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"Blondie of Arabia"
Written and Performed by Monica Hunken
Produced by Culture Project's Women Center Stage
45 Bleecker St, NYC
Tickets $25 + fees
Opened April 16 to May 11, 2013
Reviewed April 16, 2013 by Larry Litt
Monica Hunken is a self admitted rebellious feminist, anarchist, occupier, Rev Billy anti-capitalist songstress, dancer, bicyclist, atheist, actress, storyteller with an activist and performing history of antagonizing "The Man and His Corporations." But after an hour and ten minutes of sharing her show "Blondie of Arabia," I discovered she's also a cock teasing man killer. And arrogantly proud of it. You can't get more white bread American middle class than that.
Fact is she's lucky nothing more than a few rocks and misguided directions were thrown at her along the way as she bicycled alone from Qatar to Egypt. Not a big deal considering the young tourists who are killed every year in dangerous parts of the world. Yes, I've been to many of those places and seen the violence that can suddenly erupt over cultural differences.
What we're supposed to get from Monica's storytelling is that she's a bold tough woman who isn't afraid to challenge the conventional wisdom about Arab mens' sexual attraction to big blonde Amazon goddesses. Instead I heard a classic tale of complaint featuring the theme "why does everybody want to kiss me when I don't want to kiss them?"
An Arab man asks her, "is it because I'm an Arab that you won't kiss me?" Perhaps he couldn't read the signals of Monica's inherent radical culture testosterone phobia. If they had then avoided her, what story would she have to tell?
There wit and humor from Monica's alternately self aggrandizing and self-deprecating observations about herself during this adventure. However for me it all adds up to a girls' night out with Monica regaling about "boys I met and didn't sleep with on my summer vacation with my bike." You don't get more downtown artsy than that.
Then again not having traveled as a woman I may be a bit overly biased. This is a show worth seeing because of Monica's enormous energy and storytelling stage presence. There's the mandatory shadenfreude laughs at male sexuality. There's also an unmistakable warning here: Some women are luckier than others. Which one are you?
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