Java’s Big Texas Tiki Tour was a three city show, presented by Bachelor Pad Magazine and hosted by Java, the magazine’s creator. My wife, Beth, & I attended the first of two shows in Austin at The Beauty Ballroom on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 9:00pm. The theme of the show was tiki lounge, a throwback to the post-war fascination with exotic little bars in the South Pacific, full of wild, untamed femme fatales.
Tiki is a great idea for a show theme, and I enjoyed all of the acts, even though I tend to prefer more classic American burlesque. These ladies each got very creative with their costumes and performance, and there were about 15 different numbers in all, so lots to see! I’ll hit the highlights here.
The “Weapon of Mass Distraction,” Eva Strangelove, paid homage to her native New Zealand with her performance set to a funny slow jam song by the Flight of the Concords. Her burlesque costume included a green glitter on black corset, a long swingy cape and a fabulous retro hairdo that looked like it jumped out of a vintage cinema magazine from the 1930s. I wonder if she ever gets tired of being labeled “stunning,” but, well she is, and I really love that she can put together a burlesque piece to a song that is making fun of stunning beauty.
Every time that I’ve seen Ruby Lamb perform, her music choice has been infectiously rhythmic. I love it and I think her selection this time, a rockin’ juke joint song called “Frenzy” by the legendary Screamin’ J. Hawkins really grabbed my attention. She wore a black Spanish Flamenco style dress with ruffle hem and big red roses, which soon came off to reveal a barely there, black fringe baby doll.
Java introduced Miss Martini by saying, "What happens when a gal is all alone on a tropical island?" She shimmied suggestively, hula style, in her leopard print dress, while the kitschy accompanying song let us know that she enjoyed the “Occasional Man.” Remi played to the crowd, teased with her skirt and eventually revealed a leopard print bikini, then tossed off the bikini top to end with a classic tassel twirl.
The “Best Debut” and “Most Classic” winner at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, Ruby Joule is always a delight. Her number this time was slow and sultry. Dressed in a gorgeous black and silver striped, sequined evening gown, her dance included small hand held candles that reminded me of Persian belly dances I’ve seen. The dance featured a middle break where she removed the dress to reveal a bikini and long, but skimpy, hula skirt. The number finished with Ruby removing the hula skirt to reveal a sexy, glittery purple thong with seductive beaded chains. Miss Joule is blessed with such a nice hourglass shape and really knows how to do the burlesque booty shake. She didn’t disappoint here on the Tiki Tour. This piece was graceful and beautiful (just like the lady herself), ending with a nice interplay of pasties and carefully placed candles in each hand. Loved it.
Pearl Lux has an amazingly flexible body. It’s obvious that she has dance training, but only tonight did I really appreciate her ballet when she performed a ballet inspired fan dance en pointe. She wore beautiful feathery plumage in her hair and her carefully maneuvered red feather fans concealed a skimpy little white bejeweled bikini. The music was sort of a French cabaret type big band song that reminded me of Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther music from the 1960s. Pearl Lux twirled gracefully on her toes shielding herself with the fans until finally giving the audience a tassel twirling finale.
Founding Jigglewatts member, Coco Lectric, went big with the show’s theme of wild, exotic jungle adventure. She was an Amazon tribal huntress and, WOW did she fit the role. She is such a powerful and flexible performer, and with her straight, jet black hair and large grinning smile, she was a sexy savage on that stage. She started the number prowling around on all fours, wearing a leopard print cincher, boots and feather adornments. The music was tribal, her look was crazed and she licked her lips to a super slow bump and grind. Then the music turned mysterious and she transitioned to a 1960s snake charmer with a sexy shimmy skirt (and not much else!) to finish the number.
The Ruby Revue
And then came The Ruby Revue from Dallas: a blond, a brunette and a redhead. How perfect is that? This was a lovely trio that really stole the show. Dressed all in blue sparkly corsets with sexy peacock plumage in the back, these girls gave us a classic showgirl style number with a big band music feel. Sort of a chorus line with a naughtier twist, they really captivated the crowd. A little cheesy, a little Vegas and...quite revealing to the end. I really hope to see more of these lovely gals here in Austin.
