Sexy and geeky are words not often paired. After my September 3 Geekly Report giving an overview of the different schools of nerds, a few readers called me out for missing this subsect of geek or that. However, none faulted me for omitting the “sexy geek.” But that might change with a new act in town: nerdy burlesque.
Steven Stone and Kelly Clark are two Seattle nerds working hard to create a blossoming nerdy-burlesque scene. The pair met while working for GeekGirlCon, a local nerd convention, and hit it off right away. (I also met the duo at GeekGirlCon, as I’ve been on staff for almost two years.) They created their first burlesque show, “JOYstick!”, last July as a fundraiser for the convention, and received rave reviews. How couldn’t it: It featured the crowd’s favorite video-game characters stripping to their skivvies. Some characters were easily burlesque-ified, like Ivy Valentine from SoulCalibur and Shiva from Final Fantasy, who are already dressed in . . . well, let’s just say there is not much left for the imagination.
Other characters required more creativity to make suitable stripteases. One performer channeled Amaterasu from Okami (a sun goddess depicted as a white wolf) by wearing ears and a beautiful Japanese robe, which she then stripped off to reveal a fiery bikini. After the success of this first show, it became clear to Stone and Clark that they wanted to pursue this further, so they spawned Smooches and Science, a burlesque troupe devoted to undressing gaming culture.
Prior to their own production, Stone had participated in Jo Jo Stiletto’s “Whedonesque Burlesque,” acting as a prop (Mal from Firefly) to Miss Elaine Yes’ Saffron character. He was instantly hooked when he saw the audiences’ reactions. Clark was a burlesque newbie drawn to the performers’ creativity and talent.
The aim of “JOYstick!”, as Stone puts it, is to “spread the joy of video games to the general populace.” The two of them are complete gamers—Clark has even debated asking attendees to bring their Nintendos DS so she can StreetPass them because she is having “PAX StreetPass withdrawals and I think this audience would understand.” (For the uninitiated, the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS have a “StreetPass” feature that allows the user to share information with other devices automatically. Imagine a room of nerds StreetPassing while watching Princess Peach striptease. So geeky! But so sexy . . . because burlesque!)
As a lady gamer, I think it’s empowering to see another woman dressed up as an obscure character from geeky fandoms in a sexy manner. That these performers are nerds willing to bare all, not only literally but also as fans, is really cool. They are deciding to take on these personas, and are having fun with it.
If you’re not yet convinced that the terms geeky and sexy belong together, then here’s how you can be the judge: “JOYstick! Level 2” is playing at the Columbia City Theater September 20–21, and will feature burlesque teams battling it out onstage. You won’t have to be a geek to enjoy it; as Stone notes, it will be “an amazing show that is fun even if you aren’t a gamer.” Afterward, maybe geeks and non-geeks alike will walk away talking about how “JOYstick!” was both amazingly geeky and sexy, and hopefully we will soon be one step closer to a geekier and sexier world for all! (For more information, check facebook.com/SmoochesAndScience.)