Slim Jim Dandee & The Delightful Miss Coco
A Tapestry of Variance: 10-Year Anniversary Show
Va Va Vixens at Art Sanctuary
Review by Keith Waits
Photos by Joe Mays
Entire contents are copyright © 2019 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.
I have watched a great many aerial artists at work in recent years, and I know to expect athleticism and grace, dance in the air. But early in this performance, The Delightful Miss Coco and Slim Jim Dandee take flight in a karaoke cube duet to Under Pressure that is raw and rambunctious, almost reckless in its attitude, even if we know from experience that these two are highly skilled on this apparatus.
The Va Va Vixens are always tonally a breed apart from other companies that feature circus arts, but for this production marking their 10th anniversary they seemed to a little more daring, and perhaps a little more forceful in their sexuality. Its what you expect from the Vixens, but even by their standards, Tapestry is hot!
Emcee Lady Stardust gives saucy context in opening and closing speeches, but she also brings her gutsy and flavorful singing voice to the party several times, including a soulful rendition of “Cuz I Love You”. There were other strong musical performances from Julius Teaser and Tony Smith.
There was also a “Creepy Ballet” that showed that at least nine of the Vixens can dance en pointe, but much of the choreography opened up the opportunity for cheek-grabbing, breast-baring burlesque, and some social commentary. Bethann Kannapell executed an unusual striptease out of black plastic to Toxic Love that included projections that made the environmental message abundantly clear, so that when she began smearing what appeared to be motor oil on her body it wasn’t only about kinky sensuality.
At the end of the evening, another especially daring group striptease to Julius Teaser’s powerful rendition of “We Belong Together” included an even more direct statement about women’s reproductive rights. There were other incendiary routines with the removal of clothing – Mr. Jinglepants delivered an especially torrid routine that nearly set fire to the stage, but this was a finale that pushed the boundaries of what the Vixens do, reminding us of their history and connecting the celebration of sexuality to the fight against repression against women.
The celebratory nature of the evening is actually not far removed from the tone at previous Vixens shows, and the most important aspect of the company is how it illustrates a relationship between sexy entertainment and a meaningful sense of family built through a found community.
A Tapestry of Variance: 10-Year Anniversary Show!
November 14-17, 2019
Va Va Vixens
1433 South Shelby Street
Louisville, KY 40217
Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being the host of LVA’s Artebella On The Radio on WXOX 97.1 FM / ARTxFM.com, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in LEO Weekly, Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.