A club packed with both video game nerds and buxom burlesque beauties may seem like wishful thinking, but downtown it's just another sold-out, Saturday night installment of the monthly residence of Courtney Cruz's Devil's Playground at Bordello Bar. Lights dim and the curtains open as the Legend of Zelda's Link heroically takes the stage scantily clad in a green tunic, armed with a slingshot, sword and shield, ready to defeat evil forces. But before he can embark on his quest, Link gender-morphs into Princess Zelda and begins a striptease that could make any G4 executive blush. Your favorite, old-school Nintendo game just became R-rated. If the city is in the midst of a burlesque revival, then Devil's Playground is at the forefront, giving it mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Beyond traditional fan dancing and martini bathing, Devil's Playground integrates pop culture and niche fan favorites with the classic art of the striptease, modernizing burlesque with cleverly themed, character-driven performances like Video Game Girls, Comic Book Vixens and the upcoming Tails From the Crypt on October 10. As a producer and performer, Cruz insists that nothing is off-limits and her inspiration for themes comes from pop culture news (the Burlesque Barbie installment was a response to the public outrage over Mattel's Tattoo Barbie) or from films, video games and comics that influenced her while growing up. For those who enjoy tassel twirling with a unique spin, cozy up with the ladies of Devil's Playground every second Saturday of the month. 901 E. 1st St., L.A. (213) 687-3766, courtneycruz.com.
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