Sat 8 Jun, 2013
Tags: 4 STARS, Belmont Burlesque Revue, BURLESQUE, MsPixy, Theater Wit
The exponential growth of Chicago’s Burlesque scene over the last couple of years has made it possible for almost anyone willing to take their clothes off in public to find a paying audience. Just because someone takes their clothes off in public, however, does not make that person a Burlesque dancer. What an absolute delight it was to spend an evening with actual Burlesque dancers at The Belmont Burlesque Revue.
Our tour guides through this debauched aggregation of late night entertainments were MsPixy and her drink-slash-sidekick Giant Martini. MsPixy has been the golden goose of Chicago Burlesque for the last couple of years, writing and directing and choreographing brilliant Burlesque parody shows, such as Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque and Fellowship of the Boobs: A LOTR, D&D, WoW, RPG Burlesque Adventure. Back onstage with her home troupe, Belmont Burlesque, MsPixy did not perform striptease herself, though she did keep the crowd delighted as she plied her Transylvanian accent hosting and singing, and participating in another performer’s striptease (which will be discussed later). MsPixy was incredibly funny and quick with her wits, and she wrangled a difficult audience better than most local stand-ups could have.
Giant Martini, donning no less than four blue cheese stuffed olives, was not up to his straight man routine of egging MsPixy on to talk dirtier and slur her Transylvanian accent a bit as he got emptier and emptier. Ever the pro, MsPixy did manage admirably without Giant Martini’s usual eighty-proof injection of personality booster. It appears that Giant Martini is strictly on the wagon for a few months, since MsPixy is clearly knocked up. Congratulations to MsPixy and her husband, art photographer K Leo, on their pending offspring.
MsPixy and the other Belmont Burlesque Bombshells had the assistance of a gal who appears to be their new intern or apprentice, Trixi Kidd. While Ms. Kidd has done the old bump-and-grind elsewhere in other shows, she spent most of her time onstage picking up the castoffs of the other performers. She is clearly already a crowd-pleaser, even in these early stages of her, ahem, training. Given her learning curves, I predict that we shall be seeing a lot more of her very soon. (Note to self: update prescription for glasses now.)
Although the Bombshells of Belmont Burlesque pack enough of an entertainment wallop on their own to knock out any audience, the evening did include a few special guests. Lady Jack performed two slick numbers: one as the ultimate sexy maid and the other as a black-and-red clad Latin vision amped up on surf guitar music. The Amazing Tomás, a regular at many cabaret and Burlesque shows around town, brought his always-entertaining blend of comedy and magic to the party and did not disappoint. The devilish and darling Diva La Vida demonstrated that red wine is not only good for her heart, it also makes her clothing peel off and drop to the floor. Comedian Katie McVay played up the obsessiveness of her inner neurotic nebbish, falling somewhere between Willow Rosenberg and Rupert Pupkin.
The Belmont Burlesque Bombshells, however, would not be outdone in their own revue. Kitten Kaboodle seduced the crowd as she writhed around in a nightie (and progressively less) to the spy-and-surf sound of The Reverend Horton Heat’s “In Your Wildest Dreams” — me-OW. There is much more to Titi Touché than just a great pair of gams, and she showed most of that “much more” to awestruck onlookers when she stripped the light fandango to Ray Charles’s “The Nighttime is the Right Time.”
No Belmont Burlesque Revue would be complete without the lethal curves of Paris Green. Scantily costumed in a yellow-and-black nothing that made her look as much like an arch-villain as a sexy bee, Paris Green buzzed and swooped to protect her honey pot from a wily old bear (played by MsPixy), while the boogie-woogie music playing in the background gave her moves their classic rhythm. Burlesque dancing may be half role-playing, but you won’t ever find this much oomph and oolala while a-LARPing in the woods — put that in your beehive and smoke it!
The Belmont Burlesque Bombshells came together for their frilly parasol number, with the vivacious Hazel Hellbender making a guest appearance as the substitute for the preggers MsPixy. The Bombshells appeared to have just stepped out of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte at the Art Institute and strolled over to the theatre. This tightly choreographed routine was one part Busby Berkeley and three parts Moulin Rouge, and one hundred percent charming.
If you just want to see exhibitionists bare all in a public forum, then any old Burlesque show around town will do. If, however, you want to see sensual, seasoned ecdysiasts ply their art by joyously titillating and teasing their fans with neo-vintage Burlesque hipster hip-sway, then The Belmont Burlesque Revue at Theater Wit is perfect.
(“The Belmont Burlesque Revue” runs monthly [next show June 22, 2013] at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave.773-975-8150)
Belmont Burlesque Revue photos by Black Pearl Photo.