Lots of folks want to see That Show on February 1st

By Debra LoGuercio

©Copyright 2008, Debra LoGuercio, all rights reserved

It’s on! If you’ve been following my columns about female genital mutilation (FGM), Sia Amma, and my quest to bring her show here, good news, it’s happening. I mentioned two weeks ago that the show is coming to The Palms in Winters on Friday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20, and are now available at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, The Next Chapter in Woodland, and online at Tickets.com, and only at the door if the show’s not sold out.

The reader interest in fighting FGM has been phenomenal. Amongst women, empathy for girls enduring this torture is instinctual. We need no explanation. But even men, although lacking the body part in question but possibly familiar with it, are expressing outrage and compassion. Regardless of which set of plumbing God gave us, people understand on a gut level that FGM is just as wrong as wrong can be.

The topic provided an easy segue into the issue of male circumcision, which is significantly less brutal (in this country, anyway) but equally as unnecessary. When I ventured into this uncharted territory, I received letters from men thanking me for raising the topic because they had strong feelings about it but never felt like they could express them. Most poignant were the letters from two men who were circumcised mid-life on a physician’s recommendation, and were both devastated with the results. Worse yet, both said they held their feelings inside because the topic was taboo. Was.

Each longed to be restored to their former state, but once the damage is done, it’s done, and there’s no going back. Each emphatically said that leaving the body in its natural state was infinitely preferable to altering it.

Something to think about, young mothers, if that new bundle of joy is bundled in blue.

There’s some of the supportive responses, but what about the hate mail? Lord knows, I’ve received it about everything else. Oddly enough, not this time, although an anonymous person mailed me a brochure featuring all sorts of “nice” causes, along with a cryptic little note that wouldn’t my time and energy be better spent on one of these.

Well, it just didn’t play out that way. You decide one random day to pour some energy into a good cause, and discover that World Peace and Save the Whales are already taken. But saving the clitoris was still available. There you go.

Possibly the most interesting angle of this little journey sprang from merely injecting the word “clitoris” into dialogue. I’ll admit, even I had to get used to saying it without flinching. Now that I can, I’m amused watching others try to hear it without flinching.

When I spoke with a graphic artist about designing an ad for the show and told him he could find Sia Amma’s photo at www.celebrateclitoris.com, he started laughing nervously. I said, “Get used to it -- we have to learn to say the word before we can have a dialogue about it. Just say kneecap, eyelid, elbow, clitoris until it feels normal. It’s just another body part.” He kept laughing nervously.

Dave Fleming, owner of The Palms, also noted a few things with a chuckle. While checking on some other ticket sales recently at Pacific Ace, the clerks asked him tentatively, “Umm, do you have a show on Feb. 1 about, umm… errr…” To which Dave just nodded, “Yes!” And then when the tickets for “In Search of My Clitoris” were finally there, people came in asking for “tickets to That Show on February 1st.”

Over at Tickets.com, the website rejected Dave’s ticket order because the site wouldn’t allow the word “clitoris” through, so he had to finalize the order over the phone. When he told the woman that “clitoris” was part of the show’s title, she replied, “Oh, no problem.” But she was in San Francisco. Nothing shocks those folks across the bridge.

Why mention all this? Because Sia Amma told me she eventually was unable to promote her show effectively because the ticket company wouldn’t print “clitoris” on the tickets. And was justifiably upset because how can she continue to fight FGM if we are unable to speak the name of the body part in question? But Amma’s pushing through the walls of that discomfort zone, and I’m happy to be helping her in any way I can. It sounds like a lot of you are too. See you all at That Show on February 1st.