Burlesque as we know it now has been around since the mid-1800s but in the past several years has been making a roaring comeback across the board. Over time multiple demographics have flocked to try their hand at adding their own style and flare to the art form. Maybe it’s because we live in Seattle, maybe it’s the rising public face of Nerd culture, but regardless the reason, this city has been the home of multiple nerdy burlesque shows.
NERDZ, aptly named and hosted by the lovely Violet Deville (@VioletDeVille ) at the Rendezvous’ Jewel Box Theatre, was one of these selfsame shows.
The Rendezvous is a familiar place, even if you’ve never been there. It has that glorious divey feel without making you worry about needing to sanitize your hands every time you touch anything. While perhaps not a ‘well-lighted place’, it’s clean and friendly and even Hemmingway would easily make himself comfortable.
Just past the bar and to the right you’ll find the entrance to the Jewel Box Theatre. It’s a cozy space with a stage perfect for small cast performances. From the moment I gave my name at will-call, it was clear this was not your average show as I was asked to produce an appendage and ‘roll for stamp damage’ when my wrist was marked.
Violet Wilde (or @lilyorit as I know her), was not only the reason I found myself at that particular location that night, but was also our fantastic Mistress of Ceremonies. With a bubbly and endearing charm, she along with her two stage assistants, D and D, both provided entertaining introductions and ran a raffle to The performances were all tributes to various fandoms celebrated in nerd culture and spanned across multiple ranges of skill level and styles.
The audience fell into laughter at the delightfully campy rendition of Indiana Jones featuring the talented Scandal from Bohemia.
We were awed into silence at Stella Vaughn’s haunting depiction of Leeloo from the cult classic The Fifth Element when she performed an erotic ballet to the opera featured in the film.
We witnessed Morgue Anne’s slow motion take on Super Girl’s quick change inside the phone booth.
We had our childhood memories both resurface and oddly violated with Violet Deville’s performance set to the Muppet Show theme which ended in a quite the grand finale that showcased a replica of Gonzo’s nose right between… well you get the idea.
Some of my favorite moments included two performances by Tempest who showed a wide range of skill in dance, from a completely improvised piece which featured staccato movement and snake-like undulations to an elegant and articulate belly dance set perfectly to music.
Two other highlights for me included a breathtaking Firefly themed feather fan dance from Sailor St. Claire and a hilarious chipt-tunes rap tribute to 8-bit games by Bolt Action where every detail seemed covered in dedication to his theme–right down to the 8-bit “diamond” pasties glued to his nipples. Hands down the only man I’ve ever seen able to walk off the stage with that much dignity in only his converse, sunglasses and underoos.
However my favorite performance of the night was hands down the last. While they were all lovely and fabulous and worthy of an individual review themselves, Scarlet O’Hairdye’s Dr. Who themed performance won me over completely. From the skit that preceded her burlesque performance where she wandered in dressed remarkably like a female Tom Baker to how closely she kept to this theme not just by costume, but song, routine and props. There was never a moment where you could have not understood what she was parodying and I have to admit, using the 4th Doctor’s obscenely long scarf as a regular burlesque show might use a feather boa was charmingly clever.
All in all, while every live show has its technical difficulties, or the performers nerves show through, I would highly recommend a nerdy burlesque show if you have the chance. Support these Confident nerdy women expressing their love for fandoms through the art of comedy, dance and erotica.
In short: I had a frakkin good time and would highly recommend it.
For more information about upcoming shows run by Violet Deville, visit her website http://violetdeville.com.
Nuns and vampires and Mignola, oh my!
I am new to the exploits of Lord Baltimore, but I am liking what I see. This is a horror filled frolic filled with nasty demons, nun vampire-sort-of-zombies, and a Shane like hero, who, Fugitive-like, compels us to follow him as he hunts down the vampire villain that killed his family.
Baltimore is another Mignola written gem, and as much as I like Mignola’s art, I have to say I am enjoying his writing nearly as much as his both, and am glad that he is able to be so prolific (give his readers more and more goodies) with the help of other artistic talent.