This show was called the Big Texas Tiki Tour for a reason, and Goldie sure had fun with it! She was hand-delivered by lovely stage bunnies behind a tiki screen, to emerge wearing a hot pink dress, green feathers and twirling a parasol. Like many burlesque numbers today, her piece was set to a two song medley. This one started off with a tropical piano vibe and then jumped to more of a bump and grind juke joint song, which Goldie worked in a frilly two-piece swimsuit.
Jolie Ampere Goodnight
You do know about Miss Goodnight’s singing career, right? Well she loves to sing live while also performing burlesque, and I’m sure that it takes many weeks to put a piece like this together. Singing the classic Screamin’ J. Hawkins “I Put a Spell On You” with her flirty, sultry growl, she set a great mood for the performance. During the breaks in singing, she twirled and flirted with the crowd, drawing out her burlesque performance with a very good tease. Such a talent, to tease off a pair of stockings while also singing a song like that. She’s amazing!
Missy Lisa (Ruby Revue)
And then a giant beach ball appeared. Wha...? Missy Lisa (Founder of The Ruby Revue) performed a straight up 1960s beach party burlesque number to “Wipe Out,” wearing nothing but a pink bikini. The crowd loved the simple premise, the energy she had, and the smile on her face. By the time she stripped down to her tassels and revealed a surprise ending, the crowd was roaring! I don’t want to give it away, but it involved two pairs of pasties. No wonder she teaches burlesque!
Ginger Valentine (Ruby Revue)
Ginger Valentine also did a fan dance, with beautiful emerald green fans. More of that groovy Pink Panther-esque music set a flirty tone. Miss Valentine seductively moved down to the floor, kicking up her luscious legs for much of her routine. This was the first time we’d seen sexy floor moves like that during a fan dance!
Angi B. Lovely (Ruby Revue)
I loved Angi B’s piece, because I just love the more classic styles of burlesque and dance. Angi wore a polka dot Flamenco dress with opera gloves and a fan. The music was a cha-cha and her gorgeous pinup looks combined perfectly with her sexy high kicks and classic glove tease. The final reveal was a cute pasty shimmy to a simple bongo beat. She was pretty fab.
Black Mariah (Ruby Revue)
Black Mariah is also with The Ruby Revue. She did a solo dance to lovely retro hula music. Her piece had a classic island feel, complete with her tropical floral dress and grassy green boa adorned with hibiscus flowers. Mariah did a slow reveal with lotsa tease. She certainly looked like she has studied hula - her dancing was graceful and beautiful. When the hula music ended, a new tribal beat busted out & Black Mariah wowed the crowd with some fire dancing!
The Jiggle Bunnies
The stage bunnies were from the Austin Academy of Burlesque (taught by Coco Lectric) and aside from their stage assistance between acts, performed a great little group number. Beach balls, retro swimsuits, and crazy fast hula made for a cute and campy performance.
And finishing up the show, the entire Jigglewatts troupe performed a group hula-inspired routine to Elvis’s campy “Rock-A-Hula Baby” number from the movie Blue Hawaii. It was fast and fun, with a nice surprise at the end with smaller pasties hiding underneath the first ones.
Overall it was a good show with a wide variety of acts, some fitting into the Tiki theme more than others. I think the crowd at the early show was a little older and not quite as raucous as some I’ve seen. The clear crowd pleasers were the Ruby Revue group number and Missy Lisa’s beachball bit. Myself, I really prefer a more classic style burlesque than the exotic, tiki, savage thing, so this one just wasn’t produced for the likes of me. But each one of these ladies is a great performer, each with a uniquely developed style, and I love to watch the results of what must be weeks of work. Great job ladies! We’ll see you at the next burlesque show.