(All photos by Shannon Cottrell. Click images for entire Muppet (of Burlesque) slideshow.)
It's official; last night I saw my last burlesque show. Why the last? Well, because after enjoying a front row seat for a Muppets-themed striptease, nothing else compares. I'm talking an hour and a half of feisty, Botticelli-bodied women gussied up in glittered, Gonzo the Great glory. Produced by Lili VonSchtupp and Scarlett Letter, the weekly Monday Night Tease! at 3 of Clubs off Santa Monica and Vine is Los Angeles' longest running burlesque show and last night I saw why. The Muppet (of Burlesque) Show was everything good burlesque should be: an exaggerated and, at times, subtle and flirty seduction paired with a healthy dose of parody, flipping Jim Henson's classic Muppet Show head over heels over sequined, Fozzie Bear pasties.
The program began promptly at 10 p.m., introduced by none other than Kermit the Frog. First up was Kimberlee Rose, the "Muppet of Burlesque" herself (and also the birthday girl), followed by a chorus line introduction to all the dancers in character: Scooter (Lili VonSchtupp), Fozzie Bear (Vixen Violette), Sam the Eagle (Scarlett Letter), Swedish Chef (Anastasia Von Teaserhausen), Miss Piggy (Isabella Star), Rizzo the Rat (Lux La Croix), Gonzo the Great (Dizzy Von Damn!), plus Jewel of Denial, Red Snapper and Vixen Magdalene. Then, under a giant disco ball, the ladies took the stage one by one to perform solo sets as their Muppet alter-ego.
Vixen Violette as Fozzie Bear stepped on stage wearing a brown, terrycloth hoop dress and matching knee-high boots, dancing to Elvis Presley's "Teddy Bear"; Scarlett Letter as Sam the Eagle took to a podium to rant about the topic of nudity ("Outrageous!"); Anastasia Von Teaserhausen as the Swedish Chef hand-crafted a giant hamburger consisting of the various meats and cheeses that made up her skirt (plus the heads of lettuce she wore as a bra); Red Snapper did her best Elton John to "Crocodile Rock" and was attacked by a giant stuffed crocodile; a corseted and velvet gloved Vixen Magdalene gothed things up a bit with her Dr. Steel Show; Isabella Star as Miss Piggy auditioned to be an Opera star; Lux La Croix as Rizzo the Rat kicked off her heels, got gangster and bumped her tail to Dr. Dre's "Rat Tat Tat"; Jewel of Denial rocked out and stripped down to Emmet Otter's Riverbottom Nightmare Band; and Dizzy Von Damn! as Gonzo the Great closed out the night with excellent pasty twirling technique and a Muppet version of Frank Sinatra's "I Did It My Way."
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Other highlights included the night's emcees Mike Schmidt and David H. Lawrence XVII who used the breaks in between sets to make raunchy, knee slapping cracks about the performers like, "Wonder if I could get her to waka waka waka me off" (about Fozzie Bear), "I want to know if that eagle is bald all over" (about Sam the Eagle), and "Normally when I see a dancer pull cheese out of her skirt it's not a good idea" (about Swedish Chef).
The Muppet (of Burlesque) Show was the most fun I've had watching tassel twirling, well, ever. So yeah, it probably won't be my last burlesque show after all; you never know what these ladies are going to come up with next. Stay tuned.
Monday Night Tease!
Every Monday night at 3 of Clubs, 1123 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038.