Get Haunted (or, How To Inhabit A Character).

Portland’s Lady Stockholm as the Elephant Man (POC Photo)

~ All photos by Paul O’Connell (POC Photo), text by Jessica (with additional assistance from Jo Jo Stiletto).

Two shows in October proved that becoming possessed by a simple, yet brilliant idea and truly inhabiting a character for a few minutes of stage time often carries an act more than showing a bit of skin (although in burlesque, that’s the delicious icing on a many-layered cake).

First, Portland’s Sign of the Beast & Go Go Rocket Productions brought Black Lodge Burlesque: A Night of Cabaret Inspired by David Lynch to Seattle – an impressive feat for an all out-of-town cast – and knocked David Lynch fans on their proverbial asses with their spot-on interpretations and subtle Lynchian references. The nightmarish phone call scene from Lost Highway was expertly recreated by Vera Mysteria as the creepy “Mystery Man” character, ending with a life size and amusingly nineties-style dancing cell phone.  Hai Fleish brought the life and death of Laura Palmer to a vivid conclusion, and Baby Le’Strange played a dual role as Dorothy and Frank from Blue Velvet– complete with an oxygen mask yanked from her skivvies. The show was hosted by who else? The Log Lady (Vera Mysteria once again).

Geeklesque Unites was a collaborative show dreamed up by Jo Jo Stiletto Events and Portland’s Critical Hit.  The theme cast a wide net: everything from comics to video games, cult films and role playing games were represented. In structuring the show the producers avoided requesting new acts, instead using the theme as a guide to selecting from a library of already fully-formed (but sometimes rarely seen) acts.  The result was the “best of the best” of the geeklesque genre, and probably the most fun, smart, and unabashedly sexy show I’ve seen in a long time.

What made the show exceptional was the obvious passion in the creation of the roles and the way the performers inhabited them. The joy in presenting each character was so clear and creatively executed that even acts whose source material I wasn’t familiar with made for memorable, compelling characters- sometimes the weirder, the better.

Violet Tendencies reprised her role as Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled princess from Game of Thrones, fetishizing her dragon’s eggs with actual hot candle wax poured on her body; Iva Handfull found split second humor as a video game character on ‘pause’, and Randi Rascal made Tetris provocative. Several performers used dual roles to unique effect: Kit Katastrophic played both heroine and monster from Creature from the Black Lagoon. The Infamous Nina Nightshade played both Aughra and Kira from The Dark Crystal (the 1982 fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz).  The Infamous Nina Nightshade appeared again as both “Light Lili” and “Dark Lili” from the 1985 film Legend directed by Ridley Scott.

Jo Jo Stiletto explained the collaborative process of curating the acts: “Honestly, we could have made the show much longer with some epic acts from other performers in Seattle and Portland but we thought this was the perfect mix,” she said. “For Geeklesque Unites both Sophie and I wanted to show off how good nerdlesque can really be- to bring all the epic acts together under one roof. We didn’t want to ask anyone to create acts for this either. There really are so many good acts that deserve to be seen again.”

“It was meant to be a nerd cornucopia,” she continued. “…I wanted, honestly, to put out a really tight show… I wanted to really show that ‘Sustainable Nerdlesque’ that was written about earlier this summer. I think this is what sustainable looks like”.

Regardless of the clever catchphrases- geeklesque, nerdlesque, etc. – loving your source material and inhabiting a character is what these shows were about.  It’s also what makes a good idea into a great one.

Black Lodge Burlesque @ Rebar October 2012:

Vera Mysteria: Lost Highway style (POC Photo)

Hai Fleisch as Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks (POC Photo)

Laura “wrapped in plastic”- and Bob, played by Baby Le’Strange (POC Photo)

Meghan Mayhem as Wild at Heart’s Lula, with Sailor’s precious “symbol of individuality and personal freedom”  (POC Photo)

Burk Biggler as “The Arm” (POC Photo)

Baby Le’Strange in dual roles as Dorothy/Frank from Blue Velvet (POC Photo)

Vera Mysteria as the Log Lady gone wild- yes, that *is* an owl (POC Photo)


Geeklesque Unites @ Rebar, October 2012:

The host of Geeklesque Unites!- Vanadium Silver (POC Photo)

Randi Rascal’s super sexy/super clever ode to Tetris (POC Photo)

Kit Katastrophic in dual roles as heroine and Creature from the Black Lagoon (POC Photo)

The Infamous Nina Nightshade as Kira, a Gelfling from the Dark Crystal (POC Photo)

Iva Handfull as Napoleon Dynamite (POC Photo)

Violet Tendencies as Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled princess from Game of Thrones, with her dragon’s eggs (POC Photo)

Lady Drew Blood as Moist, from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog…the true test of “can someone make an interesting act based on the smallest reference or character”, says producer Jo Jo Stiletto.

Satira Sin as GoGo Yubari from Kill Bill (POC Photo)

The Infamous Nina Nightshade as Light Lili and Dark Lili from the movie Legend (POC Photo)

Sophie Maltease as Gimli from Lord of the Rings (POC Photo)

Sophie Maltease plays Dungeons and Dragons with her d20 Gary. (“Or, simply, Sophie as Gamer Girl” says Jo Jo Stiletto)

A role within a role: Scarlett O’Hairdye as Wil Wheaton & the character Wesley Crusher (POC Photo)

~ by angrytruffle on 10/27/2012.

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