Minnesota-born satirist and “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead will take a few whacks at the songs of sexism next weekend at the Cedar Cultural Center.
“Do Re #MeToo: A Night of Sexist Songs Sung by Righteous Feminists” is at 8 p.m. July 21. Performers will include Jill Sobule, Lady Lark, Lori Barbero and Tina Schlieske. And, if Winstead can get her attention, Lizzo.
“When you have really cool women singing horribly sexist songs, you realize, as you listen to this compilation, how often our culture says dreadful things about women and defines women and what they do,” Winstead said. “You sing along without realizing ‘Oh my god those lyrics are horrifying, and they were a hit!’
“I have really funny banter back and forth with the singers and the band. I’m kind of this Paul Shaffer of the night. We talk about how these songs came to be, the fact that they were recorded a million times by a bunch of different people — some of the songs also recorded by men and women. It’s like ‘holy-this-is-why-we-are-in-this-predicament.’
“The culture created about women and for women, up until recently, was never by women. We have men setting the standards for what women are, how women should be in a relationship, what an ideal relationship is. Before you know it you’ve created this incredible culture that is nothing to do with the needs and wants and desires and goals of women.”
Winstead brought this event to her hometown last year under the name “Vagical Mystery Tour.” It’s not the only Winstead entity undergoing a name change. Lady Parts Justice League, of which she is founder and chief creative officer, is now Abortion Access Front.
If you’ve seen her stand-up or follow her on Twitter you know Winstead does not avoid hot-button issues. When she sees the button, she hits it harder.
Q: Who came up with idea to showcase sexist songs?
A: It started with a brainstorm with Claire Daly, an amazing jazz sax player in NYC. We first did it in NYC in February 2018 with an all-women jazz band and jazz vocalists. We did it in Minneapolis last summer.
Q: Give me an idea of songs on the playlist.
A: “Blurred Lines,” that’s always a great one. There are songs from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s. Tina [Schlieske] does an incredible version of [James Brown’s] “This is a Man’s World,” and she adds a verse that is so amazing, so cool.
Q: What made you change the name of Lady Parts Justice League?
A: A couple reasons. There are far too many people in the gendersphere who identify as ladies who don’t have uteri. There are people who identify as queers, transgender. Why be exclusive when you don’t have to be?
Also, we’ve been fighting this [abortion] battle far too long with our euphemisms and with people running away from the word ‘abortion.’ If we can’t identify the thing that we’re defending and name it and give it a morality and a necessity to say, ‘This is part of health care and we’re not ashamed to talk about it, or say it,’ then we’re going to lose.
For too long people have danced around abortion, and I’m tired of doing the dance because every time we do, we inflict a certain amount of shame on it. For people who have had abortions and for people who provide them, it’s a slap in the face, and I don’t want to be that person. I am more than willing to take the heat. I am more than willing to have conversations with people about it. It’s a conversation starter, for sure!
Q: You wrote about having an abortion in your book “Lizz Free or Die” as I recall?
A: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Q: Do people who didn’t read your book ask if you’ve had an abortion?
A: It’s very interesting when people ask. First of all, it’s a weird thing to ask someone because it’s really no one’s business. Second, if someone is hostile toward me, they usually say “How many abortions have you had?” I tell them, “I don’t save receipts,” and then they are totally thrown off by it.
It’s indicative of what is happening now. People who feel entitled to talk about somebody else’s uterus, what somebody else has been through, what somebody else will go through. The entitlement of it is so profoundly terrifying at this point that we have to [attack it] head on. My hair has been on fire for 10 years about state legislatures, crazy legislation. [For 10 years, I’ve been saying] they are planning to overturn Roe v. Wade with these laws.
Q: What do you think of comedian Tiffany Haddish deciding she will no longer perform in Georgia because of the “heartbeat” abortion law?
A: Tiffany Haddish is great. I support that, and I get that.
Q: Are you trying to get Lizzo to perform in “Do Re #MeToo”?
A: If there was anyway I could get to Lizzo, if there was any way Lizzo would allow me to paint her toenails [to get her in the show], I would be happy. Everything about Lizzo is perfect. I LOVE her, and we both have two z’s, Come on, we need to be friends!