Without You I'm Nothing
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"You know," she says at the outset, looking straight into the camera," I have one of those hard to believe faces." Whether she's playing herself or any number of other outspoken characters in the film version of her Off-Broadway show, Sandra Bernhard's hard to believe face remains the one constant. First, she's a jazz vocalist, then a stand-up comedian, then a soul singer. Yet she is always Sandra--even if the MC repeatedly introduces her as Sarah--and the stories she tells come mostly from her own life. Other riffs concern such image-obsessed celebrities as Barbra Streisand and Andy Warhol. The musical performances and monologues take place in front of a black nightclub audience that feigns boredom the entire time. Songs include "Me and Mrs. Jones," "Little Red Corvette," and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" with John Doe in full-on "Rhinestone Cowboy" regalia. The stage bits are intercut with commentary about Bernhard from her manager (Lu Leonard) and actor Steve Antin (The Accused). Then there are the scenes of an attractive black woman walking around LA and the dance numbers featuring Madonna look-alike "Shoshanna." What does it all mean? Well, as Bernhard quips, "My father's a proctologist, my mother's an abstract artist. That's how I view the world." The R-rated Without You I'm Nothing was produced by Nicolas Roeg (who directed Bernhard in Track 29), features an original score by Patrice Rushen, and is (naturally) recommended for mature audiences. --Kathleen C. Fennessy --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
There's a point to be made here. Sandra tries to appeal her liberal worldview to an audience that doesn't completely see it. In L.A. she's playing to a predominantly black audience, trying to relate her ideas and comedy when all these people seem to want is "Shashonna," a Madonna-look-alike stripper. And even then, with Shashonna dancing to drum beats that resemble those from "Like a Virgin," there's not much to be said for the audience's enjoyment of the show. The scene in the club throughout the movie is dryer than a bone. A funny scene to catch is of a rotund man from the audience helping Shashonna out of her pants.
But, if she's going down, Sandra's going down with style and force, conveying everything from foul confidence to punctured vulnerability ... right to the point at which she's naked (literally), pleading with the audience for acceptance and, yet, somehow still swimming in the pool of her own transparent stardom.Read more ›
In this earlier incarnation, Sandra was the foremost artist of emotional abjection. A character who encounters rejection and misunderstanding everywhere, yet one whom the viewer soon identifies as easily the most intelligent person in the room. It is neither her religion nor her sexuality which marginalize her, but the particular pitch of her wit and her kaleidescopic view of cultural phenomena.
Sandra's scatter-shot talents range from singing to dancing to acting to writing, but, as this film demonstrates, the sum of her brilliance is greater than any one (though also brilliant!) part.
Sandra is a national treasure who might just change and even save your life. She is tragi-comedy incarnate. Support her artistic productions: as a one-of-a-kind artist, she is certainly an endanged species.
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