Mr. Dusty Rose and I lean close together at a small table between two stages in a room sequestered away in the depths of the queer Brooklyn nightclub 3 Dollar Bill.
“What do you think of the show?” he asks.
I tell him I’d never seen someone staple-gun a prop to their dance partner before.
“Just you wait,” he says before rising and wandering to the next table.
Dusty Rose — clad in a black three-piece suit, white shirt and open collar — hosts the Rose Room, the two-stage venue inside the 3 Dollar Bill. He personally brings each group of guests to their table as they enter the room.
The show opens just after 10 p.m. when emcee Brandon Looney enters the stage, flanked by two other dancers, the whole entourage dressed in bright red coats with floor-length tails and shining black thigh-high boots. In a clear tenor, Looney launches into the opening lines of Hugh Jackman’s “The Greatest Show.”
The crowd is hooked. By the first chorus, Looney has every table in the room clapping and singing along. For the first time in months, I feel the pulsing bass of a club’s sound system reverberate in my chest. It feels damn good.
The next act, featuring Faux Pas le Fae and Aurora North of Kinetic Cabaret Productions, is an electric scene straight out of the Weimar-era Berlin queer underground set or the self-described “Brechtian punk cabaret” group the Dresden Doll’s.
Le Fae and North, working under the name the Brides, strut and spar on stage, eventually pulling each other together in a flurry of ribbon leashes and glitter-coated hearts fastened to their chests with silver staple guns that flash under the spotlights.
The Brides walk off stage to applause from the wide-eyed audience.
A spotlight flashes on the stage in the center of the room and reveals Rose Room resident dancer Jack Blackmon in an Orville Peck-esque getup: a tasseled mask and sherpa-lined denim jacket over a silky fringed shirt and a pair of high-waisted denim trousers. He begins an impressive strip tease, removing those trousers while performing a handstand before landing in a full split.
Blackmon is followed on the center stage by the equally entrancing Melissa Anderson, also a resident dancer at the Rose Room.
The show continues until around midnight andfeatures performances by mentalist Eric Dittelman, axe-juggling by resident circus performer Sam Urdang and more acts from Looney, Blackmon and the Brides. The Rose Room runs Thursdays through July 8 and tickets go for between $100-200, depending on the size of your group. See the 3 Dollar Bill website here for the schedule.
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Top photo credit: Eric Walton
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