By J. D. Oxblood
Friday, December 5, at the Slipper Room. It was a cold night and the oglers were queued up outside the roller doors, waiting for the Slip to open up and let us in. I’d been invited by the inimitable Jo Wheldon, headmistress of the New York School of Burlesque (a.k.a. Jo Boobs), to check out the latest fresh talent. For those who haven’t been to the Slipper Room, it’s a fantastic combination of dirty downtown watering hole and faux glamour—a small, thrust stage and a gorgeous red curtain, with a handful of tables, booths in the back, standing room, and, of course, a bar. A perfect venue for burlesque, the Slip has, indeed, been hosting such events for nine years—or, as Jo put it, “longer than Flashdancers.” And she should know.
Jo hosted in a stunning gold brocade on black dress, giving a shout out to all the peeps who came to see their “friends strip for the first time.” It didn’t hurt that the peanut gallery closest to the stage was full of performers—cue hysterical screaming at every drop of joke or stocking.
The theme of the evening was “Any Holiday but Christmas,” so let’s start with burlesque virgin B.B. Heart, celebrating Chinese New Year in a red silk dress with Mandarin collar, striped stockings, and gold gloves, working a fan to a fast punk beat. A fantastic ass, and a great wiggle to it, clearly this isn’t B.B.’s first time on stage. I caught up with her at intermission. When did she decide she wanted to get into burlesque? “After seeing ‘Gypsy,’ with Natalie Wood, when I was twelve years old.” I suppose that would do it. So what took you so long? “I guess just realizing that I really could do it. That anyone could do it.” Yes, she comes from a performance background—theatre, dance (including belly dancing)—and she wants to keep working as a burlesque performer. I’m still waiting to meet the newbie who only got into burlesque to gain confidence or spice up her marriage… but B.B. did add that it was “empowering.” “You only show what you want to show,” she said. “It’s the antithesis of exploitation. You’re almost exploiting them.”
Busty Springfield, a statuesque blonde with an innocent Wisconsin face, celebrated Veteran’s Day in full U.S.O. regalia, but the disc for “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” skipped and she had to ask the D.J. to throw on something else—anything else—so we were treated to a classic old-school strip tease set to raging death metal. The cognitive dissonance between the stocking roll-down and the distorted screaming was mind-numbing. Jo said her last performance was a mess, too—Busty fell off the stage and got up covered in blood. All part of the show, folks. Busty has been studying her Julie Atlas Muz.
Coco LaPearl, a delicate blonde with the look on her face of one who could easily be lured into an ice cream truck, did up May Day in grass skirt and coconut top to Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe through the Tulips.” We like the clicking the coconuts together. It’s…evocative. And Della Dare, the Queen of the Double D’s, was actually helped out of her clothes by Kristen Lee. For anyone who likes to see “real women” in burlesque, may I wholly recommend Della Dare. In the words of Bon Scott, that’s a “Whole Lotta Rosie.”
Jo explained that the women were watching the women get dressed and undressed, backstage and onstage, with far more interest than men ever did. It reminded her of the contrast to strip clubs, where the men stare “like a dog looking at a ceiling fan,” cue blank, idiotic stare, “wondering if was made of pork or beef.” Can I love her without being in love with her?
And our second virgin of the evening closed out the first act; Delta Jubilee, a young reed of a thing with a je ne sais quois of Juliette Lewis, with an adorable Madonna-gap between her teeth. So young and fresh, as Jo said, that she was “soft as a buttered biscuit. And doesn’t that just steam up your panties.” Jubilee is infinitely charming in her apparent nervousness with no trace of guile. Ah, Valentine’s Day, with a thin brunette with tiny, scrumptious tits, bouncing in her red heels, showing off her exquisite back, so playful and natural. And to think I usually spend V-Day drinking alone.
Kristin Lee opened the second act wearing a gift-wrapped box (all puns are intentional) for her Sweet 16. I don’t mean to intimate that K-Lee should be a Victoria’s Secret model, but this tall Barbie-doll blonde is exactly what every guy I knew in high school self-serviced to, and yes, honey, those are store-bought, not home-grown. Why is it that losing a pair of glasses and letting your hair down is always a sure-fire erotic move? Better not to ask. Whipped cream on the nipples is always a nice touch, but you had me at the folded-over lace bobbie socks.
