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Let’s do the time warp again! And by “time warp” I mean warping to an alternate universe about six months from now when the Nouveau Burlesque, downtown New York’s indigenous revival of the Great 20th Century American Burlesque, opens on The Great White Way. Now, this is an alternate universe, so it looks similar, but it is not identical to our own. In this alternate universe, some greats of our contemporary scene have different names and different histories: Jo Boobs is still the boss, but the alternate Boobs is still partying like it’s 1979. The famous, gritty theater where it all goes down is either The Box or the Slipper Room crossed with the Minsky’s National Winter Garden Theater, circa 1925, and the beautiful ingénue isn’t a brainy, erudite Fordham grad, she’s an NYU doctoral student writing a thesis on alternative gender performance, circa 1995.

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This Friday, November 6th, check out the glorious return of This Is Burlesque with The Pontani Sisters and Murray Hill!

Cultural Capitol talked to Angie Pontani about the new space and the new show. “The new space is fantastic,” she told us. The stage is upstairs at Sweet Carolines on West 45th between 8th and 9th Avenues. “It has a much larger stage and better sight lines for the audience, yet it maintains the intimate style of Corio.  We are also pretty excited to be in Times Square!”

If you loved the extended Pontani burlesque famiglia you won’t be disappointed with the new lineup. Murray Hill, The Pontani Sisters (Angie, Helen, and Peekaboo Pointe) with guests-in-residence Melody Sweets and Little Brooklyn are still the hardest working family in showbiz.

I asked if there were any surprises in store for the upcoming run. “Yes,” Angie said, there will be “new numbers for sure and bigger and better then ever.  With such a large stage we are going to be able to use more props and perform larger group numbers.  The Gin Bath act has a new home — I am so excited to do that act every weekend!”

Friday will be an extra special evening because it is also Angie’s birthday! (Happy birthday!)

Get your tickets now!

This Is Burlesque

Every Friday and Saturday night at 9:30

Sweet Carolines, 322 West 45th Street

For advance tickets call 212-977-3884

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Moments before Lady GaGa took the stage at Terminal 5

I was cranky at 11:45 after spending 45 minutes in stop-and-go traffic on the Williamsburg Bridge. It seemed like everyone on Long Island was trying to push their cars into Manhattan. I prayed that some supernatural force would strike upstate lawmakers blind and replace them with legislators who know that fewer cars in Manhattan + more money for the MTA = real growth for NYC. Then I prayed to make it to Lady GaGa’s show at Terminal 5 on time.

The doors opened at 11. Three opening acts made up the bill, and I figured each one would be 15 minutes, so by the time I rolled in at 12, I was prepared to be homicidally angry, worried that I had missed her altogether. But luck was on my side. She waited for the witching hour to start the show, and I had just enough time to grab a drink and wade hip deep into the sweaty, writhing flesh pond surrounding the stage before beats started pumping out of the PA.

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Murray and friends at Corio Saturday April 25 2009

Murray and friends at Corio Saturday April 25 2009

Don’t get any funny ideas from the title of this post. When I say I spent Saturday night on Murray Hill, don’t think I was drinking at the Rodeo Bar.

I was the special guest of legendary Murray Hill for “This is Burlesque” at Corio. “That’s impossible!” I hear you say. “You’re just an anonymous blogger whose idea of a good time on Saturday night is to get stress management counseling at the Bay Ridge Community Service Center.” Yes, that may be true. But thanks to Twitter, I made a new friend, and he made my night.

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by J.D. Oxblood

Our livery car driver has inexplicitly decided to roll all the way down Flatbush, which is like a Christmas Eve parking lot considering that it’s Saturday night in Park Slope.  I’m wearing a gangster-fied pinstriped double-breasted jacket, my editor is in a full tux, and our other accomplice looks like a 1950s cartoon character.  We’re rolling with three gorgeous women and a bodyguard; I somehow feel that we’re one gorgeous woman short—I like to ride with a spare.

We arrive at the Montauk Club, designed by Francis H. Kimball and completed in 1891.  The story goes that he was inspired by a palace on Venice’s Grand Canal, and the imposing Venetian gothic architecture rises from the banality of the Slope like a monolith in a highlands desert.  Stone.  Mahogany.  Stained glass.  My jacket pocket feels suddenly empty—I really should be packing hooch to fully be in character.

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“Come on, let’s go downtown, Trixie and the Monkey are performing at the Slipper Room.”

