The Austin Chronicle

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The Merry Widows

By Richard Whittaker, April 8, 2011, 5:07pm, All Over Creation

There comes a time when every widow must cast off the black weeds of mourning: Tonight the ladies of Black Widow Burlesque will be throwing off a whole lot more as they celebrate their second anniversary in the realm of tease-o-rama.

Not only does it give all the members of one of Austin' s newest troupes an opportunity to celebrate with some of their most hoopin' and hollerin' friends, but it will also be a chance to catch the vivacious Ginger Snaps before her turn at next weekend's Texas Burlesque Festival (more about that in next week's issue.)

One performer keeping everything on will be the Marquis De Suede, better known as Patrick Daniel of Mortified and Maestro improv fame. He makes the shimmying shuffle from burlesque fan to master of ceremonies tonight. To help with the celebrations, gravity will be defied by the aerialists of Sky Candy, while live music comes courtesy of the Hotrod Hillbillies and Afternoon Delight. "There'll be couple of comedy things thrown in, some group games with the audience, and some psychobilly," Daniel said. "We definitely try to focus on the interactive and comedy."

Even as an improv comedy veteran, and so used to being exposed on stage, he had one word for the performers in burlesque: "Bold. Every single person who got up there, I just couldn't believe the boldness." He caught his first show by accident, thinking it was a steampunk party: When he saw the performances, he said, "I was transfixed. My girlfriend and I, really transfixed. It just wasn't what I expected. It was exciting, but it wasn't sexual for me at all."

Now he's dipping his performance toe in the world of burlesque courtesy of the varied skills and styles of Black Widow's seven members. "Some of them have been yoga instructors, some have been doing ballet all their life, and some have never danced," he said. "Each one of their dances comes from a very different place. Like Sailor Cherry, she does the sort of 40s and 50s, very cutesy sort of thing, but Lily LaFleur does these sort of exotic French dances, and then we have characters who are really much more for comedy, and about juxtaposing what they do to the funniest music. … It's a co-op in the way they do everything, and they all have equal say artistically."

Black Widow Burlesque second anniversary show. 9pm, Friday April 8. Spiderhouse Ballroom, 2906 Fruth Street. $10-$15. blackwidowburlesque.com.

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