REVIEW: Big Freedia @ Public Works, SF 6/14/12

Public Works was crowded on Thursday night as the Hard French DJs spun a pleasing variety of 50′s and 60′s pop songs to open the much-hyped Big Freedia show. The DJ’s worked the crowd of mostly hipster lesbian couples and gay men into a two-hour long fervor as we waited for the spectacle that is Big Freedia to take the stage.

And just after midnight we got what we were waiting for…

Big Freedia, a popular transvestite rapper from New Orleans, and her entourage of dancers stormed onto the stage and began to rip into a loud, obnoxious, and often indecipherable set of songs. Freedia has a very limited arsenal of catchphrases and “almost rhymes” which she blats out incessantly. Her voice is quite deep but, alas, not her message. Freedia wants everybody to have a good time and, it seems, she wants everyone to get laid – or at least get down in some ass play.

And, to point out, when Freedia says “ass” she pronounces it “A’s.”

Freedia is accompanied by dancers who have the super human ability to shake their booties in unbelievable and mesmerizing ways. I’d be lying if I said I went to the show to see Big Freedia. Until I became aware of the copious amounts of gorgeous lesbian couples, my only focus was to wait for the ass shaking to begin. Trust me, I am fully aware of the level of misogyny I achieved. But it didn’t matter because the point of Freedia’s show is to (excuse my language) put the pussy on a pedestal. And, in her case, dicks and balls too.

It also seemed that the sea of gay spectators felt empowerment at watching Freedia prance and prattle and repeat her call tags: “Everybody, everybody; bounce, bounce; wiggle, wiggle; dougie, dougie; work it for Freedia; blaka, blaka, blaka.” And when she dropped into her one big hit, “Excuse,” Public Works erupted into a fervor accentuated by gyrating hips, spandex leggings, boyish haircuts, and thick rimmed glasses.

Freedia invited people of all shapes and sizes to come on stage and try their best to out-shake his dancers. One after another, small Harry-Potter-looking lesbians fled to the stage to try their hands (and hips) at Freedia’s dance moves. It was all in good fun; but there were no contenders in the audience last night. Freedia and her dancers reigned supreme. They’re like contortionists who’ve been rubbed with a belt sander; thigh flesh jiggled like Jell-O in the hands of someone with Parkinson’s.

Eventually Freedia’s show came to an end and so did my night at Public Works. I hadn’t been scratched or elbowed by any of the women I’d ogled (even though I got a few too many nasty glares.) And I’d been able to sneak in a flask of bourbon and smoke a few bowls on the dance floor. I enjoyed myself despite the not-so-good rap and constant demand for everybody, everywhere, to get their hands on the wall and work it for Freedia.