You have one more chance (at least this time around) to see Lady Rizo’s new show, Multiplied, at Joe’s Pub before she jumps the pond to take her latest creative incarnation to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.
For those of you yet to experience Lady Rizo, the downtown chanteuse is a vocal powerhouse. Imagine a love child comprised of jazz vocalist Holly Cole, eccentric pop icon Lady Gaga, and through-the-rafter vocals of rocker Janis Joplin. That might come close, but Lady Rizo is an entity unto herself—a quirky product of a theatrically inclined hippy family that raised her to embrace her unique form of creativity.
Multiplied is the latest chapter in Lady Rizo’s life, as she contemplates the wonder of motherhood while still holding onto her nightlife persona. It’s a personal journey yet she manages to make the themes of motherhood universal; evident by the audience at the performance I attended last week, which felt like a casting call for a New York City street scene.
Her set is a combination of familiar songs (she opens with Prince’s “Beautiful Ones”), original compositions (“Loving in Color”) and esoteric discoveries that she transforms into endearing narrative (“I Have Never Loved Someone” by My Brightest Diamond). It is that last number—during which she breastfeeds her son—that Lady Rizo nuzzles the audience into her creatively nurturing breast. That might sound as if we all smoked a peyote peace pipe, but that’s the kind of lyrical, free-flowing vibe she gives off. It’s the juxtaposition of that diva-decibel voice that makes Lady Rizo such a find.
There are a few obligatory moments of shock value spattered throughout: the rubbing of an audience member’s head, kissing another woman on the lips after shoving a scarf down her throat. These sorts of antics are best left to the likes of Bridgett Everett or Pam Ann. A production gimmick that envelopes the audience in a symbolic womb feels a bit awkward (she admitted mid-show that they were ironing out the technicalities) while an onstage costume change under a backlit ameba-like curtain offered the opportunity to improvise about motherhood with an audience member.
Anecdotes like her fight with a fellow customer in IKEA over public breastfeeding keep Lady Rizo grounded in the world of the living, yet her voice soars heavenly upward, aided by her one-man band, Yair Evnine on cello, guitar and electronics. Lady Rizo reminds us through song and words that motherhood will always be entertaining, as long as you know how to tell a good story.
Lady Rizo: Multiplied
July 26, 9:30 p.m.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival