Last night I had the opportunity to witness the debuts of several new performers at the graduation recital of the Academy of Burlesque's Spring Boylesque 101 course. This is the second group of "boys" that I have had the pleasure of watching come out of the Academy, and like all of the recitals I have seen, it was fun, funny and of course just a little bit dirty.
Hosted by Ernie Von Schmaltz, a fantastic example of a "boylesque" character, the recital featured 8 new performers. Rip Curl, Ben Darren Dunnett (best name of the night!), Wolfgang Dangerous (arrr!), J.J. Reigns, Billy Corazon, Piston Chambers, Mandroid, and Sir Eddie Van Glam. Each performer brought something unique to the table, and helped to expand the horizons and the definition of "neo-burlesque."
Most Likely to be Named Class Clown: Rip Curl opened the show with a very funny number, that made excellent use of props. Rip's goofy, dorky beach boy persona was a good choice to warm up the audience Decked out in scuba gear, including flippers, Rip took classic burlesque moves and "flippered" them on their heads. He also made good connections with the audience.
Most Likely to Go From Beast to Beauty: Wolfgang Dangerous (arrrr!!!) piece was a bit more "performance art" then popular burlesque, but as Ernie told us, boylesque is about expanding horizons and so that is more then okay! Combining subtle isolations, and an affectation of self-loathing, Wolfgang in acted the transformation of a Frankenstein/Wolfman type Beast into a gender bending Beauty. Self-acceptance, a popular theme in burlesque, was good motivation of Wolfgang's piece.
Most Likely to Do House Work in his Underwear: Ben Darren Dunnett, who in my opinion had the best name in show, gave the audience a sexy, goof ball, handy man, and showed us that anything, even fixing a stopped up drain can be an excuse to take off your clothes. Ben also had the most fun reveal in the show, wriggling out of his pants while bent over under a sink. Cute underwear!
Most Likely to Be Censored by Concerned Parents: J.J. Reigns' equestrian themed act was by far the dirtiest of the night. J.J. who dedicated this performance to her girlfriend, did things to a saddle (very cleverly rigged BTW) that made my very sexually positive boyfriend shudder, which I assure you is a compliment. I heard some question as to the "boylesque" appropriateness of this act, but I see it this way. J.J. emphasized and epitomized the dominant sexuality typically associated with the masculine. While she was clearly female (you can't hide assets like hers), her approach to sex was classically very male. Also, she had one of the best uses of the glitter cannon that I have ever seen. Brava diva.
Most Likely to Be A Hit Sci-Fi Convention: The award for best concept of the night, goes to Billy Corazon, whose mad scientist turned human fly turned glam rock gender bender, opened the second half of the recital. Billy's prop and set useage was excellent. Strategic use of strobe lights, music, and clever reveals earns this sensual scientist an A in my book.
Most Likely to Knock Out the Competition: Piston Chambers, the courses only other s(he) persona, was a plucky, athletic underdog. With excellent timing with the music, extensive prop use, and slapstick comedy, Piston's number was the most fun act of the night. I am particularly proud of Piston, as I consider his alter ego to be a dear friend, and I have to give her major props for creating a character that is so very different from the already known IMsL. I will totally root for this boxer boy in anything he does.
Most Likely to Make a Botanist Blush: Mandroid's "full metal yellow jacket" number was built on a great concept. A lonely bee, distraught over the loss of a companion, takes up the duty of pollinating a flower. It took be, I am ashamed to say, a bit to grasp the destination of Mandroid's journey but when he finally got there, the finish was very strong.
Most Likely to Make Me C...err, Drool: The final performance of the night was, in my opinion, the strongest. Sir Eddie Van Glam's metro-sexual persona, and suit lust was excellent executed. A reverse strip tease, he pulled it off and put it on with great confidence. Reverse teases can be difficult, and he did it well. His choreography was strong, and his character solid. Starting off with a teasing shot of his bare tush, and lovingly donning his undies, and suit, Sir Van Glam reminded by of a Barney from How I Met Your Mother, and the though of Neil Patrick Harris in next to nothing makes me a drool a little. Bravo!
Over all the evening was a lot of fun, and I am proud to see so many great concepts coming out of the boys/bois of Seattle. I hope that each of these performers continues to create, and to add their special somethings to the Seattle Burlesque Scene. I applaud the instructors of AoB, Indigo Blue, Waxie Moon, and Ernie and I thank them for nurturing these talents.