At 22.20, Shelly Watson opens the night’s proceedings, and calls Velvetina Taylor out on stage, dressed in red and horn-adored, giving Elvis two workouts.
Minnie Tonka performs in purple taking us from Hawaii to Harlem.
Next up is Logan Laveau, taking us through a range of classic burlesque face muscle exercises.
Shelly sings Big Spender for us and takes us to the break, with Logan taking the tip bucket around the room as Velvetina takes the platform for gogo (which interestingly enough on Wednesday is at the back where the performances are, rather than at the entrance like on Thursday. But I digress.)
In the second half of the show, Shelly brings in two women and a man from the audience for a dance-off. The winner is from the Netherlands, where Shelly used to live at some point, so she pulls out her best Dutch, and comments: I once made out with a dyke on a dyke in the Netherlands and it was awesome. And yes, I put my finger on it.
And with that, she introduces Gigi La Femme who moved to Nashville from New York but is back in town this week to make the rounds.
Shelly sings an aria from Giovanni (or at least, that’s what I thought I heard her say) and showed off the pipes.
And that brought us to Sapphire Jones, and just like Logan she shows off a wide range of face expressions, demonstrating her mastery of physical irony.
The show ends with Shelly leading us into a singalong to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” while Sapphire does a second round with the tip bucket, and Shelly sends us all off into the night at 23.40.
Nasty Canasta did a great act, dressed in a black dress holding a glass of gin, which she expertly sipped from through her performance, and in the end she drank it with no hands at all until it was as empty as she was in a state of undress. She parked her glass between her buttcheeks and proceeded to fill the glass again from her hipflask that now served as a shoulderflask. Cheeky class act.
Gigi La Femme closed the show in the bathtub. She’s from New York but moved to Nashville to build out the Wasabassco empire over there. She performed like she’d never left though, and that black vinyl outfit made her look like Satan’s high nun. It was a good look!
A short Bathtub Gin night, with only three performers, but I was already well satisfied by the earlier show that night, and this was the perfect nightcap.
Sadly I arrive late through the rain a good fifteen minutes into the show already. The first thing to strike me is how much more diverse the audience looks here, and I guess that reflects the cast. More of that at Burlesque shows, please?
Storm Marrero is hosting the show, and I recognize her from a Company XIV show. She’s announcing a raffle: “1 for $3, 3 for $5, 5 for $10. The bodywrap is 20, and if you’re smart you can use my hips and ass for that and you will win, that is guaranteed!”
The show takes a break at 20.45. It’s 21.15 when act two starts: “This vagina has not seen anything for four months. I’m ready. Don’t talk to me like that Frankie!”
Pearls Daily gives us some Pillow Talk leaning into a fan blowing.
Storm leans against a pillar in the audience to sing Back to Black.
Perle Noire picks In the Air Tonight and puts that anthemic drum solo to good use.
The extremely flexible Lilin Lace feeds on our collective anger to contort and bend limbs and back into impossible arrangements.
Taradise starts off with Perle, posing separately, then locking arms on the floor, and moving to an embrace dressed in feather fans, as Perle slips away and Taradise switches into ballet mode.
The Seven Deadly Sins close the show together, right before 10pm to Chargaux’s Lullaby.
The Seven Deadly Sins are:
Lust: Bizzy LeBois
Wrath: Lilin Lace
Sloth: Pearls Daily
Vanity: Poison Ivory
Greed: Tutu Toussaint
Gluttony: Perle Noire
And it’s only after the show, going through photos, that I realize how well the color lighting worked throughout the show, accentuating each individual performance.
This is most certainly a different style of Burlesque show – less of a slow teasing undress, much more collaborative, and much closer to a dance performance. The music throughout tying the performances together was really good too. Beautiful concept, well-executed – I hope I get to see it again, in full this time!
I arrived towards the end of the first set, just as Cardone was playing his game of odds with the audience, smashing one of two paper bags that magically happened not to contain a knife pointing out.
