I’m going to briefly interject this snippet into my Art Deco series, because it was a really cool event and there’s just one more night (tonight!) if folks are interested…
I went to the Oakland Vagina Monologues at the Uptown last night, a fundraiser for the creator Eve Ensler’s organization V-Day, dedicated to ending violence against women and girls worldwide. As I walked through the door of the club I was greeted by a large pink furry vagina, wearing pumps and pink socks no less, who hugged me and offered a Hershey’s chocolate kiss. Why, thank you Miss Vagina, I said.
Continuing into the club, gorgeous women of all shapes, colors, and sizes scurried about in t-shirts blazoned with the motto – I hella ♥ Vaginas. The collective empowerment was palpable!
The show is a series of monologues gleaned from Eve Ensler’s interviews with a wide range of real women: seniors, six year olds, sex workers, women who’ve suffered abuse, or women who’ve simply been fascinated or mystified by the power of the vagina.
Beautifully performed by local activists rather than professional actors, pieces turned from deeply self-revealing stories of shame, acceptance, and celebration – both tragic and humorous in the telling, to tales of reverence for the vagina’s ability to carry forth precious life into this world, to a hilarious catalogue of the various moans of ecstasy, to a beat-poetry-inspired reclamation of the word “cunt,” that will have you cheering the c-word at the top of your lungs at its end. As one who has always shied from the blunt force of the word and its negative implications, I surprised myself with this celebratory outburst.
And that’s the beauty of this show… despite that fact that all humans were borne through them, all women have them, and most men covet them, you will still be surprised by the breadth of experience and emotions surrounding this simple body part. Ensler’s monologues shine a warm illuminating light on a topic long shrouded in darkness and secrecy, and though the evening isn’t all fun (there are some deeply disturbing facts shared about the prevalance of rape, violence against and sexual torture of women around the world, including right here in our own United States), the balance seems right, and the message, undeniably important.
The primary beneficiary of the two-night event is local Oakland-based A Safe Place, a volunteer organization that provides housing, crisis counseling, referrals and information services to battered women and their children. They will receive 90% of the proceeds, while the remaining 10% will be used to benefit the City of Joy project, part of this year’s “spotlight campaign” in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The project supports women survivors of sexual violence to heal, and provides them with opportunities to develop their leadership through innovative programming including group therapy, storytelling, dance, theater, self-defense, comprehensive sexuality education, and economic empowerment.
If you’ve never seen this show, or even if you have, please come support these organizations in their good works. Grab your mom, grab your girlfriends, even grab your guyfriends (I was amazed how men in the audience laughed when I laughed, gasped when I gasped – we’re really not all that different y’all), and high-tail to the Uptown.
Uptown Nightclub is located at 1928 Telegraph Ave in Oaktown (cross street 19th)
Doors: 7pm, Show: 8pm
$20 The Uptown
Tickets seem to be unavailable on Ticketweb, so you may want to call to see if it’s Sold Out. Folks were buying at the door last night with no problem.