Lady Deliliah gave her debut to “New York, New York,” in a porkpie and vest with blinking lights, mastering that hose trick that we KNOW she learned from Jo (leg fully extended, stretched hose, barely hanging on to the pointed foot before snapping). Magdalena fox gave us Secretary’s Day by plopping her ass on a copier, causing fantasies to explode in my noggin, from the high-waisted black skirt to the white-ruffled blouse, and give this girl due credit for lip-synching throughout. Rosey LaRouge, a short, bouncy little number, went political to “War,” stripping and holding up anti-Iraq war statistics.
Which takes us to Sapphire Jones, celebrating Worldwide Meat day in a red dress, white apron, and black rubber gloves. An excruciating tall, thin brunette, Sapphire killed with her emphatic winking, making Vargas shudder in his grave. She stripped down to a red sparkly bra and ruffled panties, pulled out a string of sausages and used them as a boa, then using her enormous meat cleaver as coverage to delay the final reveal of her tassel twirling. With a big wink at the end, Sappire wins my Prize for Specificity this week. (Call me.)
I caught up with Miss Delta Jubliee and found out that she’s an actor from Stockton, CA, who’d been doing a lot of experimental, “heady” shows downtown—we call that B.D.T., darling, Bad Downtown Theatre—and just wanted to “something girly, something silly.” She was so innocent and charming, I just couldn’t believe there were still people like her in this bitter, jaded city. “Besides,” she added, “you hear the funniest things backstage. ‘Should I put more glitter on my dildo?’” Yes. Yes, you should. I had no comment and had to slink away, hopelessly crushing.
I kissed Jo’s ring and swore I wouldn’t stop bugging her until I got an exclusive interview, and she admitted, “I love talking about me.” Stay tuned. And while I don’t want to draw focus away from the amateurs, I feel religiously compelled to offer up some coverage from the “pro” show that followed.
The host, “Manchego.” What else would you expect from a man named after cheese? But seriously, folks, AWFUL. Not funny. Not sexy. His between-act chatter was drowned out by the crowd’s between-act chatter. No one was interested in this tool, a marked contrast to Jo’s flawless command of the audience’s attention.
DJ Momotaro, the master of the obscure track, filling in the intermissions with obscure Spanish covers of tunes like “Hang on Sloopy” and “Paint it Black.” Love this guy, love that striped jacket, and yes, ladies, he’s super cute.
Tigger! did his “Spirit in the Sky” act, previously covered in these pages, as well as his “Golden Years.” Love him, mean it.
Nasty Canasta not only pulled a blistering go-go set, but came out in full Furrie regalia, pink with a bear’s head, pink furry suspenders, a pink stuffed bear, sucking on a lollipop, so adorable and wrongly erotic I suddenly felt like Keanu Reeves—a bad actor trapped on camera with no idea what to do with my hands. After stripping to next to nothing she poured a sticky pink liquid all down her glistening chest and belly. Yikes. I hope it tastes like cotton candy. I never cease being amazed by her creativity, but what would you expect from a woman who named herself after a completely obscure cartoon character?
Madame Rosebud. I just need to say that name again. Madame… Rosebud. Loved her before, obsessed with her now. A completely obliterating go-go set, working up a ridiculous sweat, and two acts, the first showing off the Wendy O. Williams electrical tape X’s as pasties that so enamored me to her the first time I saw her. And her second act… holy crap, my notes are illegible, I couldn’t look away. A see-through long black gown, gloves, stockings, wearing a disturbing Chinese mask over her face. Spooky hot. When she removed the mask she was still sporting a black lace blindfold. She revealed her gold pasties just long enough to pull them off. Yes, folks, those are nipples. Cute ones. And then she starts to strike poses on the floor, picking up burning candles from the stage, pouring hot wax over her thighs… completely naked. Shit, we don’t see bush in strip clubs in this town, and we’re seeing this girl completely naked for a five dollar cover? Pouring hot wax over herself? I… I can’t go on. You really had to be there.
And in contrast, Rose Wood, a giant drag queen sporting strap-on fake breasts who is so deliriously offensive you want to give her a hug. Decked out in I-just-walked-off-a-Motley-Crue-video regalia, swinging a booze bottle, she made sure to show us her cock, then put the bottle on the floor, squatted over it, and PICKED IT UP with her ass, pulled said bottle out of her ass, took a swig, and spat water all over the crowd, spraying everyone close enough to squeal. Where else can you see nuttiness like this so far from Bangkok?
Stop jerking off to internet porn. Get out more.