“Hello, I’m Colonel Harrison. The Year is 2056, and I am with the UNITED ALLIES. Tonight, we will quash the hopes and dreams of the Resistance! Please, no cell phones or flash photography for the duration of the performance.”
We were greeted by the one and only Dave Deneen (AKA Mr. Deadguy) as we walked in through the archaic doors of the PhilaMOCA. Colonel Harrison was armed with military boots, a WWII officer’s cap and coveralls, and a pistol equipped with drop leg holster.
“Hey Dave! Happy New Ye –”
“My name is Colonel Harrison!” he corrected “And this is my nephew, Cubby. He will lead you to your extermination quarters.”
Sweet T and I had just arrived at “The Last Burlesque Show on Earth”. This end-of-the-world themed show was hosted and produced by Miss Liberty Rose and Hayley Jane, the women behind “I Heart Burlesque” and “The Broad Street Burlies”. The contextual backstory for the event was centered on a post-WWIII dystopia in which we (the audience members) were the victims of an oppressive global government determined to totally exterminate its citizens. Our only hope was tonight’s performers – a rag-tag resistance group led by Hayley Jane and Miss Liberty Rose.
We were whisked upstairs to the VIP section of the PhilaMOCA. The balcony was furnished with hats, noisemakers, beads, Colonel Harrison’s radio bunker, and our own personal bathroom. Projected on the opposite wall above the stage was an ominous digital timer; there was approximately one hour and fifty seven minutes until our extermination.
That was when our host, Miss Liberty Rose, came bounding up the steps to the VIP section to greet us.
“Thanks so much for coming out tonight you guys! Just as a reminder, the United Allies has banned the citizens or Resistance members from using any technological devices like cell phones or cameras during our time here in the bunker. No one wants to be exterminated early!”
“You guys really stay in character, don’t you?” I said as I sipped my beer.
“You bet we do! It’s our only hope to defeating the United Allies and saving ourselves from Extermination. Enjoy the show guys!” She scampered off back down the stairs to start the show. We had to hand it to them; their dedication to the storyline was impressive.
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! We are the Unholy Sideshow!” shouted a dread-locked, bearded man with tattoos and piercings who went by the title of Reverend First Minister. The man simply known as “Rev” was here to get us ready for the world of pain awaiting us when Extermination came.
“Tonight, folks, we will thrill you and disgust you with a variety of blood-curdling acts! I’m Rev and this is JaySin Aces, and this – is a bed of nails!”
Unholy Sideshow members Catalina Askew (a beautiful buxom redhead) and Davey Danger (an extremely muscular little person) carried a bed of nails onto the stage and unfolded it. JaySin and Rev proceed to lie with their heads at opposite ends of the nails while Davey Danger and Catalina Askew took turns standing on them.
It was about this time that I decided I needed to go down and get a drink from Brettzo the Bartender.
“Shot of the whiskey, sir.”
“Here you go, Roc. Would you care for some end-of-the-world snacks before we die?” Brettzo pointed to two enormous containers of party mix and pretzels and a giant pyramid of stacked Twinkies.
“It’s the only food fit for apocalypse!”
I downed my shot and hurried back to my seat, stuffing the rest of the Twinkie back into my mouth before sitting down.
My attention shifted back to the stage where Dottie Riot was keeping us tantalized with a beautifully choreographed feather dance. She was followed by Hayley Jane, who excited us with a toy soldier routine that left little to the imagination. Miss Liberty Rose closed out the first half of the with an homage to the quintessentially idealized woman – Barbie – complete with giant cellophane sealed packaging and the removal of clothing with intentional doll-like rigidity.
I glanced at the colossal clock still counting down to the New Year. One hour and eleven minutes until our extermination. Not much longer now.
After intermission the crew of the Unholy Sideshow continued to perform horrifying and skin-crawling acts of depravity. Their feats of personal injury and skill included chopping cantaloupes off of Davey Danger’s washboard abs with a meat cleaver, throwing darts at Catalina Askew’s exposed breasts and midsection, obliterating a cucumber held between JaySin’s teeth with a real chainsaw, and the good Reverend swinging a large weight from the hole in his pierced tongue. At one point, the Reverend even had the male and female citizenry shouting their respective sexual organs in noisy competition.
The ladies of the Resistance finished up the night in true end of the world fashion. Dottie Riot performed her signature Ghillie-suit love-dance and had our hearts singing as she spun her tassels onstage. Hayley Jane wowed us with an evening gown/feather dance combo of the most stimulating quality. Miss Liberty Rose sent us off with a final dance for which I would gladly trade execution for a chance to watch her perform again. The clock on the wall now read six minutes and thirty two seconds till extermination.
All the members of the Resistance were brought back on stage and bowed for us as the timer clicked away.
“Well folks,” Hayley began, “We didn’t manage to defeat the United Allies, but at least we tried. There’s no other group of people that I’d rather be exterminated with!”
Suddenly, an announcement boomed from over the room’s loudspeakers.
“ATTENTION. POPULATION CONTROL HAS STABILIZED. I REPEAT, POPULATION CONTROL HAS STABILIZED. EXTERMINATION IS NO LONGER NECESSARY.”
We were saved! Cheers rang out, and the performers hugged each other on stage. Miss Liberty Rose and Hayley Jane embraced in a kiss that had us cheering some more.
The no-longer-ominous timer kept on counting down, now just four minutes shy of the New Year.
“Did – did you hear that folks?” Liberty Rose yelled, “We’re saved! The extermination has been canceled! I guess – I guess there’s nothing left to do but set up the band!”
As the band set up, we counted down the remaining seconds of 2013 and rang in the year 2057 with champagne and kisses. We boogied furiously to the dance-move-inducing tunes of Mercury Radio Theater like the extermination had not been canceled. If you’d looked at us as we bopped and hugged each other, you would have sworn it was our last night on earth.
The Bottom Line
Nothing could have prepared us for our evening with the Resistance members and their oppressive rulers. Miss Liberty Rose and Hayley Jane put together a tightly knit, well written piece of erotic-comedy-sideshow. Every performer and participant in the event stayed in character all night, giving the show an entertaining touch of realism and professionalism. If you want to enjoy a high caliber display of well written performance art, the brains and beauty behind I HEART BURLESQUE have just what you’re looking for.