Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Badass Burlesque Revue Review, Part 2

Here's a picture of Insectivora, from her Coney Island Circus website. More on that later.

Where were we? I believe I had just said that what I love about burlesque is that it isn't porn, but it looks like it, and makes fun of its own hypocrisy. So it pretends to be naughty when it's actually 90% innocent. Or something like that.

Anyway, the next performer was a tiny little brunette named Deity---and I hope I don't offend anybody by saying this, but she reminded me in certain ways (short hair, youth, engergy bundled tight) of Mary Lou Retton back when she was hot. Deity's approach was actually pretty simple: she came out in a string of pearls (I'm gonna guess fake ones), and a black leatherette-looking corsety thing that zipped all the way up the front ... and proceeded to unzip it. While wriggling, of course, and she was really full of personality: cute smile, excellent wriggler. As she unzipped, I noticed two things. First, that she wasn't wearing pasties. I'd thought that was required but I guess not. Duly noted. Second ... how shall I put this ... the strand of pearls continued all the way down to between her legs and--ahem--disappeared. So the second half of the set was Deity making a great show of pulling out the pearl necklace, slowly licking them with a big smile, etc. As I said before---and will no doubt say again---this was a bit more like out-and-out porn for my tastes. But only a teensy bit, and she had such a sweet way about her I barely even noticed until I looked at my notes just now.

Next up was Bambi the Mermaid, who has the distinction of having won the first ever Miss Coney Island. (A contest which can't have started long ago, since there's not a wrinkle on her.) Now this was the kind of boundary-pushing thing I tend to enjoy! She was entirely covered in body glitter so that if she stood still she might have looked like a golden statue. And she had a ridiculously fake B-52 wig on that I swear added a foot to her height and at least that much to each side of her head. I don't, alas, remember much about her act (I think she maybe tossed glitter into the crowd) because I was so dazzled by the costume. I do remember, however, that she was naked, and that she rolled around on the bare stage, and I remember thinking, "Gosh; I hope they used Febreeze to keep everyone safe."

The last act before the break---and I wish I had pictures!---was Insectivora, who you pretty much have to see to believe. It wasn't a strip show, really. She's a full-on Coney Island freak, with a fully tattooed face and body and pierced lip, cheek, and other body parts. And she came out in a fairly standard leather bikini ... and next to her were a bunch of alcohol-soaked wands that she proceeded to use in her very reptilian fire-breathing act.

Now, I performed in a burlesque show (in the sense of cleaning up) with (in the sense of alongside) Tyler Fyre, who's another regular Coney Island fire eater and sword swallower. And Tyler is absolutely terrific as a crowd-hyper, turning his act into a series of jokes. But Insectivora did more with fire than I'd ever seen, including---Damn! I wish I'd gotten pictures!---some thing where she would tilt her head back and exhale hydrogen peroxide while it burned in a flame bouncing just above her lips. And although I've described her as a pure head-on freak, this description (and any picture I may find to append to this later) cannot convey the stunning warmth of her smile, which turned this entire weird display into something you kind of wanted to rush up and hug and/or buy drinks for later.

"But Dave!" you may ask, "Did she get naked?" And the answer is yes, in that she got topless---although the stage was lit only by her flames, so photography was doubly difficult. What I remember, however, is that at one point she took out two matches, bent them, and stuck one in each of her nipple rings, and lit them. Flaming nipples! That's a visual you don't soon forget. Gee, this city is swell.


Anonymous grins said...

Dave I don't which is scarier...Insectivora or the pearls.

8/24/2006 5:06 PM  

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