Sometimes you walk around Bushwick and you know where you are going.
Sometimes you don’t know where you want to end up. The majority of the times, you know where you are going, but you don’t know what is about to come. This past Tuesday, I found my way to the Morgan Bar where Scary Ben and Darlinda Just Darlinda invited me to the world of Bushwick Burlesque.
Burlesque retains a special relationship with its audience. An audience that every night enters in this mystagogy of eroticism with nude goddesses and bacchian satyrs. They scandalize us and taunt us to be one with them in the celebration of the body. And as the performance grows throughout time, the audience grows along with it. Last Tuesday I met people who had been attending the Bushwick Burlesque performances consistently for a year, when the troupe was in its nascent stages, as well as newbies who said it was their first time. One long-time audience member told me that this performance evolved from hosting just a group of friends, to attracting a much larger and more diverse audience.
Scary Ben told me that along with the growing audience, the troupe has been evolving into more of a performance art show seen through the lens of cabaret. They are slowly building the show to be more of a farce. They are nonsensical and they don’t follow the rules, by making them up as they go along, or by breaking them like they break the boundaries between the stage and the audience.
The show, which morphs into something different each time, was about love. A week after Valentine’s, love was still a theme in Bushwick and Scary Ben promised us “Boobs, booze, balls and more.” Once we got the burlesque etiquette out of the way, we were introduced to this night’s kitten, Miss Phara Way, who delivered a short and funny sketch with scherzo. She was followed by the “International Burlesque Sensation and Mastermind of Bizarre Extravaganza,” Darlinda Just Darlinda, dressed as a femme fatale from the past. She was a woman filled with mystique and stories of men passed and gone, and by the end invited us to the praise of the nude goddess. Later, Scary Ben connected with the audience by creating a rhythmic clap in unison. The Chameleon of the Tease Bambi Galore got on stage and threw her accessories, articles of clothing and an oval ring into a box of mementos, as if they were individual memories.
People socialized during the intermission, talking loudly, laughing and carrying the atmosphere into the second part of the show, which began in darkness with dim lighting on Scary Ben. What started ominously became a ridiculous confession sang by a clown. He was interrupted by a loud and profane version of “Take me to the next whiskey bar” by Cherry Typhoon, a tease of what we would see in the end.
This last act gave way to a regular routine for Bushwick Burlesque that involves the audience becoming a part of the performance and showing off a combination of skills and nudity. It was a competition that didn’t discriminate against genders; both men and women were able to show off their booty bouncing. The best won, by the audience’s approval, a drink at the bar and a place in Bushwick Burlesque’s Hall of Fame. Darlinda rode the wave of joy with a disco infused sketch in a performance inspired by the eroticism of Valentine’s night, filling the stage with condoms as her own version of erotic confetti.
In this celebratory mood, it was time for the birthday love. It was the time for the birthday girl to receive, needless to say, the best sexiest lap dance in Bushwick.
Professional sensationalist Amber Ray, got onstage to the sounds of Bjork’s “It’s Oh So Quiet” and dressed as a pink fluffy bunny, dancing frantically and teasing everybody in the audience. For the final act we welcomed Cherry Typhoon to the stage, dressed in a blue sparkly dress and holding a classic Japanese umbrella, dancing into a sketch filled with cultural references from around the world. After her performance, cherry blossoms on stage, the show was over.
I found my way home after participating into this celebration of the profane, of the sexy, the vulgar and the kitsch combined with unlimited amounts of funny limericks, songs and slapstick, and realized that it wasn’t anything that I was expecting. It was much better, a rollercoaster into a world of glitter, extravaganza and outrageous stories.
It’s the most fun you can have on your Tuesday night with your pants on. Or off. It depends on if you want to booty bounce.
Bushwick Burlesque is producing a Benefit event for Burlesque Legend Jean Idelle so that she can attend The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas, NV. This show has a 1950’s formal theme and will take place March 16th at a private loft in Williamsburg called House of Collection. The show will be starring Dirty Martini, The World Famous *BOB*. The Maine Attraction, Legs Malone, Essence Revealed, Chicava HoneyChild and TIGGER!
The next Bushwick Burlesque Show is “Destination Bushwick” on March 19th with a line-up of mostly out of town/traveling performers Lux LaCroix (LA), Bella Blue (NOLA), Jo Boobs, Matt Dallow and Donny Vomit.
You can follow Bushwick Burlesque on Twitter @BushwickBurlyQ