Hindsight: Collective Muse Variety Show @ Cervantes

Backstage snake (cobra impersonator: Tarena, body paint: Mythica von Griffyn)

In the entertainment world, variety shows are the spicy lingerie of life. Even though Lannie’s has had the format nearly on lockdown for years now, there’s apparently room in Denver for a new contender. Madamn Ivy’s Collective Muse is a worthy one. The fact that its lineup pulls heavily from Lannie’s regulars is hardly surprising.

Despite “9 pm sharp” being printed on the eflyer, the show didn’t start on time. As a performer myself, I understand how difficult it is to wrangle thirty performers, not to mention costumes, props and a python, into a tiny dressing room like the one at “Slurvantes.” That being said, I couldn’t stay for the entire presentation once it was behind schedule. What I did catch was mostly worth watching, aside from minor mic difficulties and an opening bard who could use a little more guitar practice (his strings were buzzing from sloppy bar chording).

The premise of Collective Muse is a winner. Hostess Madamn Ivy has misplaced her mojo, and she must embark on a hero’s journey-esque quest for muses to help her retrieve it. Ivy is aided immensely by the presence of variety show big gun Naughty Pierre. Pierre packs his admittedly “kinda gay” pink suitcase and walks in place toward the audience, eventually revealing an inflatable magic lamp stashed behind one of the monitors. In an Alice in Wonderland allusion one might find in a spooge-inducing spoof of the Lewis Carroll classic, “Blow Me” is the inscription. Blowjob and masturbation jokes ensue as the pervert emcee proceeds to inflate the receptacle and “rub one out.” The genie, a belly dancer named Taka, is supposedly slow to the stage because she’s taking bong hits in the green room (maybe she’s a magic brownie genie?)—a comedic tactic that simultaneously milks the visual humor and squeezes in a hookah chuckle too. It’s funny. Blank pages were obviously harmed in the making of this script. Other muses in the program included cobra impersonator Tarena, burlesque dancer Kitty Crimson, stilt walker Lady Shanime, aerial performer Lauraleight, (ginormous) snake chauffeur Booster Blake and clown twosome Calvo and Tovio. The clowns’ musical number elicited plenty of grins–Tovio juggled his xylophone mallets in between strikes while Calvo stroked a handsaw with a violin bow.

As I said, I couldn’t stay for the whole show, but I sincerely hope Ivy found her mojo–or at least got busy with a few muses along the way.

George Peele enjoys strapping on height enhancers and aurally ambushing strangers. He is Music Features Editor for 303’s print edition. Keep your eyes peeled for December interviews with dance music twosome Manufactured Superstars and Times Square NYE guru Dante Dunlap. Follow him on Twitter: @Orangepeelmoses. Avatar image courtesy Jonathan Shoup.

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