I am in the middle of a vampire novel (review coming up) at the moment as well, and this was a delightful addition to the hordes of vampires out there in popular culture today.
If you like romantic, sexy, or sparkly vampires, take heed: this is not the series for you. If you like bloodthirsty bloodsuckers that actually scare you, follow Baltimore post haste.
Like, what the f*** is this, and why haven’t you told me about this before?
I will be honest with you. When I began reading this, I rolled my eyes and thought, oh no what have I gotten myself into? This is how my thoughts went as I reacted to my first reading of Empowered: I mean, this blonde ditz has a costume that shreds off of her in a fight?? Really? Do we need this kind of…misogyny…oh she seems to be having a meta conversation and…Hm, this is actually pretty funny. Oh wow, it’s totally commenting on sexism and female body image and relationships and…okay this is hilarious, they all know they are fictional comic book characters and are worried they’ll be drawn out of the next issue. Gosh, that was actually quite a profound discussion among friends about self esteem. They have an immortal being that lives on the coffee table? Is…is he rapping “I Like Big Butts” in Victorianesque diction?? I am in love.
Oh, and the art? Is all in black and white. I really, really like that.
Drawbacks? It does get a wee bit teeny bopper for my old lady ears. It does make up for it by being extremely witty and meta, but yeah. A bit teeny bopper. And the multiple f-bombs blacked out do get wearing on the inner voice. I say use the invective or don’t but the censored invective just gets annoying. I guess it’s more of the meta, but still.
Also, this comic had something which annoyed me that I forgot to mention in my Abe Sapien review: its fight scenes are so busy on the page, it’s hard to follow what physically is going on. As a stage combat choreographer and instructor, I have to call it sloppy. Just like in a moving visual medium like a movie, we need to be able to follow the action in order to be able to follow the story fully, and certainly in order to appreciate the sweet moves Ninjette no doubt is executing. I do really like the translated kanji as accompaniments, though.
Bottom (double) line: I highly recommend Baltimore. Empowered was fun and cute, and wryly meta enough to enjoy, especially if you like ninjas.
As I sit here waiting for the inevitable power outage thanks to the high winds, (and for another tree to fall like before), I think back to the past year for me. It’s entering November, and I find myself busy, as per usual, and looking for more to do, (I’m a glutton for punishment in the month of November,) so now is the perfect time for reminiscing. I’ve been in and out of the hospital for almost the whole year with my family. My grandpa would go into the hospital, come out, and two days later go back in, and I would be the one that my entire family would turn to for information and a plan of attack. More recently my mother went into the hospital and just got off of a seven week short term disability leave. To give an example of what kind of stress this put me under, I was at my grandparents house more than my house to help them out, then at my house more than the outside world, and then anxiety attacks that drove me to my doctor. Stressful right? How did I cope? The nerdy way. Let me tell you how.
Update: Half way through that paragraph I heard sirens from the police, firefighters, and ambulance going off close to my street. Thank you wind.
In September I went to the wedding of my very first friend, and I took my other friend with me, cause I’m single and I don’t go to weddings alone. During the ceremony they had a planting of the sapling, it was sweet, it really was… to everyone else. All my friend and I heard was sapling, and we both looked at each other and knew we were thinking the same thing. He said it first. “You know if they use a little bonemeal on that, it’ll grow immediately.” Thank you Minecraft. Yes, that’s right, we turned a wedding into Minecraft, started making plans for the server that we play on with our friends. It gets nerdier, all before the reception. My friend, Shua, and I were talking about our own prospective weddings, and his won by far. Scottish wedding, kilts on the men, and at the cutting of the cake have someone run up and cut the cake with a sword whilst yelling; “They can take our wedding, but they’ll never take our cake!” That’s right, he went there.
The reception came, and we wanted our allotted booze. The party favors were adorable, and after 15 seconds of looking at them I took a picture, declaring that some Angry Birds had crashed the party. Another 10 seconds later and I was stealing the party favors from the empty seats next to us to create a Tri-Force. Yes, I went there. We skipped the Chicken Dance, and the Cha Cha Slide, but went up there for the YMCA. And we found out what exactly the Lady In Red is doing. Hint, she’s running away out the bathroom window because no one knows her name. We made a couple more parodies from the songs, one including some nice words for Minecraft, before we left to go watch the new episode of Doctor Who.