“What I’m about to do has gotten me out of jury duty twice!” he said, as he read an audience member’s mind on what card he had picked.
Dirty Martini came out for a classic act that ended with her taking a bite out of the apple and throwing it into the audience.
Lucy Licious showed off her amazing aerial skills on the hoop, to a contemplative piano piece, making great use of the alternation between the piano stabbing and flowing. Excellent performance, on her birthday no less!
Dirty Martini came out for the gogo inbetween sets.
The midnight set started with Joshua Dean on the hoop to The Killer’s “Somebody Told Me”, delivering a high-octane twirlfest that matched the tempo of the song well. I got queasy just looking at him go.
Velvetina Taylor did a classic act in lime green, followed by Cardone (who was doing double duty in both shows tonight) eating five razorblades and pulling them back out on a string.
The set turned out to be more men than women for a change, so it was time for a powerhouse to tip the scale. Gal Friday took us all for a ride on the Night Train, dressed in purple and taking us through a range of her classic poses that mix the fun with the swagger, and finishing with a tassel-less boob twirl.
Back to the men – Hot Cop Ben Franklin started with a stop sign and the Village People, and ended with three lit-up hula hoops and Ace of Base.
Manchego was dressed in leather, throwing firecrackers at the ground as he walked, and cajoled a few audience members into joining the stage with him for a game of Spin The Bottle, although it looked like the rules were different from what I remember. The last spin ended up pointing at a different member of the audience, and he brought her on stage and worked his way up to getting a kiss to the tune of Prince’s hit.
Time for Stormy Leather, sitting on a chair hiding behind large paper signs channeling Bob Dylan.
Gal Friday took the gogo box, starting by sweeping up all of the broken firecrackers left by Manchego. Velvetina took her turn right after.
For set two, Joshua and Ben joined for a circus lion act for an interesting furry take. Sir Richard Castle demonstrated his skills as a cowboy. Gal Friday came out in black and red this time, and Manchego demonstrated what no one would have believed possible or even necessary – wearing thirteen pieces of underwear at once – at least in the beginning of his act.
Velvetina took a turn for the weird by ending her set as a shark on a journey of self-discovery, with a strange ending to the music.
“Is that really how the music ends? That was rather abrupt.” said Sir Richard.
Stormy came out last, with one of my absolute favorite acts – undressing to Mrs. Robinson, blindfolding herself with her pantyhose, and tying a beautiful dress to her body with rope. I managed to catch it on video one time but I’m not sharing it – you have to go see it for yourself.
Uncle Earl took the stage for the traditional Saturday night send-off, and the refrain filled the stage with some of the first show’s performers on stage as well, so I got to see more of the first show than I expected!
At 10 to 10, Broadway Brassy opens up the night with a song about butt stuff to set the tone. She introduces Roxie Le Rouge from New Orleans, who was in the Slipper Room earlier this week, repeating her Louis XIV sun queen head piece act. Dandy Dillinger came out dressed in red for another classic burlesque act.
And then Tiger Bay took it up a notch, coming out in a cloudy outfit with lightning on her head, performing to “Here comes the rain again”. I don’t know how she manages to keep a straight face all the way through, but she did, as she twirled strings with cloud balls around.
10 past 10, Dandy and Tiger Bay came out with tip buckets for a short break.
At 10.30, Albert Cadabra introduced the second set, and quickly brought out Gigi Bon Bon dancing to Temptation by Tom Waits – an excellent song to show off her moves to. Karina Libido followed dancing to a traditional, Oy Tsvetyet Kalina, which you’d recognize if you heard it, and so did the crowd, which ended stomping and cheering when her legs started swinging.
Albert introduced a little drink winning competition, and three contestants faced off. Sadly the first contestant couldn’t handle the pressure for more than 5 seconds, pulled out, and in a fit of frustration ended up running out and shoving a woman on the way. For a second there things got a little weird. Albert kept it going and someone named, appropriately enough, Chantelle, got us all focused on the task at hand again. The third contest was a new arrival who, while a little drunk already, still managed to pull out some convincing moves. At least he made me forget who ended up actually winning.
