City Paper did it. The Rage did it. The Tennessean did it. The Scene did it. When it came time to promote The Vagina Monologues, the all-woman play staged last weekend at Benton Chapel at Vanderbilt University, Nashville's print media didn't pussyfoot around. But none of the local TV stationsWSMV, WTVF, or WKRNwere as accommodating, refusing to preview it or even report on it.
The problem? Assignment editors and producers told reps from the Actors Bridge Ensemble that it was against station policy to promote local productions. When it was pointed out that The Vagina Monologues was being simultaneously presented on more than 150 college campuses around the country as part of a national initiative to end violence against women, they still didn't bite. When it was further pointed out that all the monies raised by the three Nashville performances would stay in Nashvilledirected toward the Magdalene Project and The Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violencethe stations still demurred.
So the Crier can only speculate that it had to be The V Word. Obscene? Offensive? Inflammatory? Pornographic? Puh-leeze. At the very least, the collective TV fear is false modesty, but the Crier thinks it is, well, blatant hypocrisy.
After all, in television land, where the popular operating coda is "If it bleeds, it leads," it's perfectly permissible to say The M Words (murder, mayhem, mangle, maniac). The R Words (rape, rob, rip, rumble, rampage). The P Words (plunder, pound, pummel). The B words (beat, bash, batter, bludgeon, brutalize). The S Words (shoot, slash, strike, smash, slam, slaughter). The W Words (whip, whack, whoop, wallop). Apparently, as long as V stands for violence, it's hunky-dory, especially during sweeps.
The lack of foreplay from the broadcast media didn't hurt Vagina, which not only sold out, but oversold all three performances, generating plenty of body heat in the Benton Chapel pews. The Crier, who attended Saturday night's finale, noted a definite lack of penis envy among the hundreds of women present. The female-to-male ratio was about the same as one might find on any Sunday afternoon at the Off-Broadway Shoe Warehouse (except during Titans' season, when local menfolk put their collective feet down and take refuge in their La-Z-Boys).
In addition to monologues on topics that included hair, arousal, anger, lesbian love, orgasms, and rape, New Age sensitive guysincluding Man About Town Brad Schmittalso got the inside scoop from the baker's-dozen-strong cast on what the actresses' vaginas would wear, say, and smell like.
The Crier suggests that next year, Actors Bridge might sweeten the pot by sending over some Vagina swag to local TV-news decision-makers, along with their pitch. The pink-tinged, white-chocolate, anatomically correct lollipops available for purchase in the lobby were especially popular, offering proof of another media adage: Sex sells.
The Heart Gala is one of Nashville's most enduring black-tie fundraisers. For years, it has followed the tried-and-true pay-party formula of cocktails and a silent auction, followed by a sit-down, three-course dinner, followed by some form of entertainment, followed by dancing to a society band. Ho hum, wake me when it's over.
The American Heart Association apparently was trying to pump some new life into the rather predictable affair this year, but the prescription for a party transplant nearly prompted a massive case of cardiac arrest among the well-heeled crowd of about 1,000 last Saturday.
Dinner plates had been cleared when dessert was served in the form of a lingerie fashion show of diaphanous designs by New York designer Josie Natori that rivaled Victoria's Secret in their unabashed exhibitionism. One assertively single and heterosexual male attendee described it as "soft-core porn" with scantily-clad young models prancing, jiggling, bouncing, and sashaying up and down the runway in an eye-popping display of their undeniablethough not entirely naturalassets. (Suspicions were running high that the show might have been sponsored by a coalition of Nashville plastic surgeons.)
One particularly perky model showed more bounce to the ounce when she lost not one, but two, straps of her negligee midway down the runway, treating gasping spectators to a little more titillation than one usually expects at the Opryland Hotel.
A Heart Association staffer, defending the decision for models to bare nearly all, described the clothes not as lingerie but as loungewear. Which only leads the Crier to wonder exactly which lounge she is frequentingBooby Bungalow?
To whispah in the Crier's ear, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The Crier is compiled by Scene writers and edited by Liz Garrigan, who can be reached at 244-7989, ext. 406.
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