Thanks so much to Pegasus news for this incredible review of our November Fetish show! Being compared to Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Whitney Cummings? Best compliment ever!
Pegasus News Here is a reprint of the article by Brentney Hamilton
It’s bawdy, brash, nerdy, and funny, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: Naked Girls Reading, a sporadically reoccurring event at theQuixotic World in Deep Ellum, features five ladies from the thriving local burlesque community reading humorous selections from pieces as diverse as high-brow literature, scholarship, and poetry to hilarious Internet memes and wacky (but very real) state laws.
Each installment boasts a particular theme, and Thursday night’s Naked Girls Reading featured Black Mariah, Bonnie Lou, Courtney Crave, Angi B. Lovely, and The Dirty Blonde, talking, laughing, and, of course, reading about sexual fetishism in advance of this weekend’s 2012 Dallas Fetish Ball.
On its face, the event might sound a bit stale: five women, albeit beautiful ones, lounge topless on plush sofas on a stage reading stuffy selections from Psychology Today? However, the Naked Girls Reading troupe is anything but boring. Each event places audience members in an intimate – intellectually intimate – setting where everyone can, for lack of a better phrase, let it all hang out. Each reading is accompanied by wry ad-libbing from both the performers and the audience alike, as if Rocky Horror were to meet Pushcart.
Thursday's selections included pieces by Mary Gaitskill; a hilariously scathing response to Fifty Shades of Grey, replete with gut-wrenchingly bad quotes from the novel; a recitation and wry “translation” of “Baby Got Back” – which audience members gleefully supplemented with shouts at the appropriate moments; and an excerpt from a published short story by the group’s own The Dirty Blonde.
Naked Girls Reading is, obviously, not suitable for all audiences. While the actual “nakedness” is more about glamour and intimacy – burlesque is, after all, less about meaningless sexual exhibitionism than it is about liberation through physical agency – the language and content is not for the easily offended.
In fact, an evening with Naked Girls Reading is so liberated, so completely divorced from the demands of “polite” society, that it might best be described as a “bachelorette” version of The View starring Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Whitney Cummings, the last of whom wouldn’t even need to adopt a burlesque stage name.
Think of it as the best slumber party you’ve ever attended. Don’t forget the fishnets and champagne.
Naked Girls Reading presents Fairy Tails
Review from the Dallas Observer of Naked Girls Reading Dallas's return to the stage. Written by Brentney Hamilton
August 20, 2012
You'd the think title says it all. In fact, its straightforward logic is what got me through the door: "I like this and I like that." But admittedly, I expected something more reserved and perhaps even boring from Friday night's Naked Girls Reading. While the premise might sound like a perfect night in, I was less convinced that two hours of it at Quixotic Worldwould be an altogether entertaining Friday evening. I should have given those gals more credit.
Anyone who has been to even the most rudimentary burlesque show knows that the art is not about "nudity" so much as "getting there" in a lighthearted and mutually pleasurable manner. Caitlin Moran distinguishes between capitalistic, dead-behind-the-eyes stripping and the effervescent transcendence of burlesque by writing that "burlesque clubs feel like a place for girls ... watching good burlesque in action, you can see female sexuality; a performance constructed with the values system of a woman: beautiful lighting, glossy hair, absurd accessories (giant cocktail glasses; huge feather fans), velvet corsets, fashionable shoes, Ava Gardner eyeliner, pale skin, classy manicures, humor, and a huge round of applause at the end -- instead of an uncomfortable, half-hidden erection and silence."
I was no burlesque virgin, so why did I expect Naked Girls Reading to consist of a dour set, involving no humor, creativity or interaction with the crowd? Well, probably because the Dallas set was wildly different than what I'd read about other cities' incarnations.
|Mark Kaplan, NakedLens.org|
|Courtney Crave's rendition of Snow White -- in the original German -- had the most unusual effect on certain members of the packed audience...|
In reality, Friday's show was innovative, hilarious and intellectual -- things not typically associated with "nakedness" or "girls." And those qualities are what made it not just an evening of Betty Boop caricaturing, but instead -- if I may be so dramatic -- revolutionary. Any woman who has been so fortunate as to have a man ask her thoughts on Platonic Dualism mid-coitus will appreciate the crash-of-lightning premise upon which Naked Girls Reading is built. Any man who notices the blood rushing from his head at the wistful thought of his high school English teacher will understand as well.
Among the talent onstage Friday evening -- and by talent, I truly mean it -- there was a published author who regaled the crowd with a just-penned, original short story, The Dirty Blonde; a Neil Gaiman loving redhead with the articulation of a college professor and the reading voice of an angel, Angi B. Lovely; a bilingual German fetishist with the dry impromptu wit reminiscent of a buxom Mark Twain, Courtney Crave; a thickly-brogued sexpot with a wicked sense of bawdy Scottish humor, Bonnie Lou; and the show's producer, a Dallas burlesque institution, with a larger than life personality who -- despite its grating popular use -- understands the actual definition of "pun," The Black Mariah.
With a fairy tales theme, the reading list consisted of poetry by Lewis Carroll and the aforementioned Neil Gaiman; selections from Gregory Maguire; twisted tales of vampirism, cannibalism and tentacle sex (read in funny voices with homemade mustaches) from the original German, Scottish and Japanese texts; feminist psychoanalysis of Disney's white-washed princesses, with specific attention to double entendre; and a raunchy retelling of Goldilocks penned by the Dirty Blonde and set in Dallas, replete with Uptown bitchiness and Gayborhood glitz.
So why naked? And doesn't that detract from the women's intellect?
|Mark Kaplan, NakedLens.org|
You don't go see Eddie Izzard because of the way he's dressed; you see him because he's hysterical. The leather pants and stilettos are just part of his "drag" -- literally, in Izzard's case, if more figuratively in the realm of burlesque. Drag, as an outward manifestation of something beautiful, absurd, funny, or broken on the inside; something human rather than object. My own thick black eyeliner, short dress shorts and bright emerald wedges were perhaps more subtle than the Dirty Blonde's pitch-perfect Marilyn coif and shimmering rhinestone chandelier necklace, but they were a performative costume no less.
Burlesque is the embodiment of daring femininity. It subverts restrictive traditionalism on one's own terms and for one's own gratification. These ladies are not naked purely for the approval of a male audience; though that might be a welcome side-effect. They are naked because they have the right to be. And because it's fun.
Admit it -- you're naked right now. I know I am.