A banner week -- for me, that's defined as a week with not one but two burlesque shows in town -- began very well last night as a troupe of burlesque artists from New York brought  "Dangerous Curves Ahead: Burlesque On The Go-Go" to Phoenix.

"Dangerous Curves Ahead" Burlesque Show Wows at Trunk Space

The show took place outside the Trunk Space on Grand Avenue in an adjacent fenced-in lot, and thank the vaudeville gods for that. 

In the past I've caught another excellent burlesque troupe, The Pretty Things Peepshow, on several occasions at the Trunk Space and the small venue filled up to the point where, unless the entire audience was sitting down, it was nearly impossible to see the show. The outdoor location offered all a good view of the stage. 

And as an added bonus, Rocky Yazzie from the local band Skinwalkers made frybread.

Last night's show featured a mix of out-of-state talent as well as local folks, with the Dr. Rev. Stephen Strange hosting. The good doctor introduced the girls, picked up their shed garments, told bad jokes, and performed some old Strange Family Circus favorites, including sticking a mouse-trap on his tongue and later sticking the same abused tongue into a whirring fan.

The burlesque ladies from New York had stage presence as great as their names, and their names were fantastic: Darlinda Just Darlinda, Clams Casino, Anita Cookie, Gigi La Femme, and Minnie Tonka. 

The show never got repetitive or stale. Tonka did a Drag King number to ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man" rocking a black suit and fake moustache. Clams Casino danced like Axl Rose to "Sweet Child O Mine," stripping down to nothing but a set of KISS pasties. 

Anita Cookie dressed up like Dorothy from "The Wizard Of Oz" and sang "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road," before hurling her stuffed Toto offstage, along with the blue dress that Auntie Em gave her. 

Darlinda's dance to a song from "Hair" ended hilariously when she flashed a fake bush at the audience that looked like she had Chewbacca's scalp stuck between her legs. And Gigi La Femme spanked herself so persistently with a paddle onstage that it was like watching the erotic masochistic fantasies of a ping-pong ball.

The show ended with local talent. A student in Pyra Sutra's burlesque class blew my mind by basing a routine around Patti Smith's "Piss Factory", not just because the "Rosie The Riveter"-ish routine was done well, but because who the hell would think to do a striptease to Patti Smith? Simply incredible. 

And Pyra Sutra herself, wearing a brassiere that could double as a set of disco balls, ended the night with an elaborate and hypnotic fan dance. After the whole cast gathered onstage for a curtain call, Strange ate fire. Ahat for tips for the performers was passed around, and the ladies started assembling their impressive merchandise table onstage. 

In all, it was an excellent night of twirling tassels and bawdy jokes.

And while it's sad that these lovely ladies are leaving town and it may be a while before we get a chance to see them do their thing again, for those of you burlesque fans out there who had the misfortune of missing Monday's show, don't despair: The Trunk Space will be hosting another burlesque show this Friday, featuring Kitty Victorian and Tucson's DragStar Cabaret. Doors open at 7:30, tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. 

If you can think of a better way to spend your Friday night than watching elegant ladies in various states of undress, I'd like to hear it.

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