“No, no… I’m drunk, I don’t have a notebook with me, I don’t have my camera—“

“Let’s just go see the show!”

“Ok, fine, but I’m not working!”

Famous last words. Hear me, O children, as I say verily unto you, once one has started down the path of wickedness, there is, truly, no turning back. And truly, once one has committed oneself to the recording of said wickedness, merely being wicked will never again suffice. Which is a long-winded way of saying, I went to the Slipper Room and totally blew my cover. It had been so long… I was just so HAPPY to be back in a burlesque venue, and the show was so show-stoppingly amusing, and I so show-stoppingly inebriated, that I just couldn’t HELP myself from talking to the performers and generally making a total ass of myself.

Click here for the HIGHLIGHTS!

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By J.D. Oxblood 

“I can promise you, if LAST CALL AT THE STARLINER LOUNGE isn’t one of the most original shows that you’ve ever seen, then I will eat a pack of cigarettes.”  With an offer like that, how could I refuse?  Yes, that was the inimitable Snuffy Patterson, and I was half hoping the show would suck so that I could watch him suck ‘em down.  No dice, but it turns out I still won:  he eats a cigarette in the opening as an ad for “Turkish Cigarettes—the cure for halitosis.”  The sourpuss face on this kid is priceless.

We’re back at Corio, another night of hopeless debauchery, shaking off the post-holiday season delirium tremens.  It’s a Wednesday night and cold enough to freeze the rye on my breath.  Seems that all the gorgeous dames in this place only work the Pontani shows; the skirt serving us hooch is looking a little long in the tooth.  Maybe it’s a good thing that she’s not in a corset.

Brian Newman and his band loosen the crowd with a couple of standards, starting with “All of Me.”  This kid looks about two days past getting his draft card, and so thin you could pick your teeth with him.  He can warble, though, so damn well I wondered if the horn in his hand was just a prop.  But he made a sucker of all of us and blew the damn thing better than Gabriel.  He’s backed by keys, skins, a bull fiddle who can lay down a bass line that walks with a ten incher down the left leg, and a sharp-dressed urbanite blowing a thoughtful motif on a tenor sax.

I settle into a cold one and tried to follow the convoluted plot.

Snuffy, our narrator, picks up as Softy Malone enters

It’s true. These guys really rock. If you’re in Dubai, they’re at the Seaview Hotel in the Marine bar. (Sorry if the video resolution is crappy. It’s Youtube’s fault. I’m working on improving it.)

Chapter 1:
Friday, 9/19: Premiere Party at the Bell House
By J.D. Oxblood
Photos by Jane Smith

The Love Show

The Love Show

[***3 kisses indicate J.D.’s faves.]

I showed up early and was hit in the face by the smell of wood varnish. The space is brand spanking new and I can’t really figure out why they opened a venue of this size in this location. It’s Gowanus, people, which sounds like something you get from raggedy chicks on Craigslist and might very well be. The walk from the elevated F/G stop at Smith and 9th was like a descent into something from Dante’s imagination. Or Cleveland. You choose. And this joint is the kind of high-ceiling, wooden beam affair where you expect to see moose heads on the wall. And the crowd in the lounge? These are the kinds of guys that make you ashamed to be an American—guys who are used to yelling at each other in somebody’s kitchen. They still reek of Bolognese sauce. They’re so psyched to have a bar in their neighborhood they might never go home. Fortunately, the big room was, in fact, very big, so it was possible to get close to the performers. The crowd was mixed and fairly young—those brave enough to make the trek to Gowanus—with an extra helping of young dudes rubbing up against their young babes with the unbridled optimism of knowing they’ll have something to do with their boners when the show is over. Ah, the fantasy of a threesome. Girls, don’t be upset that your boy isn’t thinking about you; just be glad it’s you he’s fucking. The first two gogo dancers were, um, not much of dancers and less of gogo, but they were soon replaced by a smokin’ hot black girl with Supremes sensibilities, and a big, fleshy redhead who was so generous in spreading her ass for the crowd that I considered trying to take her home and skip the whole damn festival. It would take the entire weekend to work THAT out.

Scotty, the Big Blue Bunny is right this way!

THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE %*&#! COVERAGE OF THE 6TH ANNUAL NEW YORK BURLESQUE FESTIVAL ANYWHERE ON THE INTERWEB!

