Minetta Lane, Kylie Koyote, and Stella D'Letto in Stripped Screw's "The Best Burlesque Pageant Ever!" (Photos by Wavepainters Photography)
Ah, Stripped Screw. You can always count on them to push things a little bit far. The title of their holiday show- The Best Burlesque Pageant Ever!– was a pretty gutsy declaration in itself; in a city positively teeming with holiday shows, the girls of Stripped Screw just about hit the mark, in more ways than one.
For starters, there wasn’t a single clichéd naughty Mrs. Claus in the bunch. The clever premise was a story within a story: the bad girls (The Screws) show up at a rival troupe’s burlesque pageant, where auditions are under way- overseen by a very proper and formidable Miss Kitty Baby. In a bad girl invasion not unlike the Riverbottom Nightmare Band hijacking Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas, the delinquent Screws turn the pageant upside down. Kutie LaBootie played the nerd-girl yearning to channel her inner harlot, Juniper Gin and Laela Lovechild were the straight-laced beauty queens ripe for a deflowering.
Although Stripped Screw has been (up until now) known for pushing a somewhat lawless agenda, the inclusion of Miss Kitty Baby in all her megawatt glamour was a brilliant contrast. Kitty Baby took her time with a sizzling, purposeful, eye-popping strip that reminded me of Jo Weldon or one of the Legends from years past. Each reveal was a buildup of tension and release that nearly derailed the storyline for a moment…not to mention that a full-blown classic number in the middle of a Stripped Screw show was a rarity in itself.
Jesse Belle-Jones guest starred (in place of the vacationing Violet Tendencies), poking fun at her serious side by shifting from the angsty-Screw into the Screw most likely to shop at Express. Later in the show, Jesse popped out a baby Messiah- i.e., Kylie Koyote crawled on her hands and knees, “magically” appearing from beneath Jesse’s virginal skirts.
Coupled with Stella D’Letto’s beautifully expressive face and Minetta Lane’s detached sneer during “Trouble Is a Friend”, it was clear that Stripped Screw’s wicked sense of humor is sitting very well with the current lineup. The show was much more cohesive than the usual collection of numbers with holiday music mixed in. They’re not taking themselves too seriously, and they definitely know how to play the pack of bruisers that other girls (and boys) want to hang out with.
Kylie Koyote (Wavepainters Photography)
Miss Kitty Baby (Wavepainters Photography)
Blasé at the virgin birth. (Wavepainters Photography)
A pageant to remember indeed. (Wavepainters Photography)
All photos used with kind permission of Wavepainters Photography and the ladies of Stripped Screw.