By Jason Paul
Remember that girl in high school with the jet black hair, the Black Flag T-shirt and the worn out Chuck Taylor’s? Maybe she quietly worked in the library and read Maximumrocknroll and Hunter S. Thompson? If your fantasy girl ever fit this description, chances are the Suicide Girls have recruited her.
Once an ambivalent party novelty started by a few girls from Los Angeles, the Suicide Girls delirium has grown to epic proportions. Although the Suicide Girls turn a large chunk of profit from their membership based website (suicidegirls.com), they’re mostly renowned for their live burlesque shows. With a veritable cornucopia of tattoos and piercings, the Girls present a decidedly alternative look at our more traditional ideas of beauty and sexuality.
The Suicide Girls show is a polemic post-modern take on the burlesque shows that originated in the ’30s featuring striptease and low-brow humour. The girls still wear the frilled hot-pants of yesteryear and honour their roots with some Betty-Boop style maneuvers, but thematically, the shows have evolved from their forebears. Not to mention, the featured music is a contemporary aural delight. One segment involves a rocker girl stripping to “You Shook Me All Night Long”, while simultaneously opening and chugging several beers. She then proceeds to pour them on herself and most of the audience. Another segment features a reenactment of the infamous gasoline dousing scene in Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, complete with a dismembered prosthetic ear. In another piece, one of the more disturbing in the show, a masochistic girl, stabs her teddy bear with a pair of scissors and then makes motions across her body and neck as if to cut herself, all to the The Pixies “Tame”. These segments succeed in portraying some of the more buried aspects of our culture.
The Suicide Girls attract just as many female aficionados as male ones. This could be a by-product of the pervasive humour throughout; a “Mrs. Robinson” scene had the entire audience in stitches. The wit of the show works, because the kind of jokes arising from the more sexual aspects of human nature allows everyone to laugh. The audience becomes part of this cultural retrospective and in a way, part of the show. This, added to the fact that the women on stage aren’t trying to typify the silicone injected Barbie image, attributes to the show’s universality.
The Suicide Girls Traveling Burlesque show has been heralded as a cultural phenomenon. The show truly does express a social commentary promoting its ubiquity. And for those of you who dreamed about that cute girl with the lip ring and the “Misfits Fiend Club” membership, your time has arrived. When it comes down to it though, it’s just a bunch of interesting people looking to have some good clean fun. Unless of course you enjoy being sprayed with beer, chocolate sauce and Reddi-Whip-then it’s dirty fun.