Over the weekend, Erykah Badu holed up at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters in Dallas, Texas to put on a one-woman show called Live Nudity. Though she had previously said she didn’t “really have time to write a 60-minute show,” she flat out admitted that she was just “making this shit up right now” at the beginning of her first performance. The result, as the Dallas Observer wrote (via Pitchfork), “felt in many ways like a sloppy dress rehearsal for something that might turn into something better later on.”
Divided into 13 “scenes,” the show was reportedly a hodgepodge of non-autobiographical, nonsensical stream-of-conscious thoughts. Like when she stood in front of a microphone and slowly ate potato chips. And that’s it. Or when she wore sock puppets and “using a Rosie Perez accent, has her cotton-clad fists get into a domestic squabble that devolves into repetitions of ‘fuckin’ shit’ until you wish one of the puppets would actually sock the other sock and knock it out.”
There were even moments of comedy, which while the Observer decried, “not for a moment was that a good idea,” also noted there was one instance where at least the idea was good. “Badu did reveal some comic potential playing an unctuous New Age motivational speaker,” read the review, “explaining chakras and forcing audience participation before comically dubbing patrons ‘pedophiles’ and ‘thieves.'”
Of course, the true highlights were the three moments where she stopped trying to be actor-writer-director-lighting designer (all things she was billed as) and just did what she does best. She sang “a whimsical quasi-French number and a couple of Billie Holiday-infused bluesy jazz songs,” all of which apparently saw her more relaxed and impressive than elsewhere during the performance.
In the end, Badu may not be Broadway-bound with her own material, so the only chance to relive the experience is via the Instagram videos and images below.
In related news, Badu recently announced plans for a new mixtape called But You Caint Use My Phone, expected to drop sometime soon.