Friday, February 24, 2012

A night at the Peep Show

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 9:41 AM

Heather Holliday with the Pretty Things Peep Show

Hooray for all things fantastic, glittering, sexy and demented. Wednesday night the Rev Room hosted Pretty Things Peep Show, a decadent display of seedy Americana, spiked with the spirits of circus trains and sideshow tricks, saloon girls, pin-up bombshells, B-films, whisky nights and rock 'n' roll.

Pretty Things has been around since 2009, when Go Go Amy, a veteran of theater and burlesque dreamt it into existence after a summer of dancing with Warped Tour and Ozzfest. But it’s more a freakish variety show than a burlesque cabaret. Heather Holliday and Donny Vomit — both hailing from Coney Island’s Circus Sideshow — swallow swords, juggle sharp objects, breath fire and shove nails up their noses. Well, in this show Ms. Holiday swallows swords and breathes fire, and Mr. Vomit juggles daggers and flosses his nasal cavity with various objects, including a (clean) condom. "We can both do all of those things, but in shows Donny gets to do the gross 'boy' stuff," Heather Holliday explained. "They gave me sword swallowing because you know, I'm a cute little girl. People want to see the girl swallow the sword."

Do they ever. The men in the audience were vocally appreciative of Ms. Holliday’s talents. The fact that she performs in sparkly bustiers, cat-eyed glasses and mini nurse uniforms probably didn’t hurt.

Holliday, 26, has an aura of retro rockabilly, complete with multiple tattoos and a bouncy fringe. She hails from New York, where she got her start as a high school intern with the Coney Island show. By 19, she was a featured sword swallower. (She explained that the sword actually goes into her stomach, and it’s better to perform on a full stomach, since full stomachs generate more saliva.) Go Go Amy — all inked porcelain skin, piled copper hair and coy expressions — offered classic burlesque, peeling off thigh highs and twirling handmade pasties. Little Miss Firefly, the 27-inch tap dancing diva, swallows balloons and exudes sass, whirling about the stage in an emerald gown and purple boa. It’s not all an act either. Off-stage, I saw her grab opener Eddy Price by the tie and drag.

In between bawdy jokes and admiring his handlebar mustache (oh wait, I was the one mustache-admiring), Vomit let Holliday toss knives at his groin — something that she’s only been practicing since last summer, she confessed after the show, so it still makes her nervous. The whole show had a bit of an anxious edge, betraying it's punk rock roots. The cast travels from college town to college town, passing a hat to help pay for gas (“Join a sideshow. You can make literally dozens of dollars a day,” Vomit quips). They play any venue with a stage big enough to accommodate, they’re approachable and easy to chat with off-stage, and they even make their own costumes and merch (pasties and glamour lips for all).

Their opener actually was rock 'n' roll, as well as being one of the best parts of the evening. Usually Price plays with southern Indiana psychobilly outfit Th' Empires, but on the Peep Show circuit he does a one-man band thing. I've seen a handful of one-man bands, and Price is among the best. Nothing suffers for lack of more bodies — not the fullness of sound, the showmanship or the raw energy level. Which means that Price's appeal goes beyond the inherent sideshow element of being able to kick drums at the same time that he's roughing up a guitar and growling into an old-school mic. The sound: throwback garage licks couched in extra distortion, delivered fast and punky, upbeat and danceable. The look: head flinging and impossibly blurred fingers. The lyrics: fun and funny, and oh wait, did he just mention Suicide Girls?

I found it difficult to remain in my chair and play nice, but I knew the ass-shaking was better left to Go Go Amy. And shortly after, she sure delivered.

Video and more pictures after the jump.

Go Go Amy

Little Miss Firefly

Go Go Amy

Eddy Price

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

  • TheatreSquared announces lineup for 2015 Arkansas New Play Festival

    May 13, 2015
    Fayetteville theater company TheatreSquared announced the lineup for their 2015 Arkansas New Play Festival today. The event will see a series of five plays — including a few with Arkansas themes — by nationally and internationally-known playwrights performed in Fayetteville and Little Rock over two weekends in June.. /more/
  • Central Park Fusion is fine dining worth experiencing

    May 4, 2015
    There was a time that I was jealous of the food scene in towns outside my home base of Hot Springs. /more/
  • Cache can't cut it

    April 14, 2015
    All sizzle and no steak at Cache in the River Market. /more/
  • Mama's Gyros is a pleasant surprise in Sherwood

    March 11, 2015
    It's always a pleasure when a restaurant exceeds expectations, and despite the plastic plates Mama's Gyros in Sherwood was a tasty bit of serendipity. /more/
  • Arkansas Repertory Theatre announces 2015-2016 season

    March 3, 2015
    The Arkansas Repertory Theatre announced the lineup for its 40th anniversary season yesterday afternoon, which runs the gamut from Shakespeare and Tony Award winners to Disney movie adaptations. "Our 40th Season reflects all that we do best and defines who we are as a theatre company," Aristic Director Bob Hupp said in the press release. "The new season is an eclectic body of work: from a world premiere to renowned new plays and musicals, to family entertainment and Shakespeare. The 40th Sesason embodies our past, our present and our future. It is a celebration of great stories that capture the imagination and lift our spirits." /more/
  • More »

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Cheree Franco

Most Shared

  • Womack gets plucked by 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver'

    HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which premiered last April, has consistently shown itself to be a Daily Show-level contender for the humor-news crown. Up for discussion on the show last night: the myriad ways major poultry producers exploit chicken farmers. Also featured in the video: Arkansas Republican Rep. Steve Womack, who gets plucked and roasted for placing a rider on the agriculture appropriations bill that forbids the USDA from enforcing already-written protections for the nation's poultry farmers.
  • Magazine obtains police report over Josh Duggar sexual molestation investigation; he admits past 'mistakes,' resigns Family Council job

    In Touch magazine reports that it has obtained a Springdale police report containing allegations of sexual misconduct against an unnamed teen that it says it has confirmed was Josh Duggar, a minor at the time and now a prominent lobbyist for the Family Research Council and a leading voice for legal discrimination against gay people.
  • State budget administrator Brandon Sharp fired; no reason given

    KATV reports that Brandon Sharp was fired Monday afternoon after four years as state budget administrator, a $101,000-a-year job in the Department of Finance and Administration.
  • KATV: Bill Walker's state agency approves grants to sister UPDATE

    KATV has dug up on questionable public dealings by a familiar figure — former state Sen. Bill Walker, who headed the state Career Education Department during the administration of Gov. Mike Beebe.
  • What's not to love about the Bentonville Film Festival? Walmart.

    The Bentonville Film Festival, launched this year by actress Geena Davis and held earlier this month from May 5-9, earned a number of largely positive notices from major outlets like the Huffington Post ("At the Bentonville Film Festival, Women Are Playing in the Major Leagues"), the L.A. Times ("Bentonville Film Festival pushes diversity message from year one") and the New York Times ("Bentonville, Ark., Hosts a Film Festival Without a Movie Theater"), most of them centering on its unique and vital agenda — promoting diversity and gender equality in filmmaking — and its celebrity cache (e.g. an acting workshop taught by Robert De Niro, a softball game led by Rosie O'Donnell, etc.).

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2015 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation