While wrestling themed burly shows have been going on in the city for a while now, nothing could’ve prepared me for the sheer ferocity that was the combination of the two. The Gorgeous Ladies of Burlesque did more than just pay homage to your favorite wrestling personalities, it took them and put their action packed antics right alongside the sultans of striptease! Produced by Broad Street Burlesque and hosted at the Chikara Wrestle Factory in the Northeast area of the city, G.L.O.B. was an event that has been in the making for some time now. Complete with its own, and let’s not forget first ever, burlesque Pay Per View, G.L.O.B. gave us a totally immersive theater like experience, complete with all the production value you could ask for. If you didn’t make it out, are you regretting it yet? It’s cool, I’m not done…
How about I start by explaining that the Chikara Wrestle Factory plays no games when it comes to putting on a professional sporting event. From a well-kept ring to a runway entrance, the lighting and general facade of this Northeast Philly warehouse set the tone for events that bring us a beautiful balance of athleticism and entertainment. Complete with some low standing bleachers to optimize your viewing experience, the factory is home to the Chikara Wrestling Organization that has been around since 2002. After several relocations and trainers moving on to national wrestling organizations, it finally found a permanent home and a squad of awesome coaches. The factory pulls double duty as a training facility for aspiring wrestlers as well as a venue to show off what they’ve picked up and on this night, to show off what Kate Nyx and Liberty Rose learned.
The stars of the show, we follow them on their journey from homely burlesque performers to bad ass lady wrestlers that would do G.L.O.W. alums like Mt. Fiji and Americana proud! Complete with a well-executed “training montage,” Kate and Liberty are transformed into the Broad Street Burlies by the one and only, Scaly Joe Cobra. Played by long time professional wrestler and Chikara co-trainer, The Ouroboros, Scaly Joe opens the show with a slaptacular match against the masked femme fatale, Super Studz Nova. Playing the villain in this scenario, I gladly cheered him with my loud mouth over the crowds booing. That is until I heard the sound of that first chest smack! My femme power instincts kicked right in as I hollered for her not to take that from him!
At this point, I was still unsure of what was next. Clearly Kate and Liberty would be shedding their house dresses for glitzier attire but what was to come? Another wrestling match? Some form of hybrid blend of the two? A burlesque routine? The possibilities were endless and had me like an excitable puppy in my seat. Much to the audience’s delight, The Bad Girls laid down a challenge and the voluptuous villain herself, Jezzabelle Von Jane, stepped up to the mat. In a routine that showed why moves like the Barrel Roll, the Back Arch, and the Tight Waist aren’t just made for wrestling, Jezzabelle owned the ring like a boss! She had a commanding presence that combined with her sultry voice and brickhouse build, made for an aggressive yet arousing performance as she gave us our first solo striptease of the evening.
The second solo performance came from the Gayborhood’s own celebrity and producer extraordinaire, Josh Schoenwolf. The creator of shows like Bearlesque, Songbird, and Philly’s Mr. Everything competition, Schoenwolf has made a name for himself as a quality performer, producer, and all around entertainer. His role in the show as the owner of G.L.O.B. was the perfect part for him to “bear” it all for the crowd. Right down to his paw pasties with tassels and signature suspenders, Schoenwolf gave us some of that razzle dazzle with a number that taught the girls that without a gimmick, all that glitters won’t always be gold.
At this point we had been treated to a bit of everything. Wrestling matches, burlesque, comedy, theater….you name it, G.L.O.B. was delivering. Believe it or not, there was still so much more in store. It was time to start mixing it up and showing off the awesomeness that is a wrestling/burlesque hybrid. In a performance that I can best describe as a literal “strip off,” Philly local Renaissance Noir squared off against New York based performer, Bunny Buxom. No stranger to the ring, Bunny co-produced Tasslemania earlier this year in Coney Island and brought all of her experience and skill to Philly that night as she represented the Bad Girls in the ring. After using every square inch of the ring to wiggle, jiggle, and otherwise twirl the audience around her finger, Ren Noir clapped back with some of that powerful black girl magic, using her incredible athleticism and cat like reflexes to show off her lithe physique. By the time she was done it was clear the hometown favorite had won but being team bad girl, Bunny had to shut that down dirty style, disqualifying herself after a smack to the back of Ren Noir with a metal chair.
I couldn’t move on to the main event without highlighting the jaw dropping talent of the evening’s announcer, Schaffer The Darklord. Sporting a purple suit and a skull and crossbones tie, our ringside master of ceremonies took to the mic for some musical entertainment. Dropping bars on a song titled “One Fall,” (Awesomely set to Samoa Joe’s current Godzilla inspired WWE entrance theme – Ed.) this tall and lanky nerdy type put the MC in emcee that night. Seriously, my mouth was agape for almost the whole song. Schaffer wasn’t the only one throwing down lyrics that night as the full cast came out to do their own rendition of the now infamous G.L.O.W. rap song. If you’re a fan of the original 80’s series, you know that the trash talking anthem was a highlight of the show and there was no way G.L.O.B. was gonna let us down! You seriously could have sent me home after this and I still would’ve given this show an amazing review, every performer that stepped on that stage brought their A game. Whether it was burlesque, wrestling, rapping, or even acting, this diverse group of talented artists were there to take things over the top.
But before we go over, let’s take it to the ropes! That’s exactly what The Broad Street Burlies, Kate and Liberty did. The pinnacle of the show was the chance for the ladies to show off what Scaly Joe had taught them. The granny dresses and glasses were gone, the patriotic colored training outfits that literally read montage across the chest had been packed away, and it was time for the main event. This match would pit The Ouroboros and The Amazing Rory Gulak against our All American daring duo and would effortlessly combine marvelous maneuvers with moments of tease. The suplexes and hip heists blended perfectly with the way burlesque takes its time to show off the curves of the body. This routine combined athleticism, artistry, and aerial action in a way that none of the talents being displayed took a back seat to another. The match offered natural transitions between hard hitting action and graceful garment removal and fluid movements that showed off the ladies killer frames and the men’s hulking muscles. This titillating tag team match was the perfect culmination to an engaging show that progressed organically with nothing feeling out of place or forced. By the time the house lights went on any curiosity of how these two worlds would combine had been completely satisfied.
This event would not have been possible without the talent and creativity of the dynamic duo that is Kate Nyx and Liberty Rose. Their experience and commitment to quality were on full display this weekend. Nyx’s husband, trainer, and opponent for the evening, The Ouroboros, helped get the all ladies ready for those big top rope tricks that looked as good as any professional wrestler I’ve ever seen. The behind the scenes hard work and efforts that went into this sporty and seductive spectacle were evident in every single well executed clothesline, tassel twirl, and costume change. Even the side stories and background fights came together well and brought the whole show to the next level.
Having been an avid fan of the local burlesque scene since seeing The Rigor Mortis Revue over 8 years ago in Fishtown, I can say with complete confidence that G.L.O.B. was hands down THE most well produced, scripted, and themed burlesque show I have ever had the pleasure of attending. I felt proud just to be in attendance! With its high energy, clever script, and variety of talent, this show not only had the recipe for success, it elevated it. Burlesque is an art form that’s been around for a long time and while ever evolving and socially relevant routines will always help keep it fresh, this show managed to give it a whole new spin. G.L.O.B. was a game changer and in this game Kate Nyx and Liberty Rose need you to know that there’s no holds barred!
Words by Heather Fox, Photography by Jamie L. See