(2) Exposures: "The Besides" & "Velvet Chitlin'"

(2) Exposures: "The Besides" & "Velvet Chitlin'"
Patrick's Cabaret

Sexuality and greeting cards bookend (2) Exposures, an evening of new works by performers April Andrews and Bianca Pettis. Andrews is a poet at heart, but her "Velvet Chitlin'" seems more the result of a heavenly collaboration between Anaïs Nin and Josephine Baker than your garden-variety spoken-word effort. What begins as a series of connected thoughts--Andrews transferring her real-life flight-attendant experience to a slave ship and enumerating the reasons she loves to smoke--soon coalesces into a rhythmic meditation on the essence of "dykerotica." Andrews is so celebratory of her sensuality that you can't help but be drawn into her one-woman party. She conjures up the spirit of Venus Hottentot; wishes hard for a baby with "wandering wooly hair...and a nose with tiny nostrils so far apart the bridge has a purpose"; and richly compares her "funky/full of legacy" sexual self to the "acquired taste" of chitlins. The edges are rough, transitions jar at times, and a mid-show dance sequence breaks the flow, but Andrews still comes off smooth as satin sheets.

Pettis's antic work "The Besides" is an original shaggy-dog story about Luna May Hopkins, a small-time greeting-card entrepreneur who grabs the corporate tiger by the tail. Using comedy to full effect, Pettis portrays a Barbara Walters-like news reporter who narrates Hopkins's travails with the help of some funny but overused video clips (all featuring the performer in various roles). Pettis is young, still easily distracted by the curveballs of an opening-night show, but her humor is rich. The show's fake greeting cards ("Heard about your urethra [surgery]--Easy come, easy go") should be marketed to some dark subsidiary of Hallmark.

(2) Exposures runs through April 4 at Patrick's Cabaret; call 222-2738.

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