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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Steamy Bohemians, photo by Neil Reynolds (view full gallery)

The Steamy Bohemians had lied to us; I was dead certain of it. No way could there be an actual “old Appalachian folk song” that includes the lyrics “Every time the baby cries/Stick my finger in the baby’s eyes” and “Every time he starts to grin/Give my baby a bottle of gin.” So I dismissed the comedy-cabaret duo’s sweetly melodic ode to child abuse as a fake. Until later that night, that is, when I started poking around on the Internet. Seems the disturbing lullaby is for real (and said to have been a staple of Kristin Hersh’s childhood — which explains a lot).

So if “The Baby Song” is on the up-and-up, maybe the Steamy Bohemians’ songs really are “based on a true story,” as they tend to claim. Maybe the lives of Lainey Schulbaum and Niki Luparelli are in fact one big roiling cauldron of second-cousin lust, drunken and/or bi-curious make-out sessions, surprise facials, and an incident reframed as a cautionary tale about a tittie-scratching pussycat’s fateful encounter with an ice-cream truck. (“The moral is, don’t be a dick, or you might get run over by the same stoner you went to high school with.”)

When I saw the Steamy Bohemians MCing the first annual Women in Comedy Festival’s “Friday Night Variety Show” at ImprovBoston last Friday, they were detached from the Jerkus Circus, the gang of neo-vaudevillian weirdos they usually run with — all the better to showcase their fetchingly dizzy shtick. It’s sort of a musical Burns & Allen routine, only with way more boob fixation. (By the end of the night, Luparelli had pulled two pairs of maracas out of her cleavage; her corset must be like the Tardis.)

The Steamy Bohemians, both classically trained sopranos, weren’t the only musical acts in the eight-act line-up at ImprovBoston that night. Halfway through the show, stand-up comic Carolyn Castiglia busted out her signature move: a freestyle rap — in a cockney accent, as “da brat” — ranking on someone in the front row. In this case, it was a lanky guy whose Hot Topic fedora reminded her of Britney Spears, which she rhymed, I think, with “little ears.” Then the bouffanted Sharon “Mama” Spell taught us “The Mama Dance,” its only requirement that you make a V with your arms. (“That’s right! Whoa! Make it cursive!”) Her other song, "Hattiesburg," is supposedly ganked from a prize-winning entry in Mississippi's Miss Hospitality Pageant — this, I want so very badly to be true.

For their final number, the SteaBos launched into a stirring rendition of “Sex Town,” which is like “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” only stickier. (Or as they put it, "This song is kind of like our 'Hotel California.' ") It's a fitting happy ending for a night of gleeful smut; verily, these ladies put the "ho" in Boho.

  • lou suSi said:

    cool cool cool ... fantastic little write-up here ... although i think they missed out on the deep, labyrinthine research into the human soul and their concept of a 'universal core malady' that The Steamies put into their songwriting and onStage schtickery ... at the heart of anything funny there is the fundamental need to transcend above all pain into ...

    they're just fr!kken funny is what it comes down to ...

    June 4, 2009 2:48 PM

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