Not for the squeamish! See the photo gallery here.

Thursday night at the DNA Lounge was a sideshow-themed event called “Displayed Labors,” featuring a myriad of performances potentially distressing for the faint of heart. From Australia came special guests world-record winning sword-swallower The Space Cowboy and aerial artist Electric Dollhouse; the suspension was by Chi Kitty Andy, and the beautiful peacock-feather pierced belle (pictured above) is Courtney Crimson; from Bootie Mashup Derby we had Trixxie Carr; other burlesque by Devilla de Dallas and AZANA; live music by Cloud Archive and nes one; and DJs Siren, Random Intent and Sleepyhead with Mimosa. The ambient dancers scattered about were the Lusty Lady girls.

Other performances included half-naked girls burning themselves with showers of sparks from steel plates on their bodies, cast by angle grinders; “What’s in my Pants?” a game that did indeed involve a kitty fetus, as well as a cow tongue and lucky charms; contact juggling by Isaac and Tyler, who later did a bed-of-nails and cinder block breaking routine (also painful, they inform me); a trapeze performance by the ethereal wraith-like Gretchen; and burlesque involving buckets of fake blood, intestines pulled from panties and a real heart from the bra (it made an entertaining “squishsplat” sound when it hit the stage – and Chi Kitty put it in his pocket. Kids these days).

One bit of drama occurred when an audience member pulled two peacock feathers — and attached needles — out of Courtney’s back during her performance. From my vantage point at the back, it was hard to see, but it looked like in turn the perpetrator’s head got smacked into the stage. Then in trying to deal with the girl who pulled the needles out, a security guard got stabbed in the hand twice and the back once (with someone else’s now bloody needles). The DNA Lounge handles it all very professionally; who knows what that girl was thinking. Courtney then took it as inspiration (I suppose) and proceeded to yank out the rest of the feathers (hence all the blood). To quote her backstage, lying bloody and nearly naked on a padded table: “It’s easier than dancing burlesque.”

Congratulations to Mike and Shannon Vau de Vire, for it was their nineteenth (!!!) anniversary. They are two of the most fabulously hard-working and dedicated people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

Working in the San Francisco underground leads one to encounter an array of unusal performances.  I first met Andi when he joined us (that being Vau de Vire Society) at the Exotic Erotic Ball with Peaches last year (they stiffed us a considerable sum of money, those bastards). They then asked me to attend the opening of the Phoenix Grounds (caution: more blood and hooks) gallery, a venue which unfortunately lasted but a week. And to those who wonder (it’s an exceedingly frequently asked question): yes, it hurts. However, the endorphin rush is said to be incredible (I wouldn’t know…), so much so in fact that I’ve seen performers completely out of it because they were so overwhelmed by the feeling.