[RECAP] Burlesque and Punk against Trump at The Barbary 1/20

“…more booty than a Melania Trump photo shoot…”

You might be one of those people who confuses being patriotic with being loyal to the temporary elected official. Maybe you’re one of the many optimistic folks who just wants to give Trump a chance.  You might even like the slogan “Make America Great Again.” If any of these or other Pro-Trump statements give you a safe and warm feeling inside, then this show, this recap, hell, maybe even this blog, might not be for you.

On Friday, January 20th 2017, Donald J. Trump was officially sworn in as the 45th leader of The United States of America. Riot Nerd decided to celebrate this the only way we know how, honoring our freedom and civil liberties by using them to protest, through song and dance, a man that has no idea what it means to honor anything besides his own image.  The main movers and shakers behind the blog I know you all love to read and share spent countless hours putting together a show that would act as a place for Philadelphia’s freaks and geeks to come together and mourn the death of democracy while celebrating the oncoming revolution. I mean, there is nothing the punk scene loves more than an evil fascist to unite behind and get the rebels rousing.

While Inauguration Day quickly became a moment people were counting down to like it was The Apocalypse, many people were looking for a release for their frustration, fear, and general discontent with the oncoming administration and thanks to the efforts of some awesome people, Riot Nerd created a place for you to do that.

Local punk rockers The Up Up Ups opened the show with a fast, loud and energetic set. They really brought the “punk” to the “burlesque and punk” event.  The band also drew attention from several concertgoers at the downstairs show (The Dead Milkmen and An Albatross). Not even having to pay another entry fee swayed people from popping upstairs to see this band of rockers. Frontwoman Molly’s dedication to rocking out became evident as her voice began to strain towards the end of their set.

Photograph from google search. Unknown photographer

Kino Kimino included this show as a launching point for their “March to Washington” tour.  Spending six hours in traffic from Brooklyn to Philly didn’t keep them from entrancing the audience with their feisty 90’s indie sound. Kino Kimino is a solo project of Kim Talon along with South Youth’s Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley.  The live lineup included Tarra Thiessen of Sharkmuffin on lead guitar and Jordyn Blakely on drums and they perfectly played songs from EP “Bait is For Sissies”. The set felt way too short as this a quartet of stunningly beautiful, adorably charming women rocked our socks off.

As the show transitioned from punk to pasties, Sharp Robert took the stage looking as fly as ever to introduce us to the lovely ladies on the line up. First up was one of my absolute favorite burlesque performers, Miss Liberty Rose. I am telling you, if you have never seen her perform you are truly missing out. She embodies the spirit of old school burlesque and delivers it in a way that never feels old fashioned. Dressed as Miss Liberty herself, her torch was not the only thing she had burning as she used her robe to tease and tantalize the crowd in a way that only a skilled performer can.

Following Miss Rose is no easy task, however, Kate Nyx is a veteran to the burlesque scene who can hold her own as well. She is stunning with her pale, creamy skin adorned with dark hair and flawless black lipstick presented in this amazing, most certainly handmade creation that paid homage to Shadowrun, a classic RPG table top (and Sega Genesis! – Ed.) game form the late 80’s. With led lights in strategically placed spots, she looked like cyber human hybrid that could lull you in with her sleek charm then slice you to bits with her sharp features. I’m not too familiar with the game but a Google search later and I think it’s safe to say that the Shadowrun shows a future where government has gotten so out of control that humans have returned to magic. I’m sure there are fans of this game that want to kill me for this oversimplified summary but hey, I respect any fandom that can inspire a number as sultry as the one Kate Nyx gave us that night.

If you’re familiar with burlesque, you know it has roots in Vaudeville and was well known for parody and satire.  Considering the current social climate and given the fact that Trump’s whole life in and outside the political arena is rife with material that seems tailor made for that type of comedic release, burlesque is sure to be a popular platform for expressing your frustrations over the next, and hopefully only, 4 years. But alas we are only at the beginning of those years and sadly, we are nearing the end which brings me to Lady Lazarus. This fiery femme fatale came onto the stage in a full Donald mask complete with one of those silly red hats, whose slogan is so lame I’m not even going to bother mentioning it. She gave us an act that showed us we would’ve been better off. Truth be told, even on his best day he couldn’t have stolen the thunder that was Lady Lazarus. I mean, when you can make a tiny hands, orange skinned, bad hair piece wearing bully look that sexy, you definitely have some skills worth seeing. She put the Rump in Trump with more booty than a Melania Trump photo shoot and probably gave the only truly welcomed performance of The Commander-Of-Tweets that day.

Not to be outdone, Liberty Rose closed the show with a bit of Philly flare. Continuing the subtle nods to her own name, she donned a Liberty Bell dress whose large hoops were a great aid in helping to showcase her flexibility. Becoming the true belle of the ball, her costume came together as she unveiled a “Never Trump” sign, holding it above her head and letting Liberty ring taking the shape of the iconic symbol of independence. She was all of the Philadelphia freedom we needed on a day that was otherwise overcast with an oppressive air.

It’s safe to say that while someone who brags about how popular he is and what he can grab because of his celebrity status, the local folks that run this blog had an easier time finding performers for this event than he did for his parade. Hell, I’d go one step further and say there were probably more contributors to the epic raffle that night then there were performers for his Inaugural Ball. This event sold out. People came to the Barbary to commiserate a sad day in our country but instead were reenergized by great performers, empowering messages, and fabulous prizes from a ton of local shops that included everything from tattoo gift certificates and local artwork to electric guitars and gourmet pastries. The raffle raised $760 for Planned Parenthood.  You might have left The Barbary full of booze (like me lol) or full of prizes (not like me), but with any luck at all you left full of a new found sense of rebelliousness. Damn the man, save The Empire!

For those of you who missed it or just want to keep the party going, Riot Nerd is presenting another burlesque event for charity on February 15th at Bob & Barbaras. The event has been organized by the above mentioned Lady Lazarus. For more details head to the Facebook event.

by Heather Fox and music section by Megan Hawkey

Heather Fox, is an aspiring cook and artist in her free time. By day she teaches Literacy for the Boys&Girls Club of Philadelphia and by night she dons the role of foXXXy contin, hard hitting blocker for South Jersey Roller Derby. This native Philadelphian and self-proclaimed Geek Girl, resides in Port Richmond where she continues to feed her love of pop culture with all things horror, comic book, and Star Wars related.
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