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Categories: Burlesque

A naked woman is one of my most favorite things in the world. Naked women is even better. They are beautiful creatures. Whether it’s a lover, a strip club, a dirty movie, an artist’s rendering, or a good old-fashioned strip tease, I really love a naked woman; so it’s no wonder I spent a year producing a Variety Show with my good friend Susan Campanaro and Melissa Roth which featured burlesque dancing every week.

In October I was a participant at the New York Television Festival with two shows I was producing: “American Bombshells” and “Miss Adventure“. I was a finalist with Bombshells and Jenn Larson was a semi-finalist with her adventure series; this is how I came to know Maggie Herskowitz.

Maggie auditioned for a spin-off series we were pitching called Adventure Boot Camp, a reality competition series where the contestants are vying for a position in Miss Adventure’s Adventure Squad (another spin-off idea). We were looking for a geeky girl and Maggie fit the bill.

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She was a child-prodigy, now all growed-up (sic) at the ripe age of 19. She’s super smart, a very talented singer, loves Doctor Who and Kim Possible and is everything I could fall in love at the drop of a hat. Excuse me sir, is this your Fedora?

Eager to get some time alone with the very single Maggie Herskowitz (she made sure to mention this in her audition), I invited her to the New York Comic Con. I was dressed as Wolverine, she as the aforementioned Miss Possible. There we encountered a gentleman named Brandon Herman who was filming segments for FanGirlTV, which Maggie was going to be a part of. She had mentioned that she had participated in their live show 3 days prior, also Maggie’s 20th birthday (they grow up so fast). Her costume had a Matt Smith theme and she reminded me fez’s were cool.

Flash forward to January, and the next live installment of FanGirlTV at the Triad. The Triad is a great venue for cabaret shows – I even held my big Pot Roast show there a couple of years ago. Brandon had offered free tickets to myself and Jenn Larson, who also bought me a Gray’s Papaya dinner before the show.

The lineup for the evening was disappointing at first glance, mainly for one reason. Maggie had posted on Facebook she was doing the show, but it turns out she was not one of the dancers; she was a panelist, a moderator really, for the the discussion on female geekery. This is the second time I’ve gone to a burlesque show with the sole purpose of seeing a crush naked to find out that all she was doing was talking.

However, the girls who were peeling off their clothes in a dirty, nerdy way were actually quite talented and creative. The evening opened (after a terrible introduction by the lame emcee Gary) with Hazel Honeysuckle, who danced to Cher’s “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves” (a favorite) with a touch of Daffy Duck invoking Robin Hood at the beginning.

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Photo by Steve Gnomes

Next, we were treated to a steampunk and Harry Potter-inspired owl portrayed by the gorgeously tattooed Dangrrr Doll. Her costume was amazing, with black-feathered fans that doubled as wings and delicately placed single feathers to hide just enough to keep the show legal.

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photo by Sean Jamar

Quite possibly inspired by Bowser from the Super Mario World series, Evelyn Vinyl was the most like a stripper. Her dance moves were very sexual, the removal of her costume was more purposed than to merely tease, and were it a more intimate setting I would have paid her $30 to grind on my lap. This is not to say I didn’t enjoy her work, I very much did, but I don’t feel comfortable classifying it as burlesque.

Up to the stage hopped Maggie Julienne (as in the way to cut fries?). Why Herskowitz was dropped in favor of this bland Gentile-sounding name is not known. Is she looking for anonymity amongst the unsavory world of pseudo-stripping, even though she wasn’t baring anything? Was she trying on a new nomme d’plume or stage name? I liked the little Maggie I met and cast, who wasn’t afraid to be herself.

Paige Pumgree was called up to the stage, representing more non-nude geekery. She is a member of Girls Drawing Girls and loves “drawing girls with big knockers!”

While I was disappointed in the continued lack of nudity among our panelists (Paige had huge tits), I was overwhelmed by how inexperienced Herskowitz was at moderating. She is such an intelligent young woman and very fun to converse with, that I would have expected her to be a natural. Rather than lead a forum on female geekdom, she became argumentative and even insulting to her panel.

Soon you will be able to see the videos of this evening somewhere on the Internet, including the acts the were interwoven through the panel discussions. Dangrrr Doll returns as Sonic the Hedgehog (“If Sonic the Hedgehog were a showgirl,” she says describing her act, “he’d be super sparkly.”), Evelyn Vinyl portrays DC comics’ Harley Quinn – a fantastic characterization as she dances to Poe’s Trigger Happy Jack, and hazel Honeypot is super hot after stripping down to almost nothing as Harry Potter’s Professor Minerva McGonagall.

Unfortunately my frame of reference for Harry Potter is lacking – I have not read the books or seen the movies. Yet, it is clearly a FanGirl standard, as there was a piece devoted to it in each of the two acts, as well as the cause for argument during the panel. Clearly, the scarred teen wizard is the way to a geeky girl’s heart, and perhaps the key to getting her to take off her clothes. I wonder if Maggie wants to watch the movies with me?

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