The show continued with Justease in a daring purple which worked well for her as she got close with some of the patrons, and ended with the always stunning Rosie Cheeks in red.
With the first show finished, Stache Novak wasted no time to kick off his Midnight Fingers. After demonstrating how to properly strip as a man, he brought out Peekaboo Pointe who demonstrated convincingly how nobody does it better, giving us a salty sailor salute. Velvetina Taylor came out as an orangutan, confusing the crowd into a range of emotions they didn’t think they had. Then after that, Stache professed his love for the next performer, and we cannot disagree: Stormy Leather took the stage and gave us a leather and wax act that did justice to her tagline.
Time for intermission again, and Peekaboo Pointe came out in a leopard print catsuit on the gogo box as Stormy made the room with a tip bucket.
Since the world of finance doesn’t run itself in the morning, it was time for me to slip out and miss the second set, wishing for the first time ever I was red hot molten wax.
Sir Richard Castle opened the evening’s proceedings around 22.20 with a morning wake-up routine that ended with shooting the TV talking about trump. “And that is how you keep production costs low!”
First up is Roxie Le Rouge, from New Orleans, in a classic pink tutu, swinging her leg high, doing a burlesque act that matches the outfit and song in timeliness.
“You’re putting on a fake English accent. That is offensive and vaguely arousing.” chided Sir Castle to an audience member.
Cheeky Lane came out dressed in a beautiful red dress dotted with big roses to the theme song from Virgin Suicides (if you’re old enough to remember that Coppola movie). Her work wife Gal Friday came out dressed in purple for a ride on the night train.
That brought us to the intermission at 11, with Roxie coming out for the gogo and Cheeky going round with the tip bucket.
In the second half, Sir Castle worked the crowd, and brought Lisa from Iceland on stage to share a few cigarettes. “If you’re bored, this is art,” he quipped as he got dressed again.
“They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, but I say the asshole is the window to the prostate.”
As he asked for bachelorettes in the room, there was one, getting married to another woman who wasn’t in the audience that night.
“Oh, a true lesbian bachelorette evening! What’s your name, dear?”
Cheeky came out as Ganesha, and even if I’ve seen this act quite a few times, it’s still a favorite. Roxie did a second act wearing a Louis XIV sun queen head piece. And Gal Friday closed the night’s set in orange to Isaac Hayes.
If you were hoping to get Cheeky and Gal do an act together or clown out together on the go go box, tonight was not your night – but Gal still left it all on the go go box.
He introduced Cassandra Rosebeetle first, who was dressed in a three watermelon combo dancing to Watermelon man.
Chipps Cooney showed us why he is the ultimate magician anti-hero.
Hazel Honeysuckle came out in a blue outfit and danced to a three song sequence, ending with giant feather fans.
Velvet Crayon did an actual Burlesque act, taking off all his clothes (and I do mean all), with a little help from Walt Whitman in the middle. Seeing him dart around the stage in his wheelchair, and ending up naked except for a koala mask, was a highlight of the evening.
And then things lifted off. An astronaut took the stage to Aerosmith’s theme song from Armageddon – Miss Jezebel Express had come to salute us. She took her helmet off, and interrupted the routine a few times because something more important was happening on her phone and she did not want to miss a thing. She ended with a crowd selfie that made it to Instagram.
Walt informed us that managed had instructed him to “work the room” if he wanted to get paid, so he obliged. He ended by asking if anyone was on their first date, and two women yelled out “us!”. He brought them to the stage, told them that a first date needs to involve drinks to loosen them up a little, and treated them to shots. They giggled and downed the shots, and then all of a sudden started to take off each other’s clothes quickly as the curtains drew open.
Surprise – Raven took the stage, giving us exactly what we came for.
