"Kamikaze Kittens" would be a fantastic name for an all-girl power pop band.
We’d never played Fargo, North Dakota before, and the only thing we knew about the venue was that they were willing to book us. Still it’s unlikely that advance knowledge could have reduced the level of slapstick misadventure sustained over the course of the night.
The Nestor Tavern, we later learned, was known locally as “the Nasty.” It didn’t take us long to independently confirm the assessment. One-story dive bar huddled in the middle of a corner lot, heavy eaves overhanging a few narrow windows. Inside a minimal stage and dance floor, mostly-functional PA, and a set of high-powered theatre can lights hanging from the dropped ceiling. No one could adjust the lights, and the circuit wasn’t dimmable. Actors talk about finding hot spots on the stage, but this was like performing under a bank of heat lamps. We were touring our Christmas show, natch. Lots of faux fur.
Off-premises sales advertised on the marquee turned out to mean a full-service liquor store folded into the bar. Snacks, mixers, cups, lighters, a separate cash register: for all I knew you could buy a package of instant mac and cheese at the package liquor counter, mix it up by the coffee station, and eat it at the bar. Play video poker or buy Lotto tickets? Bud Lite draft or a forty of Keystone? Buy shots at the bar, or hide a bagged half-pint between your knees? Both, everything, all the time! The Nasty wouldn’t presume to judge.
You Too Can Own A Piece Of Super Happy History
It’s true! Behold, above, the very pair I bought for a “Red Shoes” fairy tale-theme burlesque act in May 2007, and wore on three separate national tours with Super Happy Funtime Burlesque (2010, 2012, 2014). They were once red, and once made of canvas; now they are made of sequins, hot glue, and grime, with accents of Silly String and glitter.
I tripped the light fantastic onstage and off in these shoes, in cruddy bars from Santa Monica, California to Saint Petersburg, Florida, and now it is time for them to go. As in Everything Must Go, as in FOR SALE. Email or just PayPal me: katherinemarty [at] gmail [dot] com. Bids starting at $35. Most serious offers considered.
Possible uses: kindle a fire in one or both, inhale smoke, receive a vision of your Showbiz Guardian Spirit. Cast them in bronze. Extract DNA from the sweat stains and clone a monstrous burlesque dancer of your very own. Place in sealed container, distill the noxious gases emitted, brew a probably-nonlethal chemical weapon. You could even wear them (ladies size six), although I don’t recommend this. Original box included. (I’m a very organized stripper.)
Am I serious? I am VERY serious. Winning (or is that losing?) bidder will also receive a foot selfie featuring younger, prettier red shoes.
If you’re just joining us, as they say on public radio, you’ll notice that I often mention burlesque gigs, road life, and unfortunate events in unexpected towns. To clarify: I’m a core member of Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, an anarchic sexy vaudeville extravaganza. There are touring burlesque and sideshow troupes; there are burlesque troupes with a live band; still we are the only touring troupe with a live band playing predominantly original music.
When pressed, we describe ourselves as Rocky Horror-esque. But here’s a closer approximation: “The Forbidden Zone” crossed with “Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens,” laced with science fiction nerdery and experimental performance art. If that sounds too complicated, just relax and watch the ladies dance. Some of them also do tricks. We’ve been working on this show for eight years and we’re still making it up as we go.
I drove through a night and a day and a night with superhappyfuntimeburlesque, arrived just in time to shower and face the workweek as if I hadn’t spent 30 blank hours staring down the horizon through windows with squeegee marks. As if I’d slept in a bed that didn’t threaten to shake me clean off, that wasn’t bolted into a drafty bus.
Today is an empty, still day. The northward drive from Florida created a pocket of accelerated time, a Star Trek-grade temporal anomaly. Once we crossed into Kentucky, the temperature dropped hour by hour. We knew it was over when we saw ice on the ground in a parking lot. I’ve got climactic jetlag right now. Tomorrow I can wake again to winter.