Sandra Bernhard’s out-there public persona–the King of Comedy weirdo, acidic and mocking Madonna-nonwannabe, unruly demistar–sometimes obscures her actual artistic accomplishments. Against a backdrop of the songs of a shared culture, from “Me and Mrs. Jones” to “Little Red Corvette,” an unruly demistar acts out her prejudices and anxieties, incredulous voice drawling, ungainly limbs flailing, razor-sharp mind slicing, plunging, and twisting. As a whole, the shows are about one thing: that music captures the emotions and pitfalls of our life like nothing else, but sometimes in perverse, difficult, and unpredictable ways. Art, in other words, can play tricks on us, and Bernhard’s here to show us how, doing everything in her power to pick at the scab that is the relationship between performer and audience (witness the supremely sarcastic title of her last show, Without You I’m Nothing), and adopting a take-no-prisoners policy of performance extremely rare among people as talented as she. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 PM, Oak Theatre, 2000 N. Western; 235-0088.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Douglas Keeve.