That’s just one day, how did I make it day to day otherwise? Well, I’m a creative type, I like making stuff, I like to sell this stuff. November 5th here in the city that I live in, we have an Art market, the Saginaw Art Market to be exact. It’s a free event where only handmade items will be sold, artists working in all different mediums will be there. I like to think that I represent the Fiber arts section, with my knitting and crocheting. I make popular culture themed goods. Like these lovely Sailor Scouts, and Tuxedo Mask. And what’s this? A Mega Man hat that I made? A Hatsune Miku hat? There’s even an Okami Ameterasu hat in the works, and a Jak (& Daxter) hat that I’m making for me. There are plans for some ‘Penny’ wristwarmers, (Dr Horrible anyone?) I’d also like to make some hats out of fleece, you know, anime style hats, cause I’m just that cool. I’m no stranger to making nerdy stuff, but I think that I got nerdier as a coping mechanism to all my stress, allowing me to make more awesome stuff.
My podcast now has a slight buffer of episodes because of my epic new nerdiness. “To Continue Press Start” has been getting a lot of attention, well-deserved attention, and I even participated in a 24 hours gaming event to raise money for the Children’s Miracle network. I made it for 21 hours before I had to crash. I blame my cats who wouldn’t let get me any sleep the night before. Now we just have to get back to playing Sonic the Hedgehog for his 25th birthday.
I had a moment when I walked into one of my favorite gaming stores and found out that I’m a regular to the staff now. I no longer have to show my ID when paying with a credit card, because I am a recognizable face. After pre-ordering my Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, I walked out of the store and proudly stated; “It’s so great being a nerd.” I think that my point is to say that being a nerd gives me unique ways of handling stress, and it’s just recently that I’ve found out how effective that it can actually be, and something that is very well needed. Now if you’ll excuse me I have arms to make for Sailor Scouts, and more Link hats to make.
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with John Chihak about his Kickstarter campaign to fund a reprint of Fuzzyface: The Agnew Chainsaw Massacre 3. I have not yet read Fuzzyface and have contributed to the campaign to make sure that I can! Fuzzyface debuted at the 2010 Phoenix Comic Con and has completely sold out of its initial print. This looks like an amazingly awesome book and I cannot wait to read it! You have until September 18th to contribute!
Do you think that you will be able to reach a new audience with the reprint?
Absolutely. We’re going to have a much larger print run this time around. Plus, with everything I have learned from a few friends about promotion is definitely going to help out. Plus we can also say that we had a successful first run, add quotes and reviews to the table. Knowing that Fuzzyface is not just a comic, but a horror comic gives a whole other outlet of press and promotion. The first three websites that carried the story about us on Kickstarter were horror sites.
Why did you choose kickstarter? With the other options out there what about kickstarter did you like?
Well, in all honesty, last year about this time we attempted to get a Xeric Foundation Grant. Unfortunately we didn’t get it, but the experience has also helped in learning how to promote properly. Kickstarter was a no brainer, cause they are exclusive supporters of art in all its forms. Comics, are a huge part of their funding abilities. Plus there has been a great success rate with them. The guy I learned from had a 3 times over successful funding campaign with Kickstarter. And they promote. In 2010 they had a few panels at San Diego Comic Con on how to promote and fund your comic project. Plus Kickstarter is so easy to use. When I submitted my proposal for the Fuzzyface project they responded within 24 hours. I like that about them. They need projects to promote and I needed to promote a project, and they worked on it super fast.
Is there anything you would have liked to change about the story or do you love it as is?
I love it as is, however, with that being said, we are going to add to it, but not change it. Venus of Necro did such an amazing job with the story that I wouldn’t want to alter it for fear of making it crumble. She put such passion into Fuzzyface that it would be almost immoral if we did anything to alter it. I would like to improve the artwork at places, but I honestly feel it’s the best sequential storytelling I have ever done. And every time Venus saw the artwork as it progressed she just smiled and said for me to keep going in this direction.
