I bet there are some Whedon characters you have always secretly (or not so secretly) wanted to see do a strip-tease… Am I right?
Well, I certainly did, so here’s an account of the night I spent with Lusty Kitten’s tribute to both the art of Burlesque and all things Whedon.
The room is crowded and lit with red. A sea of people in Jayne hats, lab coats, and Geeky t-shirts gather by the bar or weave between the plastic chairs. The patron to my left, Tom, explains that this venue was a much better one than they had the last time they had tried something like this. Lusty Kitten’s productions are becoming so popular; they may have broken a fire code or two in the past. Leaving the table for a while to stretch my legs, I meet Olivia, Gwen, and Armin who are talking excitedly with their beers in hand. Longtime Lusty Kitten fan Olivia exclaims happily “I love that I’ve seen more than one Captain Hammer!” Gwen has never been to one of their productions before. When I asked why she decided to make this one her first, the answer is entirely relatable: “Joss Whedon and beautiful women – two of my favorite things!” Armin adds that he even braved the 405 to be here – truly a dedicated fan.
Nearby where I am standing, a lovely girl with large eyes and sparkling lip gloss introduces herself as Mercury (tonight she will be playing Drusilla).
Mercury has been in burlesque for 6 years, starting in Seattle and she knows this is exactly the life for her. “I like to explore the characters further,” she tells me and adds with a smile “and see others be just as obsessed. It makes me really excited that I’m not the only one.” Looking out over the still-growing audience, I certainly can’t argue with that sentiment.
Mercury introduces me to Jo Jo Stiletto (jojostiletto.com), who heads up the Seattle burlesque troupe and will be making a guest appearance in tonight’s performance (as a Femme-Mal – and yes that joke is made on stage). Jo Jo has turned her passion into a successful occupation as a producer and self-proclaimed Professor of Nerdlesque.
Soon after, we settle in as the show begins. A local Illusionist starts us off before the MC (dressed as Captain Hammer) leads into the real reason everyone paid their 12 bucks – “jokes and sexy women.” “What better way to celebrate Joss, Hollywood’s premiere feminist”, the MC quips, “than with sexy, empowered women taking off their clothes?” The audience agrees with hoots and hollers as the first act takes the stage. A brand new performer gives us femme Dr. Horrible’s real romantic obsession – Captain Hammer!
Next, Willow’s spell goes all wrong and oh-so-right, causing her to shamelessly undulate out of her simple sweater and into full on sex-kitten mode.
Anya’s wedding dress is plagued with bunnies, so what better way to be safe than to just take it off?
Echo, Buffy, Black Widow, Saffron and Drusilla all take their turns to shake what their mammas gave ‘em, stripping down to pasties and decorative thongs. Kida from Atlantis, an enthusiastic Reever with an unfortunate mate (my favorite performance of the night), a killer unicorn with killer curves, and finally, a very athletic Iron Man round out the evening.
I left shortly after the show, despite there being an after party- I’m just not the night owl I once was.
All in all, it was an interesting evening out. Some very in-character performances (Buffy, Anya, Willow, Drusilla, etc.) mingled with fun and creative interpretations (the Reever, the killer unicorn, etc.). The crowd remained lively and receptive, even after who knows how many drinks. With a live musical performance from Gemeni, a reading of erotic fanfiction, a raffle, a sing-a-long, puns and quotes galore, there was – as their charismatic MC put it – “a lot of s**t going on.”