Friday, June 27, 2008

Ben Lerman's Lecherous Ukulele

The Southern Exposure Gay Musicians Series has unceremoniously had to leave Blake's on the Park, here in Atlanta, and last night, it dropped in at FROGS Cantina, across from the east side of Piedmont Park. I attended a number of weeks ago, for the appearance of the fabulous Miss Zanna Don't, who has led me to a performer of a different kind. As I've mentioned before, I am not really an expert on club performances, so I will just offer a brief impression.

Ben Lerman is currently on his "Ukelear Meltdown Tour". Yes, the idea of touring gay clubs and cabarets with a ukulele may seem insane, if not acoustically retro, in this technically driven, over-mic'ed and lip sync'ed age of club entertainment. However, that only scratches the surface of this comic musician's act, which borders on performance art. Physically, he is the anathema of an "Abercrombie and Fitch club kid" that is still prevalant, even with the insurgent counter culture of "the bears", of which he is a self proclaimed member. Where his act is so comically subversive comes from his exceptionally appealing, unassuming, non-threatening and welcoming disposition, that belies his bawdy, if not downright raunchy and provocative lyrics! His appearance at Mondo Homo Dirty South 2008, which preceded the film, PANSY DIVISION: Life in a Gay Rock Band, prompted an online debate about his "political correctness" in his cover of Riskay's "Let Me Smell Yo' Dick", which I personally found borderline shocking, but wholly hysterical! At tonight's performance, he didn't go into that racially treacherous territory, but focused on gender, or more specifically, biology, which did prompt one of his fans to leave the room during "Pussy Pantry". This, too, was hysterical, if not sophomorically raunchy. But his lyrics have an educated wit about them that elevates what could be a bunch of "crotch jokes" to some classic, contemporary limericks. Also, his act is a journey to that "place". He introduces himself with "Na-Na-Na-Boo-Boo", an ironically self-effacing ditty, that boasts of his own attributes. As his set continues, he touches briefly on relationships and his youthful exploits, before he leads us to the bottom of the issue, so to speak. I think he is too eager to cross that line of offense to be considered "commercial" and so he is well on his way to cult status! Which is the best status to have, in my book!

Ben Lerman has an extensive touring schedule, which can be viewed at his MySpace page, and more information is available at his homepage,

Maxxxxx says
re BEN LERMAN: "Dooby dooby doo-ooo!"

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