An hour in, it was time for the first break, with Cassandra starting on the gogo box for two songs, then followed by Hazel for another two, in an outfit made for tipping: 5 light blue strips in the front, and a forest of yellow discs in the back.
At 23.25, Goat boy took over for Walt Whitman. I had not seen Goat boy before, and as an act it may not be my cup of tea. But no complaints from me as long as he’s introducing class acts like Cassandra, dressed like Alice in Wonderland and dancing to a Tom Waits tune.
Chipps Cooney came back out to explain most of his acts from the first half.
And then we got a second dose of Raven, together on the hoop this time, dressed in red, to Jack Garratt’s Remnants.
Hazel came out with a huge sideways set of feathers on her head and a set of blue ring tubes hanging from the side, showing off her costuming skills, and tickling the first row with her feather hat.
Velvet Crayon came back to sing two songs, one about Uranium and Franklin Roosevelt.
And then we got a rare surprise – Peaches the Gimp appeared from his trapdoor in the stage. He hadn’t been out since before the eclipse, and treated us to a stellar “Closer” as well as giving us a choice between Justin Timberlake and Gorillaz for a second act.
A tough act to follow – but Jezebel was up to the task. She did a paint-by-numbers number, and as she undressed it turned out more numbers were all over her body, which she dutifully followed with the brush until she gave up and dumped the paint all over herself, leaving her gloriously multicolored next to her easel.
That act closed the set, but then Jezebel one-upped herself by coming out to the gogo box, still covered in paint, and selling pages of her notebook for five dollars each to rub all over her and create your own work of art. Several people obliged, and she ended by taking off a man’s shirt, putting him down on all fours, and spanking the crap out of him.
It was a long night, ending at 1am, but it was worth it!
With the help of Chris Johnson on piano, Grace sings a tweaked take on The Coffee Song.
Chris Johnson invites the audience to sing along on “Stuck in the middle with you”, but feigning disappointment in the audience participation, he quips: “You’re here for I other things. That’s ok. Me too.”
When Grace comments on him only learning that song the day before, he retorts “I mean it’s three chords. I’ve played those three chords before. Just not together.”
Grace shares that she’s celebrating 19 years of living in New York, and adapts a jazzy version of Englishman in New York.
Karina Libido is tonight’s stage kitten, and Grace runs us through her two truths and a lie:
She was interviewed on BBC
She won a mud wrestling match with the title “the dirtiest thing”
She was arrested by a policeman for drinking alcohol on a trans-continental train with said policeman
It turns out that she wasn’t actually drinking when the policeman saw here, but he claimed that it was illegal to have an open bottle of alcohol on the train, so she should drink it. Which she did, after which he arrested her for the actual felony – drinking on a train!
We were a good half hour into the show before the first act started. Luckily, it was a good one: Sapphire Jones came out as a pineapple to Escape (which is better known for it’s Colada’d refrain). And in case you were wondering, while she wasn’t featured in Pretty Little Liars, she is a passer-by in Spider-man 3 and was featured in UFC magazine (but not as a fighter).
And with that, we hit the intermission.
Grace came out for her act, and while I did catch that the big thing she was holding was a tampon. I only connected it to the actual song played after I got home. Well played. “That outfit took a lot of trips to Duane Reade” she shared.
The set closed with one of my favorite performers: Gal Friday, the five alarm fire of burlesque – dressed in purple.
Towards the end of the set, she took a guy’s phone and clenched it between her cheeks – the ones in the back. Only at the end of the set did she return it – or rather, let the guy take his phone back.
“That’s what show girls go when we need a new iPhone!” Grace said, as she introduced us to Gal’s two truths and a lie:
She does not care about reality TV shows
Her mother is a tattoo biker
She once punched a guy off the go go box
She did in fact once punch a guy, after he had already spanked her unannounced once, and really went for it a second time. So did she, punching him over the head, and knocking him off the gogo box. I say, good on her – consent is key, and some men need to learn the hard way!