The international adventures of a singing, dancing zombie queen.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Vegas: Bipolar Republican Wonderland Part III

Well, for those of you who weren't exploring hard enough, here is a better link to Zumanity.

Be sure to check out the little videos; they're short, so they download quickly. Be sure to check out on M1 the clip of the "surprise performance" before they had moved into New York New York. It's the two topless contortionists, both women, in the fishbowl. It's amazing, though of course a film clip won't do it justice.

Ariane and I had seats right up next to the side of the stage, which spooned out into the middle of the audience. The show opens with a cabaret atmosphere; some of the performers come out into the audience to taunt them and pass out strawberries or hump their chests, and others just parade around smoking while they sing at you that you may not smoke inside the theatre. One of these was AlmuKataB, the flamenco dancing, corseted queen with a goatee... He came by us, slinky and arrogant, blowing smoke into our laps as if to challenge us to complain. I motioned for him to hand me his cigarette, and he cocked an eyebrow at me. Now, if any of you know me well, you'll probably remember my uncanny habit of getting myself invited up onstage. Well, here's the secret. Performers are up there to interact with you. They want to see your eyes piercing into them with awe, challenge, emotion. Having been on stage performing many times myself, I can tell you that there is nothing an audience can do to improve a show more than looking the performers dead in the eyes and interacting with them. Enough of you golf clappers out there; if a show is good, your hands should be swollen and red for slamming them together. Your voice should be hoarse with screaming their names. A professional performer has sold their soul to be up onstage in front of you; hours and hours of sweat and frustration and agony. A performer will blossom and give you more if only you clap your hardest. Or in this case, give them the "come and get me" eyes.

And he gave them right back to me... by the third time he passed us, stopping and posing on the stage above us, he mimicked my hand motion from earlier, 'snip snip'... he was playing with us... he kept passing by and looking down Ariane's back, where her hips curved gently out of the bottom of her shirt... and then he whisked himself away again...

The show itself is beyond explanation... amazing aerial stunts, beginning with a schoolgirl and fifty or so hula hoops writhing around her as she is lifted up into the air and swung out over the audience, dozens of feet above us. She hung upside-down from one wrist in 180 degree splits with one hula hoop swinging around her wrist below her. There was also a she-male who, bound at the wrists and ankles, twisted himself into submission and bondage by which he was then raised from the floor to come flipping and untangling down again in an exhilarating orgasmic dance.... There was an incredibly intense pas de deux between a black man and a white man, in which they used one another's weight to lean onto one another and then flip each other around, swinging back together with fierce slaps and violent eroticism, and ending it all with a glorious wet kiss and a nonchalant parting of ways.... The piece starring the entire company had numerous claw-footed tubs, whose edges curved downwards in the middle, so that the dancers, sitting spread-eagled over the tubs, could slide on their greased thighs towards, above and beneath one another and into entangled lifts....

Towards the end of the show, the cast was arrayed on the rotating end of the stage, caressing and sliding across one another as the MC stood, embarrassing some man, drug up from the audience, demanding his name and whether or not he was horny. Another dancer had ventured out into the audience, searching for another victim, when AlmuKataB came for me. He gazed down at me like a drag-queen panther and invited me to join him with two fingers. Once onstage, we were directed by another of the near-naked cast to stand by the piano just behind them, as another dancer had chosen a young woman from Texas who looked much more likely to blush when they asked her name. AlmuKataB leaned me against the piano and wrapped his long, steely thigh around my waist, running his fingers over my shoulders and back, whispering to me about how he loved my back piece and encouraging me to take off my shirt, which he pulled teasingly at. He asked if Ariane was my girlfriend, and if he could come home with us that night, gyrating his chrome, hooked, erect strap on behind me until another gorgeous drag queen came out to retrieve me after the climax of the scene...

The moral of the story is, of course, to always give the eyes to hot performers....

