SuicideGirls brings feminism and burlesque together | The Triangle
Arts & Entertainment

SuicideGirls brings feminism and burlesque together

Photo Courtesy Brianna Cameau, The Triangle
Photo Courtesy Brianna Cameau, The Triangle

The Theatre of the Living Arts was jam packed with exuberant people on the night of Nov. 9. After all, the queens of alternative modeling had promised an unforgettable night of burlesque, parodies and striptease. When I arrived at the venue, the entire setup looked rather shady to me — there were tattooed people in line with hair colors that I did not know to exist, the little entrance room had piles of albums with naked women with their legs open and the hall in front of me appeared uninviting as I walked towards it. However, my anxieties were put to rest once the SuicideGirls took to the stage and performed a quite entertaining act.

SuicideGirls started as a pin-up photography website for celebrating alternative beauty among women. As the photography got popular, its founder Selena Mooney (“Missy Suicide”) decided to take her venture to the next level with her “Blackheart Burlesque” tours that began roughly 10 years ago. The shows are choreographed by Manwe Sauls-Addison, who has previously worked with big names like Beyonce and Lady Gaga.

The crowd went insane as the girls stepped out fully covered in animal suits with music blasting in the background. And soon, it began. One after the other, the girls started stripping to reveal tattoo covered skin, piercings and finally, nothing but nipple pasties and panties. The show was 90 minutes of the SuicideGirls jiggling their (quite toned, I must add) butts at the crowd, shimming and writhing across the stage and parodying “Game of Thrones,” “Star Wars” and “Planet of the Apes,” among many others. In the background, the stage was covered with a huge poster of a SuicideGirls painting with what looked like two naked women about to make out. The self-proclaimed female-empowering ensemble included into their act concepts like sexuality and orientation with the girls performing in very intimate acts onstage, like groping each other’s nipples and slapping each other’s behinds.

I was afraid that the show would get banal after a while. I mean, there are only so many breasts and butts that I can endure for one night. However, the SuicideGirls proved that there is nothing like too many breasts as they engaged their audience in the act. The tiny, redheaded hostess, Sunny Suicide, provided funny interludes with her cheeky commentary, such as “Amen to the boobies, amen to the titties,” and my favorite — an adult version of “The Little Mermaid” song “Part of Your World,” which she concluded by stripping away her mermaid shell bra while crooning, “Wish I could be a SuicideGirl.”

The SuicideGirls’ disc jockey, Mel Suicide, stood in the background and played everything from M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls” to “The Time Warp” from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Meanwhile, the girls kept the crowd thoroughly entertained with their antics. The hostess invited three women from the crowd onstage to perform stripteases. It was quite scandalous to see the girls go wild as one of them took off her clothes and danced in lingerie while the other two grinded and jiggled their behinds. The winner won a free one-year membership to SuicideGirls online, which, considering that it grants access to naked pictures of women, doesn’t appear to very useful to heterosexual women. Another time, a guy from the audience was invited onstage for a special striptease performance. “Paper Mache,” one of the SuicideGirls, performed a very raunchy act while the guy giggled and tried to read a story assigned by the hostess to him. The hostess was to ask him three questions about the story, which, if he answered successfully, would also win him membership to SuicideGirls online. When the poor guy failed to answer the third question, the hostess said, “You know what, I’m going to give you this membership anyway because I like a man who doesn’t ignore a titty in his face.” The place was driven into a wild frenzy as the crowd cheered and lauded the humorous act.

Burlesque performances used to be limited to bachelor party itineraries and an overwhelmingly male audience. However, with their bold and inclusive performances, SuicideGirls have created a platform for burlesque shows that can be enjoyed by men and women alike. As the show was coming to an end, I looked around myself to find punk boys and girls, tattooed men and women and giggling couples all having a wonderful time. What SuicideGirls brings to the table is more than just raunchy entertainment — it is entertainment that speaks to a diverse audience, consisting of but not limited to sex-positive feminists, alternative men and women and anyone who yearns to have a good time.