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It's a little bit naughty. It's a little bit athletic, artistic and sultry. Throw in a hefty dash of laughter and you've got Mod Carousel, with "Wham! Bam! KaBOOM!"
Burlesque shows bring mix of art, laughs and glitz 062613 AE 1 Capital City Weekly It's a little bit naughty. It's a little bit athletic, artistic and sultry. Throw in a hefty dash of laughter and you've got Mod Carousel, with "Wham! Bam! KaBOOM!"

Photos By Sarah Day / Ccw

Lily Verlaine plays a flower shop girl, giving out flowers to the audience.


Photos By Sarah Day / Ccw

The Luminous Pariah, Seneca Harper, dances as a Bird of Paradise.


Photo By Sarah Day / Capital City Weekly

Mod Carousel performed "Wham! Bam! KaBOOM!" on June 21 and 22 at the Rockwell, featuring Paris Original (from left), Trojan Original, the Luminous Pariah, and Leeni.


Photo By Sarah Day / Capital City Weekly

Paris Original does a ballet dance as a swan in an act during "Wham! Bam! KaBOOM!" on Friday, June 21.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Story last updated at 6/26/2013 - 2:39 pm

Burlesque shows bring mix of art, laughs and glitz

It's a little bit naughty. It's a little bit athletic, artistic and sultry. Throw in a hefty dash of laughter and you've got Mod Carousel, with "Wham! Bam! KaBOOM!"

Juneau-grown Seneca Harper performs as the Luminous Pariah, bringing his burlesque - or more aptly defined, Boylesque - show to Juneau for the past four years.

This year there is a twist. Enter international burlesque star Lily Verlaine.

Harper rewrote "Wham! Bam! KaBOOM!" to include Verlaine, but largely brought back the same show Juneauites raved about from last year. This year's performances of that show were June 21 and 22 at the Rockwell. A new show will be presented this weekend at Perseverance Theater.

"It's definitely a burlesque show," Harper said. "It's a combination of physical theater, comedy, dance and strip tease."

The premise of "Wham! Bam! KaBOOM!" sets up mini stories with three action heroes - The Luminous Pariah, Paris Original, Trojan Original and their emcee/villain Leeni. At one point Verlaine plays the part of a flower shop girl.

The story is crammed full of action, puns, flirty and poised dancing.

"In this show, there's a plot through the whole thing," Harper said. "...People were really blown away by our production last year, so we decided to bring it again."

If audience reactions this year were any indicator, the show fulfilled the same thrills for the beholders.

Verlaine likes the contrast she and Leeni bring to the show.

"I was marveling at the femininity myself and Leeni possess," she said. "A nice balance is really a smart move. As a counter point to the athleticism and humor the boys bring, I bring a cultivated femininity."

Verlaine said the Seattle burlesque community is very supportive as the art form evolves and grows.

"We continue to get better with great concepts, great movement and beautiful bodies," she said. "Because our community is so tight, you really have to look for a good concept."

Harper said Verlaine is the producer of the largest burlesque shows in the United States, and the only one who produces feature-length burlesque shows.

Verlaine said Harper, Trojan Original and Paris Original are in a lot of her productions.

"It's very easy to make them shine," she said.

And she's not just talking about sequins and glitter.

"I'm so thrilled to play a different role in their lives," Verlaine said. "Luminous is a very organized, calm and collected producer."

This weekend - June 28 and 29 - is an entirely different show, from the superhero-themed adventure to something a little more sultry. Verlaine will come to the forefront of the show. Unlike "Wham! Bam! KaBOOM!," "A Mod Revue," won't necessarily have a plot from beginning to end.

"It's a neo-cabaret," Harper said. "That's why we're really excited to have Lily. She's bringing some acts that will be new to Juneau."

Verlaine said she's bringing two acts.

"One is an award-winning signature act," she said. "It's one of the things that was a game changer for me for costumes. I won second runner up to Miss Exotic World. That's a really big deal in the burlesque world."

The act has appeared in Europe, Hong Kong and Australia.

"The other act is quite charming and a little bit dirty," Verlaine said. "It involves a heroic act by a man."

Crowds have been between 100 and 300 each year.

"It's fun to see the whole community there," Harper said. "People who have seen me grow up."

The shows don't just attract 20-somethings either. Harper said last year a 92-year-old attended.

"I think, too, talking about the demographic of the show, it really charges aging and sexuality," Verlaine said. "Burlesque has performers in their 20s and in their 80s. Women aging is a controversial subject in our society. You wouldn't expect our kind of performance to cultivate an older audience, but it does. Old people know how to party."

Harper said the shows are inspired by their travels across the globe.

If you go to "A Mod Revue" featuring Lily Verlaine: it's at Perseverance Theater on June 28 and 29, doors open at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8:30 p.m. This is an age 21+ event. Tickets are $21 in advance or $25 at the door. Visit brownpapertickets.com for advance tickets.

Sarah Day is the editor of Capital City Weekly. She can be reached at sarah.day@capweek.com.


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