Missy SuicidePhoto by Erica Danger

Pasties, Panties and Lingerie — Oh, My!

Blackheart Burlesque shows all at the McDonald Theatre

Your pulse rushes as your eyes brush over their sleek curves: the soft dip of a shoulder, the swing of a hip, the succulent valley of meeting thighs. Their silhouette makes a primal urge for more swell up in your stomach, turning you nearly frantic until — wait, is that a storm trooper helmet?

The alternative troupe Blackheart Burlesque is grinding their way across the nation, pitching tents and slapping smiles onto folks’ faces one scandalous performance at a time. Perhaps this show is for the less faint of heart, or maybe the skeptical prude is exactly who ought to attend this flirtatious rendition of a classic art form. You may even learn a few tricks to take home.

Missy Suicide was inspired to start the unconventional burlesque troupe in 2003 after applying her background in media to start the online sensation SuicideGirls two years before. The alternative pin-up site aroused crowds across the globe, and its popularity showered Suicide with opportunities to expand the company’s creative outlets through books, comics and a movie.

Arguably the most successful branch of SuicideGirls, however, is their Blackheart Burlesque show. “Take the sexy spirit of classic burlesque and put a modern twist on it,” Suicide says.

She spent the early days of SuicideGirls taking Bettie Page-inspired boudoir photos of her friends; women with tattoos, curves and hair styles with a lingering ’80s aesthetic. She took soft, natural photos of her friends to contest the popularized grungy, over-contrasty photos of alternative women.

“All women deserve the same level of respect with their sexuality,” she says. Suicide was inspired to start a burlesque troupe with hopes to stretch the traditional construct of sexiness even further. “It’s a freeing transition.”

The show consists of six women, flirty and smart to the tease, who collaborate in both group and solo performances. Some of them started out as models on SuicideGirls, and others auditioned after seeing the show, inspired to express their own sultry swagger.

Choreography themes range from Black Panther to Donnie Darko — there’s even a Fresh Prince of Bel Air number (I’m curious, too). The costumes are divinely scandalous, the performances finely rehearsed and the attitude of the show ebbs between raunchy, classy and a geeky good time. You can expect to feel turned on, slack jawed and euphoric; this is a space to revel in your own hormonal stew.

The dirtiest detail that keeps the show’s momentum pulsing forward, Suicide says, is its energy. She explains that countless women have told her that they leave the show feeling more beautiful and inspired by their own sexuality — not to mention that it can kick off a playful night for couples. “It’s probably the best first date show,” she laughs.

Let yourself indulge in the garden of earthly delights with Blackheart Burlesque 9 pm Friday, May 4, at the McDonald Theatre; tickets $30 in advance and $35 day of. Premium seating and front row tickets are available; prices vary. This event is 18 and up, kiddos.

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