I never want to leave Spiegelworld… oh “Absinthe”
Have you ever been to the circus? I mean, back when you were little and could see past the dirty tired animals and the worn out grins on the clowns’ faces. I went. Many years ago. My dad bought me an enormous lollipop which I shared with my sister and which we kept going for almost a week until we woke up to find the treasure covered in ants. I loved going to the circus. I loved the feeling of awe at the heart-stopping tricks of aerial acrobats, and the courage of lion-tamers, and joy at the tricks clowns played on each other, the orderly chaos of it all.
That was when I was a little girl. Well, I finally got to experience all these feelings, and more, all over again in Spiegelworld . Absinthe, this “variety show on acid”, a burlesque and a circus, a surreal trip into a whole other dimension appealed to my adult sensibilities the way the circus charmed me when I was a child.
Beelzy and I rushed to Pier 17, arriving a few minutes before 9:30 just in time to realize the tickets we bought were actually for next week. The ticket clerk straightened everything out for us and we kept on rushing to the lights and sounds of what seemed to be a carnival with a circus tent or two in the center of it all.
The view of Brooklyn Bridge was stunning, as was the enormous line of people waiting to get into the performance tent. We milled about, frustration and excitement mounting while people around us bought drinks at the outdoor bar and milled about. When we were finally let in, I was disappointed to find that my $79 bought a tiny foldout seat, one of dozens arranged tightly around a tiny stage. As people kept pouring in and searching fruitlessly for seats I realized that it’s possible that some had to find standing room. I sat there, feeling a bit gruff, but checking out this mini-circus tent with a stage no bigger than a large round dinner table with a piano on the side and giddy lights strung all around.
Whatever faults I was finding no longer mattered 10 minutes or so into the act. A woman in a tuxedo came out on stage singing and stealing drinks all around and then introduced the first gorgeous half-naked man we were to see twist and turn above us held up by two strips of cloth. I badly want to tell you about the entire show, but I realize that spoilers are a disservice to those of you who plan to catch the show before it leaves New York. I’ll give you the highlights as a compromise.
The ringmaster and his mail-order bride take the stage: “He is gay” “Gay, yes, because I am a very happy man, and happily married!” “He only likes me when I dress like this, because I look like a drag queen.” “Oh shut the fuck up, honey.”
They go on in this fashion through the show, obviously, they are also the clowns, and they are HILARIOUS. They warn everyone that this is a very sexy show, and then do a great trick with bananas. They harass audience members; so if you are in the front row, prepare to participate if only by getting yourself licked.
An act that stuck out for me involved a large balloon. I… can’t really explain the attraction. Yes, it was a strange striptease act; yes, partial (?) nudity was involved… but… how… why? You have to see it for yourself.
The careful music selection brought my arousal to even greater heights; people OOHed and AAHed all around me. The Sergeis took off their shirts and to a mix of electronica and jazz did the oddest stands using each other’s body parts as hand holds. A healthy portion of the show involved acrobatics. I found myself holding my breath while my heart beat like mad. My mouth was open more often then not with my eyes trying to swallow each detail of each act.
There were no safety nets, except for the angelic aerial acrobats who got a mat placed underneath as they plunged to the floor headfirst just to catch each other in the last possible moment in their airborne romance. There were, in fact, barely any clothes. Lingerie, leather, and sparkles there were plenty of, however. Not really a kid-friendly show as you will be reminded.
During the intermission it occurred to me why “Absinthe” was getting such a huge emotional response from me. A while ago I read Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf, and in that novel there is a club where the main hero meets his muse and the sculptor of his soul. The club is raunchy, and surreal. It is possibly magical as it is not always easy to find and the doorman, or maybe owner, or just another customer seems to be a demon of sorts. “Absinthe” awoke in me the feeling I had while reading that book, that my very mindset was changing as I was brought over into a place where philosophy and sex mingled to please and torture.
Several more acts followed, a contortionists, a very drunk lady in red and a possibly more peculiar striptease than before. The people on stage were beautiful and obviously knew their bodies like I couldn’t even imagine knowing anything. I finally understood why people watched the Olympics as the laws of physics were defied before my very eyes, mere feet away, with smiles and winks that would have made the feats seem effortless if not for the taught muscles and the straining veins.
We unfortunately had to leave right after the show, but if we had time we would have checked out “Gazillionaire’s”, an improv show featuring an abominable host and his equally awful guests with live music and dancing. It broke our hearts a little to have to leave right away because more than anything we wanted to stay in this world created for us by “Absinthe”.
The performance was flawless, as were the performers themselves. We walked home secretly wondering how it would feel to have sex with pretty much all of them.
Tip: use Amex to buy tickets and then you get to be in the priority line and so within the first 100 or so people bumrushing the seats.
Hurry: The last show is on November 2nd.