We are going to gray scale the pages and reletter them. We’re also going to ad a prologue and epilogue to help the main story flow a little more. And we’ll have some new pinups and two new covers in store. But the main story stays in tact as is.
Do you have any plans for any other books?
Absolutely! There were some people who didn’t get the joke in the title, but it screams for sequels. Venus has been thinking up more Fuzzyface ideas since she finished this story. I can’t reveal too much about that, but I can only say it will be equally hilarious and puppetcidal in nature. Leatherface is my favorite horror icon, but I and so many others grew up with dozens of horror movies and the amazing “heavies” that carried those stories. There are so many possibilities for appeal and story ideas, it’s ridiculous. But that behooves us even more. Plus, I think working with Venus really brings out a lot in me, creatively. She and I know the characters so well, it’s a real symbiotic relationship.
But Anti-Hero Brand Press has been doing comics since 2006. There’s Youth in Asia, where Agnew and the human characters in Fuzzyface come from. The Book of Grrry which is a spin off of YiA, and Got Crayons? Agnew’s colouring book series. In Got Crayons? Agnew dresses up as different pop culture characters from some of our favorite movies, video games, television shows and comics. The series predates Fuzzyface, but was also a catalyst for the graphic novel.
If you were to be a serial killer what would you do with the bodies?
If I told you, I wouldn’t be a very good serial killer would I? I know one thing though, I wouldn’t use a gun. That’s way too easy, and unoriginal.
I absolutely agree with the comparison. Honestly I would kind of be insulted if people didn’t make that comparison. It’s partially how the whole project happened in the first place. I think it was 2005, I was sitting in Safehouse Espresso Bar in my home town of Tucson and I was drawing in my sketchbook. I drew a picture of Grover, with both arms ripped off and his gut slashed open and stuffing pouring out. It was gonna be a t-shirt design. But then I started to think, what if Agnew took on the persona of Leatherface, but went after the Muppets? It just sat in my head until 2008 when I told Venus about the idea. She immediately jumped up and said, “I’m writing that.”
Venus and I both, like many grew up on the Muppets. The movies, the television show, Muppet Babies, Fraggle Rock and so many other things Jim Henson did. The man is a god in my book. And I won’t throw that term around willy nilly. But when I hit my teens, I started watching horror movies. And that became a new love and passion. And after so many years, I decided the two should come together in yet another passion of mine, comic books.
Official Press Release:
Ever wondered what would happen if a diminutive, chainsaw-wielding, puppetcidal maniac were running amok in the Jim Henson universe?
Of course you have! And here’s your chance to see it in all its printed glory.
Fuzzyface: The Agnew Chainsaw Massacre 3 is the graphic novel that’s a must read. And now, it’s being made available in a reprint campaign on kickstarter.com.
Originally published and debuted at Phoenix Comic Con 2010 by the comic book imprint Anti-Hero Brand Press, Fuzzyface was written by the enigmatic Venus of Necro and drawn with the original character created by John Chihak, creator of Youth in Asia.
Simon Bisley, the artist behind DC Comics’ “Lobo’s Back,” and Heavy Metal magazine calls Fuzzyface, “Bloody Frankenbear!” Fuzzyface is also supported by the likes of Jimmie Robinson, creator of Bomb Queen from Image Comics and Mike Debaflo, comic book cover artist at Zenescope, not to mention a horde of rabid fans and creators alike.
This press release is already being carried by HellStreetJournal.blogspot.com, BleedingCool.com (calls the $20 tier, which includes a signed copy of the book, postcard and button, our best reward),
365Horror.co.uk and Horrorbid.com.
Fuzzyface is the tale of professional sidekick Agnew Pennyworth, who has ridden around in John Chihak’s backpack in Tucson, Arizona, for the past decade and a half.
One day, Fuzzyface decides he’s going to don the faces of his often furry and usually inebriated victims.
