of comedy, theater, dance, music and more continue throughout the year. For information or tickets call 312.397.4010 or visit the MCA website.
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Photos: Nathan Keay, copywright MCA Chicago, unless otherwise indicated.