So it's an interesting way to spend your time, like a fruit fly."
And fly she has, by playing music and penning eloquent, intelligent lines like "You are mine / So I never would mind / I work my arms so hard / Just to give you an airplane ride" from "Feet Asleep," a song written from the perspective of Nguyen's hard-working, self-sacrificing mother. That tune, as well as the feisty, thrumming "Swimming Pools" and the CD's very title, Bee Stings, testifies to the strong women who raised Nguyen, in addition to her own quirky travels and travails.
Bee Stings has literal and figurative roots: stemming from an incident in which Nguyen jostled a bee hive, felt a bee crawl up her shorts, ran into a house, pulled down her pants, and was, as she puts it, "stung in the ass" for her trouble. Likewise, she adds, her mother, grandmother, and aunts have taken the stings and pricks of life on a daily basis. "I've seen them absorb so much," the songwriter says. "They're all incredibly resilient women, and it's a tribute to them and to just being a woman in the world, which is sometimes incredibly difficult and very specific and idiosyncratic." Nguyen sounds like just the woman to encapsulate that.
With David Dondero, Sean Smith, and Colossal Yes
Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m., $14
Swedish American Hall
2174 Market, SF