This review of The Slipper Room Show & The Slipper Room Midnight Show at The Slipper Room was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!
The Slipper Room Show
The Slipper Room Midnight Show
The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street, NYC)
Reviewed 1/23/15 at 10:00 p.m.
The Slipper Room is the brainchild of performer and producer James Habacker. It originally opened in 1999 and was the first venue built specifically to showcase the work of the burgeoning new collective of artists involved in the genre that has become known as "neo-burlesque", an art form that began in the early 1990s in New York City and is committed to the revival and updating of the traditional American burlesque performance. Given the proliferation of nudity and its easy accessibility on the internet, the goal of the modern burlesque performer is not to titillate an exclusively male audience but to offer a mixed gender audience with a wider variety of costumes and performance styles. The Slipper Room was completely renovated in 2012. It attracts both tourists and a hip crowd of 20-30-year-olds out to have a good time and an interesting new experience and, in that regard, The Slipper Room delivers! Master of Ceremonies Bastard Keith observed during the midnight show that "a solid 8% of the audience is too old for these shenanigans." Being a part of that 8%, I can say that I enjoyed all four sets just as much, if not more, than the rest of the audience. The only negative was that the music in the room prior to the show and between sets was too loud for people to engage in casual conversations with one another. The customers and the staff of The Slipper Room are all very friendly so if you are looking for something to do for someone's birthday or for a special occasion, I highly recommend you bring them to The Slipper Room for one of its New York Burlesque & Variety Shows.
The 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. sets were hosted by Peter Aguero and featured Ekaterina, Topher Bousquet, Cassandra Rosebeetle and Tansy. The 12 midnight and 1:00 a.m. sets were hosted by Bastard Keith and featured Francis Stallings, Albert Cadabra, Deity Delgado, Gigi Bon Bon, Legs Malone and special guest, Uncle Earl. During the performances, the Master of Ceremonies interacted with the audience and between sets, there was go-go dancing and an opportunity for audience members to donate extra money to the performers either by dropping cash into a black hat or by going on stage and placing a picture of a President where the sun doesn't often shine. The cover for the earlier shows is only $15.00 if purchased online ($20.00 at the door) and you are invited to stay for the later sets. If you come only for the late sets, the cover is $10.00 at the door. The Slipper Room doesn't serve food but the bar is open and the wait staff is professional and friendly. If you are hungry either before or after you visit The Slipper Room, Katz's Delicatessen is just a block away and is open all night on the weekends.
Ekaterina (www.MissEkaterina.com), a very attractive and talented aerialist, was born and raised in Russia. She began performing at the age of five as a rhythmic gymnast and became a member of the Russian National team. In 2001, she joined the acrobatic dance troupe Anti-Gravity and moved to New York City. Ekaterina now has a professional career in the circus, dance, and burlesque, specializing in physical comedy, contortion, and aerial arts. Besides performing with circus and entertainment companies such as Cirque Du Soleil, Cirque Musica, and the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, she recently joined the cast of Sleep No More - the most recent incarnation of immersive, site-specific, interactive play, created by British theatre company Punchdrunk. Her unique burlesque performance centered on her performing as a cat might, inviting a male audience member to scratch her stomach and behind her ear. She also licked her own foot and coughed up a hairball! Cassandra Rosebeetle (www.CassandraRosebeetle.com), a dark, sultry, woman of mystery, was a competitive ice skater for 15 years and has been performing as a principal member of the Desert Sin Dance Company since 2001. She has an extensive background performing as a belly dancer and glass-walker. Her unique burlesque performance featured Isis Wings, a black umbrella, and accompanying music with French lyrics.
Tansy (www.TansyBurlesque.com), New York's Burlesque Starlet, has been often described as "The Elizabeth Taylor of Burlesque". She is absolutely gorgeous! Tansy exudes charisma and radiates a joyful effervescence and joie de vivre. In 2012, she was crowned "Miss Newcomer World" at The World Burlesque Games in London, England. She was also chosen to perform in the "Best Debut" category at The Burlesque Hall Of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas and has had the honor of competing for the "Queen of Burlesque" title in New Orleans. Tansy is a very classy burlesque performer with a great stage presence. Christopher David Bousquet ("Topher Bousquet") (www.flextopher.weebly.com), is a double-jointed contortionist who is able to twist his own body into a pretzel with the greatest of ease. Topher completed the Professional Track program at the New England Center for Circus Arts and later was accepted into L'Ecole de Cirque Quebec City. He now trains, teaches and performs in the circus and burlesque scenes all over New York City. What this young man can do with a lit hula hoop will amaze you!
