Saturday, January 19, 2008

Broad Tosser, et al - Abbey Pub

It was a dark and stormy night as I drove the concrete byways to the lonesome pub on the city’s north side last Thursday. Honestly, it wasn’t stormy. But it was dark and pretty fucking cold. Like single digit cold. That means it’s so fucking cold all your fingers shatter and fall off except one. But you don’t even care if it’s only the middle finger that remains because there isn’t anybody else on the road to flip off because it’s so cold. I’m sure you didn’t come here for a weather report, so allow me to start over.

Dominique Trixx. Fanny Tastic. Vivian Velvet. Mistress Topaz. Those were the women that opened the evening at the Abbey Pub last Thursday night as part of the Star and Garter Burlesque show. Perhaps you didn’t even come here for a burlesque review, either. In fact, why the hell are you here? It’s the free donuts, isn’t it? Speaking of donuts, it was evident that some of the burlesque performers weren’t averse to having one once in a while. Now before you start lecturing me about the media and Hollywood and the fashion industry and all that other body image crap and force me to make a tearful apology and donate 10% of the profits from this post to the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, let me add that every time I see Keira Knightley I want to feed her a cheeseburger. Well, not exactly feed her, but maybe give her a few bucks and a ride to the nearest In-N-Out Burger. The performers were by no means unattractive or fat, but they weren’t going to get a gig opening cases on Deal or No Deal. I know they’re probably heartbroken over that. And until I personally look like a Calvin Klein underwear model, I really don’t expect women to look like Jessica Simpson. However, I do expect them to be at least slightly more intelligent. Really freakin’ smart isn’t bad, either, so I don’t have to think as much. I’m all about outsourcing. But I digress. Did you know Swing Out Sister is still together? Who’d have thought? Back to my review of the Broad Tosser show.

I believe we left off with the vixens of burlesque who opened that night. The show consisted of an entirely annoying emcee introducing each girl, who would come out in an enticing outfit and perform a well-choreographed striptease routine eventually ending in a g-string and pasties. I haven’t seen pasties since that strip club in Memphis. How do pasties stay on? I’m guessing from their name, it’s some sort of paste. If it were me, I’d use toothpaste. For minty fresh nipples. Just don’t use the whitening formula or they might disappear right off your chest. Most girls probably use the good old fashioned grade school Elmer’s paste with the brush built right into the cap. Seems practical. Although I’m sure more than one relationship has ended when a stripper or performer had to miss a night of work after she had found that her boyfriend ate all her paste. I’d imagine whatever it is they use, it must hurt taking them off. Probably just need to hold your breath and rip them off on the count of three just like a band aid. Pasties is an odd word – don’t think about it too much or you’ll go crazy and start ironing your socks. But to save you the research, please note the that singular form is “pastie”. I know you were wondering. Can you believe Wikipedia has an entry devoted to pasties, including a reference to case law? People have too much time on their hands. (Guilty as charged.) But I digress.

Okay. So you’ve got the nearly naked girl on stage and you’re probably wondering, “Hey, Sid, so was it like totally hot and you started humping Moist Rub’s leg while doing a poor impression of Robert DeNiro?” Not exactly.

First of all, it isn’t totally titillating since I can see the same level of undress on an airbrushed model in the Victoria’s Secret catalog under my mattress. Or I can find a totally nude teenage girl from a broken home with a few clicks of my mouse.

Second, I spent many years in Dallas, which is home to a large number of strip clubs. [Ed. Note: I was doing some research on strip clubs in Dallas just now, and an earlier Leper Pop post came up as the 16th result on Google. I’m so proud.] [Ed. Note: I don’t really have an editor, I just use these little bracketed diversions for asides – I’d probably have too many asides to the audience if I were a playwright but I think a youthful audience might appreciate them.] I was never a regular, but I did make a handful of visits to several clubs over my term. In those clubs, the format is the same – an annoying emcee introduces a girl, usually named after a birthstone, who comes out and does a striptease to a song. Now the differences. This might come to a shock to the uninitiated, but the strip club “entertainer”, 99 times out of 100, is there for the cash. The other girl is there because she loves ZZ Top and Joe Cocker songs, but doesn’t own an iPod. To earn cash, you don’t need elaborate costumes or a choreographer. A killer body or a giant rack doesn’t hurt. Well, it might give you back pain, but it won’t hurt your earnings potential. You need to get your clothes off as soon as possible and convince the losers sitting in the crowd that you are going to be worth the $25 lap dance you’re going to try and sell them as soon as you get off the stage. Get a dozen customers to spring for a couple dances in a night and you’ve paid for that boob job in no time and are well on your way to a lucrative escort career. Or that college degree you said you’re working on. Here’s an extra $20 – I hear law school is expensive. I’d recommend a good 529 plan to start saving. I’d also recommend one to any readers that have kids that they’re going to force to go to college. But I digress.

