Pretty Little Things Peep Show
by Rachael Marie
The traveling burlesque act fittingly known as “The Pretty Things Peep Show” performed to a packed house on Wednesday at Akron’s Musica. The show is produced by Go-Go Amy of Pretty Little Things Productions and features a night full of bawdy humor and amazing performances for the cost of $12 bucks admission. All in all, it was a pretty damn entertaining show. Walking through the doors of Musica, I felt as if I’d been time-warped back to the 1930’s or 40’s. Audience members were dressed in their best rockabilly attire and waited patiently for the show to begin like kids on Christmas waiting to open gifts. The throng of burlesque enthusiasts cheered as the show’s host, Freakshow Foley, stepped onstage to introduce Go-Go Amy and Bettina May, two pin up sirens that looked like living versions of Alberto Vargas illustrations.
After sampling the crowd with some traditional vintage dances of yore, the girls exited and opened up the stage to Freakshow Foley again. Our host set the pace of the night by hammering a pipe in his nasal cavity with his own microphone. He then proceeded to pull the several-inches long pipe from his frontal lobe and lick it clean like a chicken bone on all-you-can-eat wing night. Before the night was over, Foley would also awe the crowd with his sword-swallowing routine, too.
As the crowd collectively shuddered, Go-Go Amy reentered the stage to steal the spotlight. This burlesque beauty queen captivated her patrons by offering a classic retro peep show—only with flaming nipple tassels, tattoos, and some whip work. Go-Go Amy is somewhat of a pin up celebrity, appearing at OzzFest, Warped Tour, and even starring in a Red Hot Chili Peppers video. Amy’s performance ranges from fire play to the Chinese Suicide Box.
Next on stage was Bettina May, the slightly less risqué pin up girl who graced the audience with traditional peep show routines. The show’s Bonnie Voyage sang her soulful rendition of “To Make You Feel My Love,” and Etta James’ “At Last,” that added a classy touch to the show.
For me, however, the most interesting act of all was Little Miss Firefly. Standing at only 27 inches tall, this “Midget of Mischief” is certainly the underdog of the show. She is hands-down the smallest person I’ve ever seen in my entire life. She’s tiny. But this doesn’t stop her from dancing on top of broken glass, even performing a split atop the dangerous shards.
She belly flops on the glass, literally throws her body on top of broken bottles and continuously jumps up and down as the glass makes violent contact with her feet. At this point, the crowd emits gasps of horror and morbid excitement, expecting to see blood pouring from this midget’s tiny body at any minute. Remarkably, she exits the stage unscathed as my mouth hangs wide open. Did this just really happen? Did I mention she stripped, too?
I sat down with Little Miss Firefly during a break in her performance. Firefly may have the coolest story ever about how she got started in this vaudeville venture. She grew up in Denver, Colorado, and had a high school history project to complete about the World War II era. Unfulfilled by the status quo of typical history projects, Firefly was determined to find a different approach. “I’ve done all that stupid leprechaun stuff,” she reflects, “such bullshit.”
Firefly researched the era, concentrating on burlesque acts and vaudeville shows. An uncle from Hawaii taught her to fire breathe when she was a child; she’s had the desire to entertain in her blood and began performing at a variety of venues in 2007. When I ask her about the broken glass trick, she is reluctant to give me any information. Apparently, it’s a secret trick. She does tell me that it took her around six years to build up a tolerance to the glass. This is currently her first tour with Peep Show Productions.
The best part of the show was sadly the end of the show, where Go-Go Amy incorporated some audience participation. Go-Go Amy picked three different people, two girls and one very uncomfortable dude. The girls loved it, adopting temporary burlesque monikers as “Sharon Dix,” and, “Gretchen Von Fetchin.” Their male counterpart, “Timmy Tug Job,” stood on stage with a somewhat horrified look on his face but saved himself by giving his girlfriend a lap dance. The volunteers danced and competed to win the title of “Burlesque Queen” while Go-Go Amy offered her sassy and witty commentary.
“Pretty Little Things Peep Show” offered a solid 3 ½ hours of vaudeville entertainment that transported audience members to an era long before the technological age of internet porn. Freakshow Foley said it best: “You won’t find this shit on RedTube.”