By Alithea Howes
If the New York Burlesque scene was a high school, Epic Win would be the Film club; the group of kids who spend their lunch hour watching movies, their class time quoting movies, and their weekends working on their costumes for the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The brainchild of Nerdcore rapper, Schaffer The Darklord and Magician Nelson Lugo, Epic Win Burlesque is a tri-monthly burlesque show dedicated to depicting the sexy side of Nerdom’s most beloved characters.
Their first show, Video Game Vixens, began as a one off performance and became a sold out success. The producers had so much fun doing the show that they founded Epic Win. Since then they’ve honed each show to appeal to specific fandoms such as Batman or Ghostbusters.
Don’t expect a traditional stocking peel or fan dance. The performances at Epic Win are more aligned to a narrative driven, theatrical, interpretation of burlesque. Performances range from sexy to funny to downright creepy. What ties them all together is an obvious and genuine love for the subject matter. The cast, consisting of Magdalena Fox, Bonnie Voyage, Lefty Lucy, Victoria Privates, BB Heart and Miss Mary Cyn, agree to each show’s theme and choose their characters so that each act is a product of their own nerdly obsession. “I went from geeking out on anime to having the opportunity to make one of my favorite characters come alive on stage!” Says BB Heart, of her depiction of Cowboy Beebop’s Faye Valentine “I couldn’t ask for a more wonderfully nerdy opportunity. And it is that obsession and devotion to the nerd culture that we all share that makes this such a unique experience for the audience and cast alike.”
Nelson Lugo and Schaffer the Darklord co-host every show dressing as their own favorite characters and schooling the audience on the history of the fandom and its characters.
“Lugo and I, both burlesque show guest hosts, have been friends for years, but we hadn’t ever co-hosted a show together.” Says Schaffer “We found our natural geeky and bickering dynamic transferred easily to the stage.”
Audiences should expect a packed house that knows their fandom well. Mary Cyn remembers, “One of the best things about the Ghostbusters Show was the entire audience quoting lines from the movie along with the hosts.” It’s this level of devotion in the audience that spurns the cast to excel in their performances. “People love these characters so much.” Says Bonnie Voyage “You can’t fuck them up, or you’re letting a lot of people down.”
This is a cast that is determined not to let anyone down. They spend hours studying their source material and making professional quality costumes. Schaffer the Darklord sites “Attention to detail.” As his favorite thing about the show “The ladies have done some amazing things with costuming, makeup, hair and music that really bring these fictional characters to life in front of an audience.”
It’s also very obvious just how much fun everyone in the show is having. Each cast member, when asked if there was anything they wanted to say about show all responded with a resounding “I Love Epic Win!”
“I love the backstage culture and camaraderie that we’ve created.” Says BB Heart. “Because we are all friends and all work together on these shows, we have become even closer as a cast. We tease each other, we love each other — its like being in a family.” This was never more evident than during the Holy Shit…Batman! show when Schaffer the Darklord, dressed as The Joker, turned the second half of the show into a prank on his batman costumed co-host. Instead of proceeding with the show they had scripted he trapped Lugo on stage, threatening to “kill” the performers if Lugo was unable to answer trivia questions about the characters being portrayed in the upcoming acts. The audience sided with Lugo, calling out answers when they knew them and using their smart phones to look up answers when they didn’t.
“I can’t believe how fun that show was.” Says Miss Mary Cyn. “We couldn’t even watch the show and we still had a blast.”
Epic Win’s next show will be The Great Star Debate: Trek vs. Wars September 10th and 11th at The Tank. Find them at epicwinburlesque.com.