Actually Huizenga's XXX-Mas Pageant at Cheetahs Hollywood with Performances by Sir Ryan Heffington, Softness and Murphy Maxwell
Sir Ryan Heffington -- MOCA performer, TED talker, and choreographer of Ke$ha's "Take It Off" video -- participated in an evening of dance, music and performance at Cheetahs Hollywood, a strip joint known for sassy tattooed dancers and wild Super Bowl Sunday buffets.
Like several strip joints across L.A., Cheetahs is hosting musicians and performing artists to bring in new crowds. Few programs celebrate the concept to such gloriously pleasurable affect as this past Saturday's lineup: the XXX-Mas Pageant boasted a live musical performance by the inventively arousing Actually Huizenga, leather clad crooner Murphy Maxwell, sweater dress grinders Softness (members of Weave!), and a sequined dance finale featuring high kicks and simulated stripping by Sir Heffington & Co.
Kelly McKay Actually Huizenga and the Crowd at Cheetah's
Regulars of a couple of L.A.'s much-missed galleries (such as Show Cave and Tiny Creatures) surprised Cheetahs patrons, who seemed willing to put up with skinny dudes in Christmas sweaters and unusually lengthy waits at the bar as long as the performing artists wore fur-lined underwear and scissored the club's employees.
Enter Actually Huizenga. Ashley "Actually" Huizenga of such notorious musical acts as Hard Place and Wet Look, has constructed a wildly entertaining persona combining one part third wave feminist self-objectification, a decade of classical piano lessons, and a voice that can hit notes a bank can't cash (especially these days...). Actually produces and performs a set of super sexy/super self-aware future club hits featuring romantic synth pads, hair band guitar solos, and cheeky lyrics equally suited to academic analysis and unprotected one night stands on fake marble floors in the Valley. My favorite song of the evening was "Hush," which found Actually reverse humping the stripper pole before she jumped up on it and swung herself in a circle, demonstrating a novice but noteworthy dance pole proficiency.
Actually and frequent collaborator Hazel Hill McCarthy III's dj duo Crusty Grindage also contributed a set of nasty jams between bands. According to Hill McCarthy III, the duo has been "clearing dance floors since 2005".
Openers Softness started their set lounging on a bed onstage with Santa Claus, who later enjoyed an enthusiastic albeit mimed b.j. from the most badass of the Cheetahs dancers. Speaking of Softness, it must be said that -- despite Actually's Sexy Santa's Helper get-up -- the best costume of the night was definitely that worn by Alex Black. Black gracefully strutted about the stage in a mid-calf sweater dress while Softness cohort Ivory Lee Carlson bounced along the runway's perimeter, accepting tips in her tank top. Softness performs a distinct brand of bedroom fuck pop that left us wanting more, especially after their rowdy rendition of "Last Christmas."
Softness was immediately followed by the biggest surprise of the night -- Murphy Maxwell's bandana'd long hair and leather jacket belie a syrupy voice that beckoned many a dancer to his feet. Maxwell blushed until Actually stormed the stage and the two bust into a duet complete with synchronized stage humping.
Sir Heffington closed the evening with a brief but spectacular presentation of his H.O.U.S.E Dance piece. Sequins, high kicks, and corporeal homage to the working ladies of the house -- Heffington's style is a collision of high and low brow that results audiences both thinking and turned on.
Actually Huizenga's XXX-Mas Pageant was recession era post-modernism for those who wish to celebrate sex and pleasure while maintaining a sardonically spicy discourse. She takes over Cheetahs stage once a month, so check out her blog if you'd like to join in next time.
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