SICKO IN THE DISKO
Take a fetishistic fascination with all things medical, saucy satire of public-safety mascots, and a Fangoria-esque splattering of gruesome props, and what do you have? The Art of Bleeding, the throbbing brainchild of the Rev. Al Ridenour, the Grand Poo-Bah of the L.A. chapter of infamous subversive rascals The Cacophony Society, and hubby of one Miz Margaret Cho. You may have seen Bleeding’s “Gory Details” ambulance confessional (in which patrons tell their most trauma-filled accident stories inside the emergency vehicles) at recent Downtown Art Walks, but it’s been a few years since the group put on a large-scale production (a Cronenberg-reminiscent “Car Crash” performance piece two years ago). Last Saturday, AOB joined forces with Bluegirl Productions’ Heidi Calvert for Fever!, a bodacious bludgeoning of disco decadence and E.R. eroticism. They invited guests to “dress for distress” and “dance to your disease” (K-Tel comp disco hits were spun by Howie Pyro). Fake cadavers, naughty nurses and gauze-wrapped gimpers took the stage throughout the event, but the real star of the show, (gloved) hands down, was Abram the Safety Ape, a gorilla character whose response to the Connecticut pet-chimp attack — in song — was simply bananas. Who knew the owner gave that monkey Xanax? Also notable was RT, a Lost in Space–style robot, who danced and pranced and sang — fecal samples in hand — with the show’s white-clad wigglers. Temp-raising temptress Amber Ray closed out the (un)healthy hullabaloo with a burlesque grind to a heart rate–raising remix of “Fever.” It was hot. And by the way: If you’ve never been to Infusion Gallery, where the event was held, check it out. Its June group show is up now.
WANNA GET DIRRTY
Didn’t think the salaciousness and hot-mess action of Bleeding could be topped, but it was, on Sunday at L.A. Gay Pride’s party-in-the-party Erotic City. Pretty boys in Speedos and rainbow body paint bumping each other to techno beats can be entertaining, but the endless hypersexual hedonism gets tired after a while, especially when it’s everywhere you look (we feel the same way at the mostly straight Erotica L.A. convention, which also, uh, went down this past weekend). The E.C. tent had the usual boy-toy action early, but when the boundary-pushing performance-art tarts of Freakshow took over around sunset Sunday, all bets were off. Leopard-haired ringleader Krys Fox opened it up with a wet-and-wild kiddie-pool spectacle (and drenched us later, sitting on our lap and calling us out to the crowd as a media maven!). Wig Out!’s Jean Natalia offered a sexy drag-king take on Freddie Mercury (complete with sailor-clad backup dancers); club queen Barbie-Q smoked on a MaryJane Girls lip-synch; and Ian MacKinnon parodied a motivational speaker “bringing out the gay” in one young chap, with candle wax and loud/proud affirmations that played on every gay cliché in the book. Homo-larious. We’re still kinda dumbfounded by Freakshow’s theatrical climax, an orgy of glitter, sequins, wigs and bizarre Styrofoam body parts from tranny terror Alice Cunt and four masked cohorts. It had to be cut short when the real thing(s) started to pop out everywhere — and it’s all in our (NSFW) online slide show this week.
STOP, HEY, WHAT’S THAT SOUND?
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Pride, of course, isn’t all about partying and debauchery, it’s about education, mobilization and celebrating love within the LGBT community. This was all over the WeHo parade portion (which we passed on this year) and the info booths, and on the main music stage, which saw a predominance of American Idol alums: World of Wonder’s latest reality-TV subject, Fantasia, hair-flipping femme-bot Danny Noriega and (supposedly straight) beatboxer Blake Lewis, who opened up for Sunday headliner Terri Nunn (we got to dance onstage with her!). Perhaps because of the A.I.-heavy lineup, the big rumor Sunday about a scheduled “surprise guest” at the end of the show was that it would be recently-out Rolling Stone cover boy Adam Lambert. We figured that wasn’t gonna happen due to contracts and stuff (he’s still got a tour to do), but we did think the tip we got about Christina Aguilera dropping in for a song might be true, especially when hosts Momma and Billy Masters said the surprise was gonna be “Beautiful.” Seeming to support a famous appearance, security was extratight (press wasn’t allowed in the photo pit or VIP area this year). Alas, the guest wasn’t a star, but it was stellar: a robed choir came out with Nunn to perform Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” in protest against Proposition 8. Though we did notice a lot of disappointed faces in the crowd, who’d obviously heard the same rumors — and many left — those who stayed embraced their lovers and friends around them, swaying and singing along. It was a moving, musically intense moment, and one that hopefully won’t be necessary next year.
Giant street fests and prop-filled performance-art productions are great, but sometimes Nightranger finds equally provocative entertainment when and where we least expect it. Last Thursday, we went for some brewskies at one of our longtime-favorite drinking establishments, the Red Lion Tavern, and thanks to that night’s Lakers game going into overtime, the place was a livelier sausage fest than usual. Things got even more raucous afterward, when the one and only Heino joined the Lion’s beloved organ player for some campy crooning. Okay, the real German crooner is in his 70s, and retired somewhere on a snowy mountaintop, but this blond-wigged impersonator is a hoot, flirting up the ladies, covering tunes like “Super Freak” and the lounge classic (by way of Captain Kirk) “Rocket Man.” We left before the “Sing Mit Heino” karaoke part of the show, but we still can’t recommend this monthly bit (every second Thursday) enough. Straight up, the Heino is fine-o.