It's not my fault I look better in her party dress.

Burlesque-a-Pades at Coney Island

Last Friday night, I made another trip down to Coney Island for my second Burlesque at the Beach show. Featuring the beautiful Pontani Sisters, this was a show that completely blew my mind. Presiding over the ceremonies was Murray Hill, who can basically be summed up in his quip to a particularly manly man in the audience:

“I know what you’re thinking, man or woman? The answer is no!”

After Murray opened the show, the gorgeous Angie Pontani took the stage for a solo tease, wearing a form-fitting green dress that sparkled with a thousand sequins. After she had stripped down to little more than her brilliant smile, Angie picked up two massive emerald green fans and started a seductive fan dance. She was a peacock. A glorious, sexy peacock.

And somehow, the show only got better from there.

Helen Pontani was next, and although I thought it would be impossible to follow Angie, she did it quite well. When you’re only tap dancing and not stripping, there’s a little bit less to holler at, but I loved Helen every bit as much as her sister, so I definitely did my part to keep audience response up. Girl deserves it!

The rest of the first act is a little bit mixed up in my head, but only because the three other dancers were so mind-blowing.

I’m pretty sure Melody Sweets was next. She seduced first with her voice – Melody sings original jazz songs, and damn, does she ever sing! What a luscious instrument that lady has. (She’s on iTunes, for the record.) Her singing-and-stripping act was absolute perfection, complete with a few blasts of glitter. I highly recommend downloading “Piece of Heaven,” at the very least.

Kitten DeVille’s hips should be registered as lethal weapons with the government. Her gyrations could kill a man if he got too close. I love her look – kind of like Marilyn Monroe’s predatory sister. Kitten has the blonde, vintage haircut, but none of Marilyn’s softness – Kitten DeVille will get what she wants or no one gets it. It was terrifyingly sexy.

The first act closed with a full Pontani Sister chair dance, where Angie and Helen and a third (who I still can’t identify) were being delightfully naughty with their chair dance. Angie has such a wonderful, self-assured quality about her, which shines through and pulls all sorts of focus, not to mention adding a tremendous depth to her already substantial sexiness. The highlight of the number was definitely when she lit up a cigarette, leaned way back over her chair, and did some sort of fancy inhale, keeping the smoke hovering around her lips.

Suffice to say, I wished I could suck that smoke right back out.

The second act was more of the same from everyone, which is not to say it got boring. At all. This was certainly not hurt by the beer I grabbed at intermission – the Coney Island Human Blockhead is not a brew to be fucked with. Anyway, Angie stripped again, I picked my jaw up the floor, Helen tapped, Kitten stripped again, and Melody did another fantastic act, this time with two assistants. She was dressed as an Egyptian goddess, and her two assistants in little black dresses posed as grave robbers, who stripped off their dresses and then re-dressed themselves in Melody’s gold clothes, while she stood completely still and crooned. Kill me.

As outstanding as this whole show was, I deliberately skipped over one performer in this little recap. Miss Tickle was really the standout of the night. When Murray introduced her for the first time, he mentioned several awards that she’s picked up, but I can’t remember any of them, because her dances blew my mind. For her first dance, Miss Tickle was dresses as a mermaid, with a tight fitted skirt that flared into fins when it hit her feet. She started the dance seated, with two fans forming a giant oyster shell around her face and body. It was a beautiful, lovely fan dance, which of course ended with Miss Tickle the Mermaid gaining legs and strutting around the stage. Her Act 2 dance was really the one that left me speechless. Miss Tickle entered all in white, wearing a short bustle skirt made entirely of feathers. Her bustle was in fact made of feather fans – throughout the course of the strip, Miss Tickle attached a fan to each of her upper arms, and at the end of the dance, took one more in each hand, and suddenly she was no longer just a dancer, she was an angel. The image burned into my head from the night is that of a lovely nude burlesque angel – Miss Tickle, at the end of her incredible tease.

Of course, the image that hangs on my wall after this show is a pinup of Angie Pontani, which I bought and had her sign after the show. She’s an absolute sweetheart, and both her and Helen were very amused when I mentioned that I had watched their self-made documentary, 5’2″ and Showy, in Dr. Lucky’s burlesque class at NYU. They’re lovely women, with incredible stage presence and drive, and I’m so happy that I could thank them personally for an incredible evening.

Even after just these two shows, I’m convinced of the quality of the Coney Island burlesque shows. If you have a free Friday night, it’s more than worth the $15 ticket price and the trip out there.


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