But don’t get the wrong idea, Fuzzyface: The Agnew Chainsaw Massacre 3 is a love story under all the stuffing that hits the fan.
Fuzzyface will be posted on kickstarter.com as a project Friday August 19, 2011. To help fund the project, pledge to the campaign. Only if we reach our goal will backers’ pledges be collected. Our funding goal is $3,500. This will get a large reprinting of the book, buttons, postcards and other promotional material to spread the gospel that is Fuzzyface. If we ecee
We are offering special incentives to our backers . Included are original art from the book, a chance to have your pinup style picture of Fuzzyface added to the graphic novel and in four very special instances, backers will be added to the mayhem where they will be victims of Fuzzyface. Meaning, your likeness will be comic book, puppetized and put into the book and you’ll be one of Fuzzyface’s many victims. Every backer gets something. From a “What Would Fuzzyface Do?” postcarsd or buttons with new artwork, to signed copies of the book, or one of five original pages being offered. Not to mention the eternal thanks and gratitude of two creators who know that sometimes all it takes is a smidge of furry mayhem to make the world a little bit happier.
Writer Venus of Necro lives somewhere in the Western Hemisphere. Fuzzyface is her second time writing comics. The first was G2: The Book of Grrry, which she also collaborated with Chihak. She sends her love to those who support the book and small press.
Illustrator John Chihak lives in Tucson, Arizona with his three baby dogs, Sabu, Foley and Grrry and his sidekick, Agnew Pennyworth. When he’s not coming up with the “next big thing” in comics, he works overnight shifts at a group home for adults with developmental disabilities and on call shifts at Emerge Centers against domestic abuse. To him, Fuzzyface has been the best experience working in comics to date. Oh and his three dogs appear in Fuzzyface too.
Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of the process of creating a story made by two young up and coming creators in the comic book industry
CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #311 (11/11/2010)
When I’m not working on The Big Bang Theory, I work on other TV shows. One of those shows gets a lot of bad press. Sometimes, when I read the very unkind things written about that show, I’ll remember the words of a sleazy music manager I was briefly associated with back in my rock ‘n’ roll days. The guy was right out of central casting. Bald, middle-aged, pot-bellied and sucking on a cheap cigar, he would sit behind his metal desk in his ratty little office and pontificate to dumbass musicians hungry for career guidance. One of his speeches has remained vivid in my memory for thirty-five years. He said, to a soon-to- be-nonexistent, dumbass power trio I was then a part of, “Boyz, if halfs da peoples loves ya, and halfs da peoples hates ya, you’re a star!” At the time I had no idea what he was talking about. It wasn’t until fifteen years later when I was writing for a TV show called Roseanne that I figured it out. I was once again reminded of all this when the star of the show I was talking about earlier came out for a curtain call in front of a packed studio audience. They went wild with applause. I looked at the man taking the bow and thought, “there is a big star.” Then I looked up at the screaming, cheering audience and thought, ‘there are halfs da peoples.’ ”
CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #314 (11/18/2010)
Mornings are the worst. The mind seems undefended, easy prey for both memories and imagination. What happened. What should’ve happened. What might happen someday. Your fault, my fault, no one’s fault. The only way to relieve the torment is to get up, empty the bladder, drink the coffee, read the paper, run the treadmill, perform the animal sacrifice, paint the chicken blood on the groin and call upon the demonic spirits to bring you back.
Nights are bad too. Once again, exhaustion makes the mind vulnerable to obsessing over woulda, shoulda, coulda. The only thing to do is sit alone and eat the chicken which was senselessly murdered in the morning.
When Halo: Reach came out, I thought that would be enough to keep my better half entertained for a while and that we would be trading in our old XBox towards one of my games(namely Fallout: New Vegas)but alas I was mistaken.
Dead Rising 2 came out this past Tuesday and yours truly got sent to go and pick it up after I was sick for most of the day. This is not a game I would ever enjoy playing I don’t think but I have to say, the weapons you can create…they are EPIC with a side of AWESOME. My new personal favorite is the homemade lightsaber, created using a flashlight and gems…which you bust jewelry store cases to get to. The ridiculous amounts of zombie carnage warm my heart and make me giggle like I used to while mooning over a boy band at age 10. The story leaves something to be desired but the crazy weapon combos(like the IED made out of a propane tank and nails, or the 2x4s attached to a lawnmower which makes a very efficient zombie grinder), and the really sweet costumes were enough to make me actually put my iPhone down and watch the game.
