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Wildside Theatre Festival: Neon Nightz: Sex and Salvation in '90s Montreal; Jan. 14-16

Posted by Amie / January 14, 2011

neon nightz"I'm going to have to buy me a pole" -the 60-year old woman sitting behind me.

Neon Nightz is playing for 3 more "crisp-bottomed" nights at the Wildside Theatre Festival and there's no better pole dancing strip show in all of Montreal to see this weekend.

Kitty Neptune should get technical merit points for the gymnastics she did on her two poles. 9.5/10 because, damn, that's hard. -0.5 because I could hear the squeak of skin on the pole when she slid down. Upside-down splits, holding her legs around the pole, climbing it in heels...Cirque du Soleil performers don't climb those poles in heels...Zumanity and "the sensual side of Cirque" could take a lesson. Where Cirque du Soleil is all flash and dazzle, Neon Nightz is raw, real, sexual Montreal. Strip numbers break up the stories of Montreal in the '90s as told through the mostly English (though it's much more hilarious if you can follow French or have a Quebecois translating next to you) words of former stripper Sasha Van Bon Bon, the woman to be blamed for the influx of Concordia Women's Studies majors into the '90s strip scene and the subsequent popularity of lap-dancing.

"I know everyone's going to go home and fuck after that, eh?"
-Sasha Van Bon Bon, after a pole/strip duet with Kitty Neptune

Sasha has been writing sex columns for over a decade, but it's her experience in men's and women's strip clubs (women plus "les hommes selects") that makes this show. Even if you don't appreciate Kitty's long legs, the most ridiculous thing was watching the crowd of people who went. There's tons of nudity, sexuality, and really straight-up dialogue about clients, drugs, and all kinds of sex. Sasha is pretty straight up about sleeping with feature dancers, not sleeping with certain clients, sleeping with certain clients, stripper rules, and decorum. It's pure entertainment that makes the respectable 40-60 year old, pre-theatre wine-sipping crowd feel like they're young and hip and seeing something a bit risqué. The 20-30 year old crowd just feels like they're getting a really good deal on a strip show. ($10.50 if you're under 30 or over 65, and $13 if you're somewhere in the middle). Actually, there weren't a lot of younger people, and they weren't the type there to take advantage of the low ticket price.

Maybe it's not fair to say the older crowd is a bit more prudish, though, because there are lots of 20-30 year olds who might feel embarrassed to watch this show. When Sasha and Kitty are dancing naked, no matter what position or who's touching who where, it feels like a performance, but when Sasha's naked and just talking she wraps herself in a blanket because nothing is added by just standing there naked. If she's just talking, the nudity is distracting from the points she's trying to make, but the blanket draws your attention to the fact that it's an awkward situation (despite the fact that she was just rolling around on this blanket with Kitty and that seemed more natural). She's a performer who's meant for the stage, but where as in a strip club you pay to bring the stripper to your table for a private dance or conversation, breaking that barrier in the play can be the most uncomfortable act. Well, emotionally anyway. What Kitty did on the poles and onstage aren't the most comfortable positions to hold.

If the 1998 Montreal ice storm was the weather gods' way of telling Montreal to "calme ton sexe!" as Sasha theorizes, then Neon Nightz is her (and anyone else who thinks bodies are meant to be enjoyed) way of telling the weather gods to "va chier avec tes mots."

If I haven't ruined the show for you already, and you want it ruined, here's the youtube video for the show. It's actually a lot of the show, though, so if you're interested in seeing the show, don't watch it all.

Neon Nightz: Sex and Salvation in '90's Montreal
Where: Centaur Theatre, 453 St. Francois-Xavier
When: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night, Jan. 14-16, 8:30pm
How Much: $10.50 for students, people under 30, and seniors over 65; $13 for adults
For tickets call 514-288-3161 or order online



Andres / January 15, 2011 at 09:32 am
Went to see this last night and was thoroughly impressed. I didn't know what to expect. It was basically a monologue split up by a strip show with live music. You can tell Sasha is a writer: her stories are detailed and entertaining. Some of them are sad. The way she was able to switch from hilarious to touching like only someone who has experienced this side of Montreal was fascinating. Kitty Neptune's stripper acts were both impressively physical and hilarious. Her costume changes made me think there were multiple dancers at first. Also, big props to musician Countess Christsmasher, who sort of looks like a groovy pagan witch. Her voice was incredible - her rock accompaniment to the show was a nice extra touch.
I was shocked that Centaur allowed such a show in the first place considering there is complete nudity. As opposed to the night Amie went, there was a decent showing of 20-30 year-olds at last night's show. So, if you're interested in hearing about the stripper experience from someone who did it, and don't mind basically seeing a stripping show (albeit more like a comedic stripper show), I recommend this.
Amie / January 15, 2011 at 10:43 am
Thanks for the extra info, Andres. You're right about Sasha being a good writer. The play got workshopped in Toronto at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, but you can tell she's hilarious all on her own. I second the praise for Countess Christmasher. Hope more young people get out for a good laugh and a good strip show.
bosstr2012web / July 18, 2012 at 11:22 am
I loved the show! It was very well done
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