by J.D. Oxblood
March 18, 2011
I’m still trying to figure out what the deal is with the R Bar—I think I love it, but the dueling twin stripper poles flanking the front entrance really cry out for, um, strippers. Coz it’d be great seating for pole-work viewing, but without the pole workers, it’s just kind of weird. Anyhoo, the backroom has FOUR poles, and on every other Friday you can see at least two of them being circled by the lovely ladies of the Rhinestone Follies—Beelzebabe, Hazel Honeysuckle, and Kita St. Cyr—and their guests du jour.
The early start time has the crowd lagging in the front room, but as the show kickstarts the back room fills up quickly. The room is red, red, red, and the best part is the bench running the breadth of upstage and the cushioned wall behind it—pre-padded, like a rubber room in a loony bin, so if the show drives you mad with passion you can literally bounce off the walls. The host, Bastard Keith, launches the intro with, predictably, an insult; asking if it’s anyone’s first burlesque show and getting cheers, he counters “Don’t be proud of it—that makes you suck.” Confucious say, “He who try to remedy his suckness, suck less.”
The first act is a straight-ahead introduction to our starlets, beginning with the girl-next-door charm of Beelzebabe in a huge red headdress, slowly vamping to a jazz
drum solo, light struts with bump accents. Costume pieces become a fan, and she drags it out, adding a great lip purse and a final reveal to a pastie twirl. Kita St. Cyr takes the sophomore slot ultra slow, with a super slo-mo glove removal. Second glove is bitten, and she’s busting a shy smile but shaking her moneymaker not shyly at all. She builds it up with her back to the audience, working it with her body pressed up against the rubber walls, on her knees on the back bench. There’s always something great about seeing a woman use the upstage wall, and it really works in this venue. And the “delicate flower” of burlesque, the razor thin (though surprisingly well-endowed) Hazel Honeysuckle, opens with showing off her better assets, up against the red, displaying them gams. Again, the music is jazz, and the boudoir theme runs rampant.
Special guest this week, the Flying Fox, who apparently has relocated (semi-permanently?) to NYC from SF, so we should be seeing more of her. Rocking a giant blonde wig and an all-gold brocade dress and gold gloves, the Fox truly pays serious specificity to her hand gestures. Sound geeky? Should I say something about her tits? Have I just been watching this stuff for too long?—nope, I don’t think so. I’ll keep saying it till people listen—specificity is everything. Devil in the details. And it’s worth noting that when the Fox hugs herself—or her breasts, at least—she seems to do it with LOVE.
Now, Beelzebabe asked me to “write only nice things,” but y’all know me better than that. My principal complaint is the audience. WTF, assholes? Why pay to get into a show if you’re not going to watch? I feel like I’m forever having these conversations about how the burlesque scene needs an audience and we can’t have an audience made up of only other performers at other shows and even the weekend warrior D-bags (remember the Slipper Room?) have their place, but COME ON. The bitches behind me—sorry, that’s rude. The crassly loud, infinitely annoying women behind me would not shut up for any reason. Even as Bastard Keith was over-the-top admonishing some guy in the back for texting instead of paying attention, these women were talking louder to be heard over him. And I’m not saying they came to see Grace Gotham, I’m just saying she was the only act they paid any attention to.
Burlesquers everywhere, please bring your friends out to support your art. So long as they have some motherfucking manners.
Whew. Beelzebaby, I did love the last act—all 3 Rhinestones in a row—as it’s all fans, all legs, all sweetness and grace. The covering each other up with fans is classically cute, and untying each other’s costumes has a slumber-party voyeur’s shiver to it. And any show that ends with three ladies tassel twirling in triplets is a mighty fine thing.
All photos ©Melody Mudd. Contact email@example.com for permissions. Performers using shots for promotional purposes, please credit properly with photographer’s full name and a link to this piece. Performers who would like hi-rez images, please get in touch.