It’s not one I’ll play…but I could watch my husband kill zombies with a smile on my face for hours…:)
In honor of CranialSpasm’s awesome guilty pleasure post, I have decided to admit my own guilty pleasures: Gossip Girl. I know, I know, I should be ashamed to call myself a nerd and yet love this ridiculous teen drama but I can’t help it. As a girl that grew up loving 90210, Gossip Girl is the closest to the over-dramatic teen soap opera. Something about watching a bunch of privileged teens whine and mope about scenarios that are not even remotely believable just sparks the fangirl in me. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I view Blair Waldorf as the modern day equivalent to Scarlett O’Hara and I just love watching a good biotch on TV.
I think another part of my love for this show is that I view the the “un-reality” of Gossip Girl almost on the same level as Scifi or fantasy. I know it’s a stretch but, again, there is practically nothing even remotely believable about the show and it kind of helps me live out different sort of fantasies that I would never actually be able to partake in (or even WANT to partake in). Plus, I mean, Gossip Girl has a blog! That’s nerdy, right?
I also read the books occasionally. I suppose that is my ultimate embarrassing admission here but sometimes you just need a good trash novel. It does kind of depress me that this is what “young adults” read now when I use to read the Babysitter’s Club and X-Men but oh well. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
I should also add that very network TV show impressed me with regards to online fan interaction. The Second Life world of Gossip Girl, the twitter/blogs, etc. They are all pretty cool ways to get people more involved in a show that they love and I consider most things that do this at least partially worthy of attention from the online community. It requires creative, talented artists and engineers to create these worlds, in addition to the studios/writers of the actual program.
It seems now that proclaiming yourself a “nerd” is the cool kid thing to do. I’m with Hardwick. I suffered so little kids can wear SNES faded tees that say “Old School” and a part of me hates myself for it. But I digress.
So in an effort to break from the mainstream, I have decided to return myself to uncomfortable nerddom. I have a secret shame. Well, in thirty two characters, it will no longer be a secret.
I AM A ROMANCE NOVEL JUNKIE!!!!!
Yes, that’s right. I am absolutely enamored with those books. A story with a disfigured man and a countess hiding from the law? YES! A vampire that doesn’t sparkle who is completely obsessed with a nobody paralegal? I just snagged it for my nook. I swear that my life would be complete if someone gave me the Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day romance cover ripoff that Zaboo gave Codex in Season 4 of the Guild (RUNON’d!). I would probably record myself squeeing for about a minute and post it up on youtube for Daniel Tosh to make fun of.
I could keep spouting out the various storylines that seems to always be recycled in the romance genre, but as this is Nerds in Babeland I figured I would toss in some romance novels geared mainly to the Velma in all of us.
The Nerd Series by Vicki Lewis Thompson ranges all over the nerdometer. Granted, you know how they’re all going to end, but they are hysterical reads nonetheless. I found myself at points shouting “a f***ing model would not be trying to engineer a hovercraft”. Oh yes, those words were uttered from my mouth. I would suggest that if you do invest in the books, you do so on a nook and make use of the LEND ME feature. Make six friends and each buy one! Save money and read about nerdy sex!
For the comic book nerds who adore the idea of superheroes, there are a series of books set in the fictional town of BIGTIME, New York. This series by Jennifer Estep, make for a fantastic read.
Bigtime is chock full of superheroes and supervillains. The entire series starts with a perfectly average girl on her wedding day. Something inside her pulls her to find her soon to be husband and she walks in on him doinking her maid of honor. But that isn’t the part that shocks her the most. She realizes that the man she thought she knew was a superhero and the best friend who she shared her deepest darkest secrets with was an ubervillain. She vows to unmask the superheroes of the world for the good of the people around them.