American Monster Burlesque & Blues Show is a Noisey, Psycho, Sexual Spectacle
As the title suggests, The American Monster Burlesque & Blues Show at Harvelle's is a uniquely inspired, dirty blues cavalcade. Singer Michael Arguello plays ringleader in the show he put together two years ago and which features rotating guest musicians such as Eric Von Herzen (Social Distortion) and Jerry Angel (The Dickies). Arguello explains that show's sound evolved from the blues: "We started out doing the blues and it kind of morphed. I'll bring in a David Lynch kind of idea, or we'll do an old Link Wray song like "Rumble" and kind of screw [around with it] and turn it into something else."
Photo by Slevin Mors
Much of Arguello's inspiration for the vision behind the show comes from his love of grindhouse films. Molly D'amour and her dancers incorporate this aesthetic while reigniting the 17th century tradition of burlesque theater. D'amour reveals, "Burlesque is a classic art form that is more based on tease, clothing removal, and comedy. We mix in a lot of campy, horror, fetish, and cult film references."
Of the girls and their performance in the show, Arguello says, "[They're] well-respected in the industry, and they're very open minded to doing fun stuff...they're out there without a net, just going for it rather than sitting there doing the traditional numbers." He elaborates, "One [dancer] will put on chains, another will put on a gun, grab some blood, put on a horse head...It's pretty fun and funny, and at times it's freaky."
Photo of Michael Arguello by Slevin Mors
All of the dancers are professionals with whom D'amour has worked on other projects. She, herself, has been a professional dancer for 14 years, and although there is a lot of camp and improvisation in the shows, she only hires dancers that she feels can deliver high quality performances. She says, "I do enjoy bizarre, theatrical, and comical performances, but having proper training is always a plus for any act. All of my performers work on professional levels. I believe the bar should be the bar, and the quality of club shows should be the same as [that of] any other production."