To be honest, I was a little hesitant when resident Racket dum-dum Armando Olivas told me we were going to a burlesque and magic show during our jaunt around Anime Expo this past 4th of July. The idea of women taking off their clothes for entertainment has never sat well with me. And magicians always bring back some not so great memories involving a botched card trick and a grade school crush. But Mondo reassured me that if my reservations about the show were validated we could leave early and be home in time for fireworks. We stayed for every last second of Myth: Legends of Burlesque and Magic, whooping, hollering, and gasping in awe the entire time.
When I was a kid, maybe around seven or eight, I entertained the idea of becoming a magician. An older relative bought me a cheap children’s magic kit, my dad dug up some old books on magic he had laying around, and I practiced some basic sleights of hand in my room for a couple of weeks.
That is before a girl I liked at school said that magic was dumb and I abandoned the idea entirely. The acts I witnessed this at the Myth: Legends of Burlesque and Magic sincerely made me wish I had told Monica Rabenstock to shut her mouth and kept practicing magic.
From the opening act, where Myths’ producer, William Draven, snapped a pencil held in an audience member’s outstretched hand while blindfolded, to the traditional magician stylings of Naathan Phan (the Magic Asian Man), to the carnival midway antics of AyeJay I never once stopped having an amazing time. Even when I knew how a trick was performed, the wit and charm of these men kept me, and I’m fairly certain rest of the audience, enraptured. Also, the range of the acts we witnessed was so broad that I never felt like I was watching the same act twice. This was especially true when the trio of Dyno Staats, The Shocker, and Bizzaro all performed three completely different styles of magic all within the same act.
The highlight of the evening was when our very own Armando Olivas got called on stage to help Draven perform Harry Houdini’s infamous straightjacket escape. Not content with having him secure the restraints, Draven wagered Mondo that he could escape from the straightjacket before Mondo could down an entire bottle of Gatorade. Now, you may not know this, but I’ve known Mondo over ten years. I’ve seen the man gulp an entire Snapple before a mutual friend even finished counting down from three. And I will maintain until my dying day that had Mondo not hammed it up with artistic flourishes he would have destroyed Draven in that race.
But magic was not the only thing we went to see that night. The real stars of the show were the burlesque dancers. Led by the funny, charming, and more than a little Eddie Izzard-esque hostess of Myth, Vixen DeVille, the burlesque cast put on some of the best performances I could have ever imagined. First and foremost, these ladies knew their audience. Nova Snape, Mia Morte, Belle-Esque, Rynie Das Wreckless, and Olivia Bellafontaine performed as such nerd icons as Princess Leia (surprisingly not Slave Leia), Black Cat, Captain America, and Dr. Spock. Believe me, you’ve never seen a burlesque show until you’ve seen the Cap dance down to her skivvies accompanied by “America, F*ck Yeah!”, the “Team America: World Police” Theme Song, ON the Fourth of July.
Secondly, at no point during any of the burlesque performances did I feel sleazy or uncomfortable. This was a huge concern of mine walking into Myths. Mondo and I sat behind two elderly women during the entire show. They hooted and hollered right alongside the gang of Otaku seated next to them. Everything was definitely hot. Everything was definitely sexy. But every dance was performed in such an energetic and artful way, that at the risk of sounding pretentious, I would call Myths’ burlesque performances a celebration of the female form instead just women on stage taking their clothes off.
I would like to give a special mention to a couple of Myth: Legends of Burlesque and Magic’s shining stars. Vixen DeVille was absolutely superb as the shows’ hostess. Her gifts of improvisation and audience banter are mind blowing. With seemingly little effort she both engaged the audience and kept the entire auditorium’s energy levels up for the duration of the show. Which is no small feat when Myth’s running time is over two hours long. I sincerely envy this woman and her ability to handle a crowd. Second, I would like to give unending praise to the break-out star of Myths: Steve the Chair. Never in my twenty-six years on this earth have I seen such a sexy and provocative performance by a chair. And being the double-threat that he is, Steve managed to steal the scene during several of the magic acts as well. Steve the Chair truly is a Legend of Burlesque and Magic.
So, in summation: Next year at Anime Expo, GO. SEE. THIS. SHOW! It is an absolute blast, beginning to end. 25$ is well worth the entertainment you’ll be getting. And if you’ve stuck through this review until the end: Thank you for supporting my first official piece of work for Racket Magazine. Here’s to many more! Bye guys!
Michael Chabolla is one half of the MiMoCast as well as an aspiring writer. When he’s not dealing with Mondo’s bullshit you can often find him planning his next Dungeons & Dragons campaign or eating a sandwich. Follow him on twitter. A self written bio and an actual profile is coming soon, we promise!