Mistress of the controversial one-woman show Karen Finley brings her latest work, The Distribution of Empathy, to Berkeley Repertory Theatre Jan. 14-19 for the its West Coast premiere.
In Empathy, Finley airs her feelings about her fellow denizens of the Big Apple, exploring the strange behavior that swept through the city's populace following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Borrowing the style of a typical lounge act, she touches on a wide-range of topics from post-tragedy vulnerability and sexual tension to sleeping with poet Charles Bukowski and visiting the slums of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Finley is the recipient of two Obies, two Bessies, and numerous grants from the NEA and NYSCA. She has toured internationally with numerous pieces including The American Chestnut, We Keep Our Victims Ready, and A Certain Level of Denial.
In 1990, after receiving continued support from the NEA, Finley became an unwilling symbol for political influences on arts funding when she, along with Tim Miller, Holly Hughes and John Fleck, sued the NEA for withdrawing grants on the grounds of indecency.
Finley, whose last book was "Pooh Unplugged," has done a spread in Playboy magazine and made numerous appearances on the televised program, "Politically Incorrect." Other past projects included 1-900 ALL KAREN, which was sponsored by Creative Time, and the Obie Award-winning The Return of The Chocolate Smeared Woman. Tickets are $25-$30. Berkeley Repertory Theatre is located at 2025 Addison Street. For reservations, call (510) 647-2949.
— By Christine Ehren