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Jewish Journal

Even Maidelehs Don Pasties

by Keren Engelberg

February 24, 2005 | 7:00 pm

"Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad."

"Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad."

Jewish girl stereotypes get tossed -- including one you might have heard about them being prudes -- when "Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad" makes its West Coast debut this Thursday night at Tangier.

As creator and emcee Susannah Perlman describes it, the variety show features comedy, spoken word, music and burlesque acts that speak to the Jewish condition, performed by women who have appeared on Comedy Central, HBO, MTV and late night television.

Vanessa Hidary presents a spoken-word piece about being a "Jewish Mamita" (a Jewish girl who doesn't look Jewish at all), and a dreadlocked singer/songwriter Michelle Citrin plays folky, melodic music.

"One of the things in bringing these women together is that they were very unconventional in what one thinks of as a Jewish woman," Perlman said.

The show is very much about "defying stereotypes and at the same time embracing them," she added.

Which brings us to the burlesque dancers.

Yes, Perlman affirmed, women will be removing their clothing in an act titled "Hassidic Strip." Only pasties and men's "tighty-whities" with blue stars of David will remain.

"When you tell people there are going to be Jewish women taking off their clothes you get a better crowd than Kol Nidre," Perlman said.

But she also described the show as a celebration of being Jewish, even if it's "not as kosher."

"I think there are a lot of secular Jews who are looking for things to connect culturally and they don't want to do the synagogue or JCC singles mixer. These things are a little played out for this type of crowd," she said.

The burlesque, she said, is just "tongue-in-cheek fun."

Rounding out the night's festivities with some klezmer that rocks will be Golem, the hip Jew's answer to Eastern European shtetl music.

Because, as Perlman put it, "Even hipsters need community."

March 3, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at The Fold at Tangier in Silver Lake. March 4, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. The Don Cribb Theater in Santa Ana. www.nicejewishgirlsgonebad.com.

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