The burlesque show was kind of cool in contrast to all that. It wasn’t about just getting naked and trying to sell something or make money. First, it was an art form to these performers. Each move was clearly well-thought out, well-rehearsed and executed in a manner that would put Britney Spears to shame. Well, more shame, if that’s even possible at this juncture. The costumes were also hand-picked, some self-designed, and probably under appreciated by much of the pub crowd that night. I can’t believe I just wrote that, and now I’m wondering if I might be gay. They weren’t doing it for money, but because they seemed to enjoy it. It wasn’t about starving themselves or how many crunches they could do, but by being honest and confident in who they are and challenging the often overwhelming blitz of mainstream sexuality that bitch-slaps us every day. I have no idea what the hell that last sentence means, but I hope it sounds important enough to make whatever point I’m trying to make.

It’s like Olive Garden. You get bombarded with their ad campaigns. A teen aged server brings you an all-you-can-eat salad. Shiny menus display a plethora of entrees that were perfected in the corporate test kitchens, using ingredients delivered under heavily negotiated contracts from suppliers. And honestly, you probably won’t have a bad meal.

But there’s still something way more special when you find that hole-in-the-wall Italian joint run by a woman with her great-grandmother’s recipes and some friends and family to help keep the dream alive, even if the menu doesn't have fancy pictures and the table might be a little rickety.

If that doesn’t explain it, then sorry for wasting your time. Oh, by the way, this isn’t a review of a Lovehammers show, either.

So, Star and Garter Burlesque – bottom line is that I probably wouldn’t plan a night out around one of their shows, but I thought it was probably more entertaining than whatever other crappy opening band that might have played in their place. However, I might have enjoyed it a bit more had the atmosphere been more "right". Not sure the Abbey Pub was the best locale - maybe something more consistent with a burlesque room (whatever that might be), and a live band instead of recorded music might add a nice dimension to it.

Which brings us to Broad Tosser. I thought Broad Tosser was going to be another crappy opening band when I saw them last month with the Von Ehrics, but now I’m probably like their 16th biggest fan. At least while they were around. This was their farewell show, for reasons of which we can only surmise. I like to think that their small, yet deceptively unassuming drummer liz ele assaulted some cops after a beer brawl at a gig and was going to serve out her term since she had already been on probation after the bowling alley incident. Or maybe the bass player viv e was a grade school science teacher and lost her job after making up naughty mnemonic devices to help the kids remember the planets of the solar system and now she’s hard up for cash and had to sell her bass to pay rent. Or maybe guitarist/vocalist sara jean was just getting creeped out when old guys like me started showing up at their gigs. Whatever the reason, it sucks. It was only my second time to see them and they just plain rock. To see a girl in high heels and dress set down three bottles of PBR, plug a vintage Ibanez into her amp and crank up the distortion is a thing of beauty. Add some catchy tunes delivered with sweet but powerful vocals. A rhythm section that lays down an insidious groove and can keep things together through all the tempo and volume changes that make the songs even more interesting. I’m going to miss them. At least they brought some CD’s to remember them by. I only hope they keep us all updated on any future projects.

The feature band was B1gt1me. Think 80’s covers delivered in the style of Tom Waits. I was kind of looking forward to seeing them, but remember the annoying burlesque emcee? Yep, the singer for B1gt1me. The whole skid row chic costume and gravelly Tom Waits voice and hep cat banter was just too contrived and I couldn’t get past that. Sorry, man. The music didn’t suck and was actually pretty interesting.

P.S. Hey, Broad Tosser, we're digging the CD's but we miss you already. We can change, baby, really, take us back. Just one more gig.

4 comments:

TL said...

My Vagina Engulfs Many Jar Shaped Underwear Noodles, and not Pluto any more.


Note to the world: Leprosy has broken up and re-formed as The Minty Fresh Nipples.

Sid said...

Can The Minty Fresh Nipples be our Broad Tosser Tribute Band side project?

keysunset said...

TL - your first sentence: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! esp. the "and not Pluto any more."

OH, yes, can we have Leprosy AND Minty Fresh Nipples?! Please, we waaaaaaants it!

Ahem, and thank you for your insightful review of the Abbey Pub show, Sid.

del said...

thank you for your insightful review of the Abbey Pub show
There was a review? I never got past the Minty Fresh Nipples!