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The Daily Wildcat

 

    SuicideGirls’ nerdy burlesque

    Courtesy+of+SuicideGirlsSuicideGirls+mixes+in+pop+culture+into+their+striptease+routines+for+their+touring+Blackheart+Burlesque+show.+For+tonight+only%2C+the+show+is+coming+to+Tucson+at+the+Rialto+Theatre+at+8+p.m.

    Courtesy of SuicideGirls

    SuicideGirls mixes in pop culture into their striptease routines for their touring “Blackheart Burlesque” show. For tonight only, the show is coming to Tucson at the Rialto Theatre at 8 p.m.

    It is a Thursday morning in Dallas, Texas, and Sunny Holiday is shimmying out the window of a locked tour bus in her skivvies to answer her phone for an interview with the Daily Wildcat. After years of performing burlesque, Holiday is unafraid at the prospect of appearing publicly in her underwear.

    The New York native has spent the last year traversing the globe with the SuicideGirls, an international movement that recognizes alternative forms of beauty. Preferring tattoos and piercings over silicone and Botox, SuicideGirls recruits young women to showcase their beauty through tastefully-shot pinup stills, which are posted on their website.

    The SuicideGirls have expanded beyond the Internet to produce books, movies and now a touring show titled “SuicideGirls: Blackheart Burlesque.” Featuring a series of scandalous dance routines infused with pop culture references, the burlesque is an eclectic mix of half-naked women and Stormtroopers.

    “It’s a nerdy fantasy come true,” said Holiday, who serves as the host of the burlesque. Holiday was an audience member of the touring burlesque show just over a year ago, and shortly after, she flew to Los Angeles on a whim to audition for the SuicideGirls.

    Doubting her chances because of her curvy frame and outspoken personality, Holiday said she was shocked when she beat out hundreds of girls to join the tour in Australia and Canada. Holiday and the rest of the SuicideGirls have been touring the Southwest within the last couple of weeks and will be performing live at the Rialto Theatre tonight.

    The burlesque includes a special Harry Potter-themed solo routine where Holiday impersonates Hermione Granger with books, wand and schoolgirl skirt in tow. As a fan of J.K. Rowling’s books, Holiday said she wanted to incorporate lines and music from the film adaptations.

    But being a burlesque show, her routine also includes some elements of sadomasochism, such as when she blindfolds herself with a Gryffindor tie.

    “I love the art of burlesque,” Holiday said, “so I’m not thinking about taking my clothes off.”

    The SuicideGirls was founded in 2001 by Selena Mooney, who now goes by the nickname Missy Suicide. Not finding much satisfaction working in the corporate world of LA after college, Mooney moved to Portland, Ore., and began photographing pinup portraits of her friends. Mooney partnered with Sean Suhl to create an online portal where these pinup models could share their thoughts and experiences with the world.

    “The Internet was not as ubiquitous as it is now,” Mooney said. “It was still an adventurous time.”

    A collective hub for subscribers to chat with the SuicideGirls about various topics such as Canadian politics and vegan cooking, Mooney’s website is an inviting community for passionate bloggers, Mooney said.

    The SuicideGirls now receives up to 25,000 applications a year from women hoping to build profiles of sexy photos and blog posts on the SuicideGirls website. The revealing photos of Mooney’s models may be seen as pornographic to some, but Mooney said she finds nothing dirty about her photographs.

    “The nude female body is the most celebrated art form in history,” Mooney said.

    Around the mid-2000s, Mooney developed the first touring burlesque show of the SuicideGirls, which would be the opening act for artists such as Courtney Love and Guns N’ Roses. Mooney put the show on hold in 2007 to focus on developing a book and TV pilot.

    A few years later, she teamed up with choreographer Manwe Sauls-Addison, who is known for his work with Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, to produce a new show full of lingerie and pop culture.

    “We’ve really worked out the kinks,” Mooney said, “and it’s really become an entertaining 90 minutes.”

    “Star Wars,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Batman” are just some of the movies parodied in this risqué burlesque show. The SuicideGirls will perform for tonight only at the Rialto before continuing their tour into Las Vegas, Nev.

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    Follow Kevin C. Reagan on Twitter.

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