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Batman Burlesque Dancers Take on Riddler, Harley Quinn and ‘Killing Joke’

Nerd burlesque is all the rage these days, and our friends at Asylum recently attended the Epic Win’s Holy Sh*t…Batman! Burlesque show in New York City, and brought back photos of its burlesque interpretations of Batman characters like Two-Face, The Joker, Riddler, and Harley Quinn.

The attention to detail (Harley starts out as Joker’s therapist before stripping down) is admirable, though occasionally disturbing. While most of the act had a playful take on Batman’s rogues gallery, we’re going to need a pretty strong drink after seeing the “sexy” interpretation of Joker torturing Barbara Gordon from “The Killing Joke” — a little too close to torture porn for our tastes.

Consider yourself warned — and as you might imagine, many of the photos are NSFW. We’ve got an interview with Riddler performer Lefty Lucy conducted by Bonnie Biess after the jump. Are most of the [burlesque performers] fans of comics?

Lefty Lucy: All of the Epic Win girls were and are fans of comics. A number of us even swap comics as we find new ones we love… My favorite comic books are definitely “Transmetropolitan,” and I love Daniel Clowes stuff, esp. “David Boring.” I also love “Sandman,” and really enjoyed reading “Civil War” as it was coming out. I know a lot of the girls love “Preacher” and a lot of the Alan Moore stuff (“Watchmen,” “Promethea,” etc). I also love Brian K. Vaughn and Darwyn Cooke, though I’ve lost patience for Vaughn’s “Ex Machina” for awhile now.

What inspired you to play the Riddler? Can you give us any details on what inspired the high energy interpretive dance?

LL: Well, I had originally been drawn to Poison Ivy, when I was first starting and didn’t realize how fun and creative a male act could be. Then, early on, I heard of and saw Nasty Canasta’s PI act, and knew I didn’t have anything on her (she is amazing-a total burlesque idol of mine), so I began looking in to other Batman characters. I tend to not go for the pretty sexy characters, as I’m more comfortable being funny, and I love old comedy and vaudeville style burlesque and storytelling. When I was growing up, I was OBSESSED with the live action batman show, and [Frank] Gorshin’s performance really struck me. Add to that my favorite color is green and that I am a chronic over-sharer myself (Riddler’s fatal flaw is that he can’t not get caught), and it was a no brainer.

If you could do any other comic book burlesque theme, which one would it be? What character would you pick to perform personally?

LL: I’m working on an act as Delight/Delirium from “Sandman.” Storybook has tossed around the idea of doing a “Sandman” show, but we’re working on a few others, too, so time will tell. But I have a song and act concept
worked out already and have been piecing together the costume for months, so I may get around to it before a themed show.

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Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque
Bonnie Voy’age performs her interpretation of Selina Kyle becoming Catwoman during Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque.
Ben Trivett, Asylum.com

Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque

Bonnie Voy’age performs her interpretation of Selina Kyle becoming Catwoman during Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque.

Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque

Bonnie Voy’age performs her interpretation of Selina Kyle becoming Catwoman.

Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque

Bonnie Voy’age performs her interpretation of Selina Kyle becoming Catwoman.

Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque

Bonnie Voy’age performs her interpretation of Selina Kyle becoming Catwoman.

Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque

Bonnie Voy’age performs her interpretation of Selina Kyle becoming Catwoman.

Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque

Miss Mary Cyn’s interpretation of the Joker from “The Dark Knight.”

Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque

Miss Mary Cyn’s interpretation of the Joker from “The Dark Knight.”

Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque

Miss Mary Cyn’s interpretation of the Joker from “The Dark Knight.”

Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque

Miss Mary Cyn’s interpretation of the Joker from “The Dark Knight.”

Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque

Lefty Lucy performs her interpretation of the Riddler.

Holy Sh*t … Batman! Burlesque

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How do you all decide on what theme you will do for a show? How did it come to Batman?

LL: Basically, we’re all nerds, and so Schaffer and Nelson (the producers of the show) will talk and if there’s an idea that thrills them and chills them to the bone, they’ll put out the feelers and see if we’re also feeling it. Usually, we are, and start getting ideas for acts immediately.

Batman was an obvious choice. First, we all LOVE Batman, either in comic book, movie, cartoon, or live-action form. I know for me, personally, the Riddler was one of the very first acts I decided I wanted to do when I began performing, about a year ago. Doing a love letter to Batman around valentines day just seemed natural for Epic
Win.

How do the performers decide on who they will play?

LL: Divvying out the characters mostly comes down to a school yard dibs system, but can also come from the group saying, “OMG! You’d be an AMAZING ____.” Luckily, the group is pretty diverse, and we aren’t the sort of people to all want to play one part. Like I said, I’ve wanted to do an act as the Riddler for sometime, so when Batman was announced as the theme, I already had dibs on the role.

Any clues on what the next themed burlesque show might be?

LL: The theme for the next Epic Win should be announced soon, but I’ll let Schaffer and Nelson lead that announcement.

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