Roxy Dlight Friday at the Bell House

(Sound of Alka Seltzer plop plop fizz fizzing. A Zippo lighter clicks, lights, clicks shut. Venetian blinds are drawn. J.D.’s voice is heard; a voice scarred by cigarettes, Hendricks Gin, and late, late nights of carousing with half-naked… er, people.)

If I sound exhausted it’s because I am. Tore up from the floor up. Shredded like my mini-wheats without the frosting. My four-day stubble has four-day stubble. My front room is knee-deep in beer and whiskey. I think I may have seen too many boobies. Let me say that again. I think I may have seen too many boobies. The last time I saw that much flesh it was Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Katrina was just the name of a sweet young girl from Kansas who took a left turn at Albuquerque.

You gotta hand it to Angie Pontani—the lady knows how to throw a party. Four days, four venues, eighty-eight acts by my count—adds up to well over a hundred performers—and so much hotness the Devil himself had to go back home to cool off. My knees ache from standing at attention, my [unmentionable] aches from standing at attention, my feet are swollen, my fingers are nicotine- and ink-stained, my lungs are crying out for non-nicotine-flavored air, my liver has straight-up packed its bags and left me—AND it took the dog—my sinuses are about to fall to the floor and I’m pretty sure I raised the GNP of Columbia this weekend. I’ve given out a dozen fake names, and at least four other people have claimed to be me in the hopes of getting free schwag, which basically adds up to a half dozen people thinking they had sex with J.D. Oxblood this weekend, or a half dozen people who don’t know they had sex with J.D. Oxblood this weekend, depending on your point of view. Murray, I told you, that’s confectioner’s sugar, it’s Monday morning, and you need to get the hell out of my bathtub. Anita, you can stop acting drunk, it’s over. Let me call you a car, and yes, I’ll call you. Purrhaps. Scotty, I meant everything I said and at least half of what we did, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends.

Get some!

Cultural Capitol wants to send a giant shout out and big up to Jen Gapay and the wonderful women (and men, and other) of the New York Burlesque Festival. We had a great time covering the events. Here is a list of the festival winners:

Biggest Media Whore: Tie: Angie Pontani / Murray Hill
Best Booty Shaker: Gigi La Femme
Best Gams: Delirium Tremens
Best Dressed: Amber Ray
Best Body: Dirty Martini
Most Charismatic: World Famous *BOB*
Hottest Freshman: Roxi Dlite
Most Likely to Win on Survivor: Nasty Canasta
Sexiest Eyes: Indigo Blue
Sweetest Smile: Anita Cookie
Classiest Dame: Michelle L’Amour
Biggest Diva: Dirty Martini
Biggest Tease: Roxi Dlite
Biggest Cougar: Jo Boobs
Most Likely to Go Gay in 2009: Tie: Broadway Brassy / Pinchbottom
Most Likely to Turn Name into an Unpronouncable Symbol: Tigger!

Congratulations to you all!

By J.D. Oxblood

Caught the Monday night again at Public Ass. (“Public Assembly is just a stupid name. It will heretofore be referred to, in these pages, as Public Ass. Suits my idiom.) It’s nice to see that in spite of all the gentrification, the old Billburg spirit is alive and well at Public Ass—the bartenders suck. Too cool for school, way too cool to actually pour a drink or care about tips. Amen, my brethren

The less said about Jonny Porkpie’s Fresh Faces Showcase the better — although WordyGirl’s diss on the U.S. of A. was … something. And at midnight I had to get the hell out of there and get me some up-close-and-personal T & A.

😉

Consequently I couldn’t stick around for GiGi’s Monday Night Blue, so so all you’re gonna get is the highlights of the main event. Deal.

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Monday, July 7, 2008 marked the opening night of the new Monday Night Burlesque at the Performance Space Formerly known as Galapagos. The act to christen the space, or, to “embooben,” as Nasty Canasta put it, was no other than the now super-famous Julie Atlas Muz. She came on in classic black — eyes big as swimming pools complete with bikini-clad pleasure models lounging with Mai Tais — lost her black dress in under a minute, sucked off a rose in fellatiatic splendor, spat out the petals, spilling down her bare bosom, and before anyone could quite check the turgidity of his member, was crawling across the bar to bathe herself with a bowl and a bar of soap, complete with avid pit and crotch scrubbing. No one does nudity with laughter better than the Muz. She finished with a bottle of vodka upended over her entire body and I half-thought she was going to set her entire figure on fire. Let me be the one to tell you, folks: Julie looks hotter now than she did when I first saw her naked, 8 years ago. That’s some serious deal with the devil, and I think he got took.

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