Tassels with a D20 twist

While at the aforementioned DexCon, I signed up to watch a burlesque show. Not just any burlesque show, mind you, this was D20 Burlesque (hint: D20 is a nickname for a 20-sided die, commonly used in super geeky gaming activities). Their shtick is that all of their acts are geek-themed i.e. elves, vampires, robots and superheroes. The girls themselves are all self-professed geeks with true commitment.

The impressive part was how intricately each girl had researched and costumed her characters. Bender was a whole garbage bin painted silver, with corrugated ducting for her arms and silver lycra for leggings. His detailed head can be seen in the middle of the photo. Who goes to that much effort creating costumes that they’re going to take off in 2 minutes? D20, that’s who! And it’s not like they reuse these over and over; they had another gig coming up in a month with a completely different theme, so they’d have to think up whole new acts and characters for that.

Each act lasted the length of a song and involved the girls acting and undressing their chosen characters. We saw Superwoman (from DC Comics), Bender (from Futurama), Inara (from Firefly), Bad Horse (from Dr Horrible), Leeloo (from The Fifth Element), R2D2 (from Star Wars) and a few others that I didn’t recognise. My favourite act was probably Bad Horse. There was something really horsey about the way that she trotted about the stage, and she even ate a carrot. She kept her horsehead on for the entire act to maintain the illusion and at some point she took off her pants to reveal a luscious, horsey tail which looked spot-on.

I imagine that burlesque can often be thought of as simply stripping. There was certainly a lot of flesh (eventually) but it wasn’t all about that. Sure, the audience was mostly large, nerdy men, but they genuinely applauded each girl’s take on their chosen character and appreciated the girls’ holistic commitment to their common world. The girls’ love and dedication to their geeky characters made it clear that this meant so much more to them than simply taking their clothes off. When it comes to showing you a whole new side of your favourite fantasy characters, these girls really know how to roll a critical hit.

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