Object Shakes Up Neo-Feminist Conversation with Lady Party IV, Feb. 23, 2008

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Avant-cabaret performer Nellie McKay and one-woman showstopper Heather Woodbury join forces for thought-provoking, raucously entertaining evening of theater and song.

OBJECT, a fresh female forum bent on transcending the dogmatic women's politics of yore, welcomes all to Lady Party IV, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008, at 8 p.m. at the Bang Theater. The evening will present the final performance of Obie Award-winning playwright Heather Woodbury's one-woman show "The Last Days of Desmond 'Nani' Reese: A Stripper's History of the World" and will be capped off by an after-party featuring acclaimed singer-songwriter-pianist Nellie McKay.

Reservations for Lady Party IV are strongly recommended and can be made by calling (323) 653-6886. Tickets are $15. "Desmond 'Nani' Reese" audience members, who are guaranteed admittance to McKay's after-party performance, are urged to arrive by 7:45 p.m. Admission to the after-party only, at $10, may be available on a very limited basis beginning at 10 p.m. The Bang Theater is located at 436 North Fairfax Ave., in Los Angeles. The Lady Party IV after-party will be sponsored by super-premium V2 Vodka.

"We were thrilled by the turnout for our first three events and are very excited to build on that momentum with Lady Party IV," said OBJECT co-founder Lindsey Horvath (president of the Hollywood chapter of the National Organization for Women). "In the past, we've convened a more literal version of what we call The Conversation on current post-feminist topics, but for our next Lady Party, we're letting the art speak for itself."

In fact, "The Last Days of Desmond 'Nani' Reese: A Stripper's History of the World" is an OBJECT Conversation. The play unfolds as a series of interviews with a 108-year-old stripper conducted by a young, feminist academic in a decrepit Echo Park cottage in the year 2014. Directed by Abigail Deser, it will be performed every Saturday in February at the Bang Theater.

After-party headliner Nellie McKay, meanwhile, is a precocious, genre-bender renowned for the ingenuity of her music and the strength of her convictions, as illustrated by her vocal support for PETA and, most recently, the striking writers of the WGA. Since breaking onto the national scene with her critically lauded 2004 debut album, Get Away From Me (released when she was only 21), McKay has continued to earn raves for her witty compositions, which bear far-reaching influences, among them pop, jazz and show tunes. McKay's 2007 disc, Obligatory Villagers, skewers feminist stereotypes; standout "Mother of Pearl" could serve as OBJECT's theme song.

Remarked OBJECT co-founder Jill Soloway (writer/producer of "Six Feet Under," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Dirty Sexy Money"): "'The Last Days of Desmond "Nani" Reese' is a fantastic way to expand on The OBJECT Conversation; with this piece, Heather Woodbury has turned her poetry to the question at the heart of the organization: How do you say it - OBject or obJECT? We're exploring whether women gain or lose power by embodying our culture's expectations that we be sexually attractive. And we couldn't be more excited to have Nellie McKay's support in helping raise awareness of OBJECT's mission to further this discussion. Given her own work to overthrow gender stereotypes both in her music and her career, Nellie's performance will be the perfect finale for the evening.

OBJECT coalesced in 2007 after its founding members objected to billboards springing up throughout Los Angeles to promote the film "Captivity" that presented graphic depictions of violence against women. The subsequent removal of the offensive images provided a lightbulb moment, reminding OBJECT's initial objectors that they have the power to effect positive change. The next step was the creation of the Lady Party, in which participants are invited to examine the varied meanings of female identity and empowerment via the art of conversation. OBJECT advances the belief that women and girls need not pick sides and can instead enjoy the contemporary feminist debate in all its thorny glory. OBJECT's aim is to create events that allow women to engage, challenge and entertain one another.


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Marie Mulhearn

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