A bevy of award-winning burlesque babes, many of whom have performed internationally, hit the stage at Boomers Bar on April 30 for Cha Cha Velour’s monthly show. The evening was conducted by the magician called Bizarro, a charmingly self-deprecating low-baller with flair for making the un-funny quite comedic.
Cha Cha Velour, Mini Tonka, Anita Cookie, Clams Casino and Penny Starr Jr. convened for an evening that showcased their collective talents famously. Penny Starr Jr. rocked a gorilla suit before stripping to a red and black corset affair, but the monkey motif returned at the end with the appearance of a banana, suggestively nibbled. A drink was the focus of one of Anita Cookie’s acts, which featured an inner “should I or shouldn’t I?” debate about whether to drink it or not (she did, eventually, and with gusto).
Clams Casino’s hilarious rendition of an overeager tennis player was commended by the audience and Mini Tonka’s mechanical parody of a robotic creature received similar approval. Cha Cha Velour strutted in style and exuded experience through two classic burlesque numbers that had the audience roaring by the end.
The theme for the performance seemed to be diversity and out-of-the-box-ness, as evidenced by nontraditional numbers executed with incredible confidence. The spread of awards from events like the Burlesque Hall of Fame pageant and the New York Burlesque Festival was impressive and, ostensibly, well-deserved. For this show, “entertaining” would have been a serious understatement.
Even Bizarro, self-defined “Anthrax of Magic,” represented a quirky riff on what Vegas locals have seen so often. His bits involved the likes of Smurfs in Hell, gently used sex dolls, tie-dye duct tape and balloon-swallowing (of the long, then variety, which was appropriately vulgar). Even a botched card trick, whether intentional or not, yielded a feigned “so sue me” belligerence from Bizarro and appreciate laughs from the audience. His standard “shut up” quip brought a contagious immaturity to the show that made it that much more enjoyable.
Novelty and props weren’t the only engines behind the acts, however. Anita Cookie performed in little more than an overcoat, which she playfully rearranged with a teasing smile. Mini Tonka ended one of her sketches with two miniature records adhered in strategic places and Penny Starr Jr. performed a tribute to her grandmother (yes, really) that featured coy kisses and crotchetiness. Clams Casino, clad in bright pink and yellow, pointed and shook her proverbial tail-feathers exuberantly.
The $10-$12 ticket price automatically filed this show under “incredible steal” and proved what many burlesque dancers in Las Vegas have been pronouncing for awhile. Burlesque is not a has-been, and it isn’t just girls dancing in their underwear. If anything will reform this image, it will be performances like this.