Francis Stallings (www.FrancisStallings.com), a Brooklyn-based aerialist and actor earned degrees in Sculpture and Art Education from the University of Georgia but her exposure to the performing arts and circus eventually led her to move to New York City where she designs her own costumes to show off her aerial skills and her own unique take on burlesque, whether that be appearing as a Zombie Nurse or as she did in the midnight show as a Police Officer with a gun. Gigi Bon Bon (www.GigiBonBon.com), is a professional dancer who began her burlesque career as one of Lady Rizo's original "Assettes" and a member of Jenny Rocha & her Painted Ladies. She was a Founding Member of the Good To Go Girls. She made her solo debut at the 2014 New York Burlesque Festival, where she was nominated for a Golden Pastie Award. MC Bastard Keith introduced her as The Red Head That Knocks You Dead! While that certainly is not literally true, Gigi Bon Bon is a high energy and flirtatious bombshell who knows how to seduce the crowd with her dynamic dance moves and killer smile.
Legs Malone (www.LegsMalone.com) is the Girl With The Thirty-Four and a Half Inch Inseam! She has beautiful legs that run for "miles and miles". Her burlesque performance this evening consisted of a skit involving a lamp and her desire to get three wishes fulfilled by the lamp's genie. Money and diamond earnings were granted without a problem but when she wanted a pearl necklace, let's just say the genie wanted her to manipulate the lamp as he instructed before he would fulfill the wish. The skit was absolutely hilarious! It was very innovative showing what is possible in this new genre of Neo-Burlesque. Deity Delgado (www.DietyDelgado.com), breaks all the rules of traditional burlesque and takes you to a place you had no idea existed. Deity, the aptly named icon of New York City Burlesque, made her first on-stage appearance at the Blue Angel Cabaret on Walker Street in 1994. A native New Yorker, she performed for several years in the world-renowned nightlife capital of Ibiza, Spain. Upon returning to New York in 2000, she has performed in BadAss Burlesque, Nurse Bettie-spanking the LES, Kitty Nights, Coco de Mer Salon, Hypergender Burlesque, Shaken & Stirred, and Penny Arcade's Bitch!Dyke!Faghag!Whore!. Deity Delgado is also a make-up artist and an expert seamstress, which explains her performing burlesque in a dress made up entirely of cardboard. She performed to the song People Are Strange, which was a perfect match for Deity Delgado. You will not soon forget her. She is a classic!
Albert Cadabra (www.AlbertCadabra.com), is known as The Great Deceiver. He is internationally recognized for his unique performances, including eating a dinner of razor blades, hammering 6 inch spikes into his face and electrocuting himself with 2,000 volts of electricity. In tonight's performances, he escaped from a straight jacket while hanging upside down and swallowed a six-foot long balloon filled with air. He attended Bard College, receiving a B.A. in Liberal Arts with a Major in Film & Television. In 1999, he won the Funniest Person In Manhattan Award at the Stand-Up New York Comedy Club. In 2001, he went on to produce, write and star in a 3-year Off-Broadway magic show called Magical Madness and in 2005, he created a new show called The Cadabra Spectacular, which opened at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. In 2008, he signed a deal with Ripley's Believe It Or Not in Times Square to create, perform and host Ripley's Sideshow Wonders, a daily, live, family-friendly sideshow with performances of the strange and bizarre. Uncle Earl, a Neil Diamond impersonator, appeared on stage at the end of the evening with two disco balls hanging from his crotch. He led the audience and the midnight performers in a grand finale that ended with everyone singing along to the song Sweet Caroline. It was the perfect end to a perfect evening!
Peter Aguero was an unfortunate choice to host the first two sets of performers. He used the words "mother-fucker" and "fuck" more times than I could count to mask his lack of talent as a Master of Ceremonies. His interactions with the audience members also fell short. The best he could come up with was how he hated Texans. On the other hand, Bastard Keith (www.BastardKeith.com) was a witty, talented, charismatic and entertaining Master of Ceremonies who sang a few songs and kept the pace of the show moving. He gave pet names to audience members and brought some of them up on stage for various contests. He claims to be a singer, writer, and gadabout. Bastard Keith is an extremely intelligent fellow and is very entertaining. He is the perfect host for any event you may be running.
I just checked and The Slipper Room (www.SlipperRoom.com) is featuring a whole new cast of professional performers who are appearing on the line-up for tomorrow night's show. If you have not experienced this new genre of variety performers, do not wait any longer. Get yourself down to The Slipper Room and see some uniquely talented people you probably weren't even aware existed.