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Led Zeppelin burlesque mixed hedonism, humor
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Led Zeppelin burlesque mixed hedonism, humor

by Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writer

House of Thee UnHoly #3
September 17
The Triple Door


While I'm not a Led Zeppelin fanatic by any means, I'm certainly glad that veteran Seattle burlesque performer Paula the Swedish Housewife is. This production, Paula's brainchild, is by far the most ambitious and raunchy burlesque I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot. The third annual installment of "House of Thee Unholy: An Evening of Led Zeppelin Burlesque" sold out the Triple Door last week show after show. This year featured an all-star cast of 13 LGBT performers and nine straights, all singularly talented and active in Seattle's thriving burlesque/boylesque community, as well as in music and fringe theater.

The premise, as one might guess, is the music of Led Zeppelin performed by a live band with an assortment of burlesque peeling and shenanigans happening simultaneously. To pull this off, a red-hot band is absolutely necessary, and The Mighty Arms of Atlas/Sirens On the Rocks combo consisted of eight people elevated above the burlesquers on what appeared to be - you guessed it - rocks. Local performer Nick Garrison joined the powerhouse vocal team of Scott Shoemaker (The Quit) and fabulous belter Jen Ayers. The two did Robert Plant proud, and then some - I couldn't help but think how delighted all of Led Zep would be to see such a completely brazen and hilarious interpretation of their catalog. Rife with hedonism, humor, and a gender-bending smorgasbord of sex acts, songs such as "Houses of the Holy," "I Can't Quit You Baby," and "When The Levee Breaks" (pitch-perfectly sung by Ayers) took on whole new depths. "Dazed and Confused" brought local fave and lead choreographer Waxie Moon to the stage, writhing around in a multi-partnered/multi-gendered fantasy sequence. "Lemon Song" featuring Indigo Blue and Leroi the Girl Boi was a juicy number indeed, definitely perfecting new ways to utilize streams of glitter. Although the acts were unabashedly deviant, all were done with humor intact - definitely not for the faint of heart, but that's what made the show so unique. Who would dare to even think of such a thing, let alone gather up Viking hats, ballet performers, glitter, a giant zeppelin, and take on the catalog of one of the most enduring classic rock bands of all time? Honoring their inspiration, the band perfectly executed a set of classics including "Communication Breakdown," "Living Loving Maid," "Bron-Yr-Aur" and "Bring It On Home."

What made this production really sizzle was much more than the concept and the audacity it took to pull off such a feat. Each performer seemed to be having an absolute blast. When Lily Verlaine stood en pointe, back to the audience, you could see the band smiling down at her and feeding off her energy before she turned to twirl her tassels. Ninety minutes of pure rock and roll fantasy mixed with huge imagination, extravagance, and the collaborative efforts of Seattle's best and brightest performers make "House of Thee Unholy" a must-see every year. An idea this inspired is just what it takes to break new ground in the worlds of both rock and burlesque. Don't miss it next year.

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