Saturday, April 16, 2011

How to shake that a$$ at a Big Freedia show

Posted By on Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 4:16 PM

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The Queen Diva of New Orleans bounce makes a stop in Atlanta tonight at Graveyard Tavern. Her name is Big Freedia, even though Big Freedia isn't a "her" in the traditional sense.

If you want to get the particulars on all that and Freedia's gender-bending role in the subgenre as off-the-chain as its birthplace, check out last year's New York Times feature — which mislabeled it "sissy bounce" despite Freedia's previous clarification on Fader TV.

But all of that is secondary to knowing how to bounce at a Big Freedia show, especially if you plan on going tonight. She often comes with dancers in tow, so it's not incumbent that you be prepared to bounce that a$$ if you're a beginner, but when she performs a song like "Gin In My System" or "Azz Everywhere," pros and novices alike tend to do as instructed:

And then something remarkable happened. The crowd — just about evenly divided between men and women — instantly segregated itself: the men were propelled as if by a centrifuge toward the room’s perimeters, and the dance floor, a platform raised just a step off the ground, was taken over entirely by women surrounding Freedia. The women did not dance with, or for, one another — they danced for Freedia, and they did so in the most sexualized way imaginable, usually with their backs to her, bent over sharply at the waist, and bouncing their hips up and down as fast as humanly possible, if not slightly faster. Others assumed more of a push-up position, with their hands on the floor, in a signature dance whose name is sometimes helpfully shortened to “p-popping.”

The vid below is a clip from a 2010 show up in Williamsburg. While there's plenty of booty in action, particularly for the hipster capital of the world, watch how Big Freedia breaks it down N.O.-style at about the 1:54 mark.

If all that rump-shaking arouses the academician in you, seek counseling. Then check out this excellent archive of New Orleans bounce researched and compiled by music journalist Alison Fensterstock, with photos by Aubrey Edwards, called Where They At? New Orleans Hip-Hop and Bounce in Words and Pictures. It includes oral histories, photos and music from over 45 of the Crescent City's pioneering artists, including Freedia's sissy contemporaries Katey Red and Sissy Nobby. It's enough to get lost in for hours. You've got about six left before tonight's show.

Down and Durty w/Big Freedia and Atlanta DJ Kizzy Rock. $5-$10. Sat., April 16. Graveyard Tavern, 1245 Glenwood Ave. 404-622-8686. www.graveyardtavern.com.

For more of a primer on Freedia and a preview of her new Scion A/V release, open the hood for some for some videos, interviews and sounds below:

"Y'all Get Back Now"

Scion A/V Presents: Big Freedia by ScionAV

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