Music News & Reviews

Running on estrogen

From left, Dierdre Flint, Nancy Moran, Debi Smith and Sally Fingerett are the Four Bitchin’ Babes behind ‘Diva Nation ... Where Music, Laughter and Girlfriends Reign.’
From left, Dierdre Flint, Nancy Moran, Debi Smith and Sally Fingerett are the Four Bitchin’ Babes behind ‘Diva Nation ... Where Music, Laughter and Girlfriends Reign.’ PHOTO BY TERRY JORDAN

Calling all fabulous females, gorgeous goddesses and divine divas.

The Four Bitchin’ Babes invite you to the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande for a night of estrogen-fueled fun.

On Feb. 12, the Babes perform “Diva NationWhere Music, Laughter and Girlfriends Reign,” a sparkling new musical revue that combines hilarious lyrics with lush harmonies.

The show’s title is a tribute to the Babes’ faithful fans, a diverse group that includes book clubs, bowling leagues and bachelorette parties. They range from 20-somethings in boas and tiaras to senior citizens in full Red Hat Society regalia.

“The common denominator is that we’re women,” said

Sally Fingerett, a longtime member of the Bitchin’ Babes. “We are a nation of kind, supportive women and that’s something we celebrate.”

Founded in 1990 by singer-songwriter Christine Lavin, The Four Bitchin’ Babes take their name from a scene in George Lucas’ “American Graffiti.” When nerdy Terry, played by Charles Martin Smith, spots a cute blond, he exclaims, “What a babe. ... What a bitchin’ babe.”

“It’s a California surfing term for absolutely magnificent,” Fingerett explained with a chuckle.

True to their name, the Bitchin’ Babes excel at witty, whimsical songs about chocolate, shoe shopping and sisterhood, resulting in a sound that once prompted The Boston Globe to wonder, “How can funny sound this pretty?”

“We touch on all those topics that everyone relates to,” said Fingerett, a classically trained composer, guitarist and pianist. “Whether it’s a funny song or a poignant song, we are singing about contemporary life through this wacky viewfinder.”

Over the years, the Bitchin’ Babes have shared their frank, funny world-view through countless concerts, eight albums and one concert DVD. They’ve also crafted two cabaret-style shows, “Hormonal ImbalanceA Mood Swinging Musical Revue” and “Diva Nation.”

The group has seen an ever-evolving lineup as members have left to pursue solo careers and other projects.

As of 2005, the Bitchin’ Babes include Philadelphia comedian Deirdre Flint, Nashville chanteuse Nancy Moran and Washington D.C. multi-instrumentalist Debi Smith. They draw on musical backgrounds as diverse as blues, country, folk and Celtic music.

“The bar has been set high and everybody is right there on the bar,” said Fingerett, a Columbus, Ohio, resident who is the sole survivor of the original lineup.

Each woman has her own show-stopping musical number. Smith steals the show with “Pass It On,” an ode to her autistic son, while Flint shines on “The Boob Fairy.” Other hits include Moran’s “Honestly” and Fingerett’s “Hot Flash” and “Faces on My Wall.”

“On one song, one gal will be the brooch and the other three are the velvet,” Fingerett explained.

“It’s this really loving and caring group that watches over each other,” she said, sharing experiences such as motherhood, menopause, divorce and death. “The support we get from each other is just magnificent.”

Audience members seem to appreciate that supportive atmosphere.

“When we’re autographing in the lobby the comments we get are, ‘Oh my God, I feel like I just had a great therapy session,’ or, ‘What were you doing in my closet? How did you know that about me?’” Fingerett said.

Although the Bitchin’ Babes tend to draw a primarily female crowd, Fingerett noted that their shows are also popular with the opposite sex.

“Men have always loved this show because men love women,” she said, “And we, I must say, love men.”

“We think they’re very brave, courageous and loving to come to our show,” she said, especially in the company of wives, girlfriends, mothers and sisters. “It’s a painless way to a gain a lot of points.”

Reach Sarah Linn at 781-7907.