Best not to go to the Good Asian Drivers expecting to hear the sassy pop in their YouTube video “I Kissed a Girl — The Real Gay Version,” because it’s not them. That’s not even remotely how they sound live or on record — the GAD are lip-synching to Katy Perry’s version of the song. Perry also made a sexy video to go along with her monster hit, and even though Rolling Stone magazine ranked her version of “I Kissed a Girl” among the top 100 hits of 2008, they called Perry “vanilla.” That’s where the Good Asian Drivers come in. Their version is a mélange of gay girl-girl making out. So much so, in fact, that it is as if the GAD are on a mission to show the world that they know what the song is really about and that Katy Perry has missed the boat.
The Good Asian Drivers are Kit Yan, an award-winning transgender slam poet, and Melissa Li, a lesbian singer-songwriter and filmmaker (Ashley Baier is their tour drummer). The band’s live gig is a mixture of frank and intimate folk arts and funny rants about things like strap-ons and penis envy. Kit Yan comes off more like a comic than an angry poet. His stuff is personal and humbling (“God forbid I’d want a normal life — my favorite pastime? Garnering harassment”). And he talks about things you’d never think of, like making the switch from women’s to men’s bathrooms. Li, on the other hand, is rewriting the basic Greek plots. In “Such a Nice Guy,” the elderly story line of boy-meets-girl-boy-loses-girl gets a face-lift: “I’m sorry we didn’t last very long/ We didn’t look that cute together anyway/ I think I’ll give your ex-girlfriend a call.”
But it would be a shame to read the GAD as a show for lesbians only. Unlike Katy Perry, theirs is a crafty inventory that addresses cultural mythology and negative stereotypes.
GOOD ASIAN DRIVERS: Lestat’s, Thursday, July 30, 9 p.m. 619-282-0437.