Out in the thick heat and crowds of the Strip again, Ariane and I headed towards the Bellagio to meet up with her friends. A water show was just ending as we arrived, and while we were waiting for her friends, the hotel announced that the next show would be cancelled, due to the same strong winds which had forced my plane into a CSI-style extra turn around the strip before we could land. Not having found our companions, we headed over to the Mirage for drinks drowned in the major-key din of the slot machines before catching a cab back to the Luxor.

Beneath the left paw of the Sphinx, we drank beers under the stars, watching the late-night families surging in and out of the monorail and prayed to the gods that let us drink outside for the flimsy fiberglass-plaster of the Sphinx to not break underneath our asses. Despite all of her grandeur, you could bend the fiberglass with just one hand, and feel the hollowness beneath you. We returned to our room shortly afterwards to munch on the potato chips and dip that we had ordered from room service that evening for a measly $12.50.

The next morning we went for another overprice breakfast, in the hotel. According to my beliefs, I ordered the cinnamon roll french toast. Tuesday is the holy cinnamon roll day, after all, and since there were no Specialty's Bakeries in Vegas, a girl has to get her crack however she can. It was crack-tastic. Once in our bikinis, we headed out to the gigantic pool area. The thermometer in the cabana registered the weather at a chilly 103 degrees, and the air was filled with the mist from the sprayers wrapped around the immaculate palm trees. It reminded me of when I heard on TV that the geriatric crowd had ruined the dry heat in Phoenix that they had all moved there to enjoy by building too many pools in their retirement homes. After laying in the sun, I went swimming to practice my leaps in 2nd position, and also my handstands. I was inspired by the show the previous evening and had decided that I should at least be able to do one. Apparently it paid off, because when I got back to dance class that Sunday, I had one of my best days ever and even pulled off a triple pirouette without stumbling out of it. Yey! And to think that a year ago I could barely do a single pirouette. Who would've guessed that running off to Vegas should be such a worthy excuse to miss dance class?

The Manhattan Express called to us, so we ventured back to New York New York to conquer the roller coaster. It was a good thing that the line was only about fifteen minutes long, or I probably would be writing this from an insane asylum. There were four women in front of us, mother-daughter pairs, with the most horribly cliche Southern accents. They all had acrylic nails and highlighted hair, and they were loud and obnoxious. One of the daughters had a frosted New York - Dallas puff, complete with hair claw. They also all had shirts from the Coyote Ugly bar downstairs, which said things like, "I danced on the bar at Coyote Ugly!" They squealed like piglet bridesmaids who had just been told that they had one week to plan a wedding and a baby shower. What was it that they were so excited about? Nothing. They shared deep, riveting comments like, "We should get something to eat," and "I saw her last week, she's doing okay." Apparently the cover charge at Coyote Ugly is your cranial matter. This worries me, actually, because the doorman said the night before that Ariane and I could get in for free...

The roller coaster was awesome. We sat in the middle of the train, so we couldn't see the tracks in front of us, but that first incline just goes on forever and ever, twisting your mind into a frenzied, anticipatory shock. Yey! The picture of the two of us showed me with an insane clown grin and Ariane glaring down the tracks before us like a warrior facing the Grim Reaper.

Well, since the computer just forced me to rewrite an hour's worth of this post that it rudely annihilated, I am going to leave the story of my ridiculous adventure home until next time....

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Dance & Fitness Faculty member at San Francisco Peninsula Community Colleges, Director, Choreographer & Featured Dancer, Founder of the Living Dead Girlz, and Owner of the Steele Dance Company, which provides entertainment for festivals, corporate events, conventions and private events. Teaching private dance lessons and creating choreography since 1997, Steele graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Double Major in Dance and Comparative Literature and completed her Master of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography at Mills College. She has toured all the major cities in Germany and performed at the Cannes Film Festival as the featured dancer in TRIP -- Remix Your Experience, a multimedia exhibition of film, live music and art. Steele has also performed as a featured dancer for RJ Reynolds (CAMEL) promotional events. Steele currently manages the go-go dancers of "Poor Impulse Control," who perform frequently in San Francisco's industrial, alternative, and rock venues.