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November 30, 1984 - Image 6

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-11-30

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4

ARTS
Friday, November 30, 1984

The Michigan Daily
World Series

By Dennis Harvey
OK, OK, so R.E.M. sang an a capella
version of "Moon River." Yeah, and
NIo Pogorelich was possibly the first
concert pianist since Franz Lizst to
have 'em nearly swooning in the aisles.
And, oh yeah, The Flying Karamazov
Brothers managed to juggle Slinkees
and existentialist thought as well as the
standard pins and rubber balls. Blah,
biah, blah. And let's not forget the im-
pressive if not exactly displeasing
disappearing act pulled by Rickie Lee
Jones.
Yup, it's been a season of socio-
cultural plenty, a lot of it plenty weird,
here in Ann Arbor. But unquestionably
the novelty entertainment event of the
semester to day was the "World Series
of Male Dancing" -at the Michigan
Theatre on Tuesday.
IF IT offered nothing else, the
evening would be unforgettable as a
sort of benign post-liberation women's
revenge fantasy come true-at last! A

legitimate forum for women to act like
truck drivers! To ogle the opposite sex
mercilessly! And loudly! Grabbing at
those jockstraps as if they were... well,
bikinis! The tone was set even before
the spectacle started, when "Gino, your
host for the evening" was merely
testing the microphone with "1, 2" and
someone in the audience burst out with
"Wow, he can count to two!" At
last-men reduced to SEX TOYS.
To be sure, there have been some
pretty dumb male bunnies in recent
history like the whole Tom Selleck-and-
his-clones cycle, but even those guys at
least had the pretense of authority (i.e.
brute force) and intelligence (well,
maybe you had to accept that on faith).
At the Michigan Theatre, women
were finally offered the opposite sex by
those Playboy standards men have had
since the dawn of, er, man-i.e. on a
platter, with no apple between the teeth
but with lips still parted in that ooohh-
ahwannit fashion previously reserved
for bombshells with significantly dif-
ferent equipment below.

itrippers:
YES! AT LAST, women, you got it:
MEN AS A PURELY DECORATIVE
ART.
(Whether the art was functional or
not, despite comments by Gino like
"He's got a tiger in his pocket and it's
ready to roar," remained questionable
since the lunches these guys were
packin'-the stuffed improbability of
which occasionally force the front rows
to collapse in laughter-remained inert
throughout. I suppose stage realism
can only go so far. Still, a female friend
next to me said "I just love to watch
'en flap up and down.")
And the audience (I was one of ap-
proximately five variously bewildered
and/or nervous male viewers) of
secretaries, students, bowling teams
etc., who apparently took the evening
as an excuse to trot back out to their
most alarming circa-'76 disco garb
(appropriately, since most of the music
played was of the same era), reacted
with just the right mixture of ballpark
and burlesque joint behavior. When
"The International Lover" had shed the
red-and-white fringe-encrusted cowboy
outfit with the spangles all over it, AND
the initial briefs AND the first
jockstrap, to reveal the final ingenious
small one (it had a little face on it), the
response bordered on near hysteria as
the darn cord holding the wee thing
together broke and the poor guy had to
rush off stage to preserve that last law-
abiding semblance of decency.
OUR SLIMY HOST, Gino, courted
further squeals by constantly getting
that golldurn microphone cord stuck
between his legs, causing him to have to

score
pull the cord back and forth in a man-
ner that might have seemed gratuitous
if he hadn't been offsetting tension with
earnest pleas like "We're a long way
from home, so if anybody has a spare
cot or bed... " Everybody felt so sorry
for him that.. well, the Daily is not
going to pander to the interests of the
prurient, so we'll have to omit certain
relevent audience comments. Gino was
always the quick wit, introducing his
"contestants" with "Sticks and stones
may break my bones, but whips and
chains excite me," as well as "How
many of you ladies would like to set
Baby Blue's flame on fire? (Note: yes,
readers in a theatrical highlight,
this particular gent set the crotch of
his G-string on fire) How many of you
would like to BLOW IT OUT?" If The
Dating Game was ever given a second
lease on life on the Playboy channel,
Gino would make a swell host. (He'd
also be a good used car salesman.)
The individual talents on view
displayed some consistencies par-
ticular to the '80's fitness-as-sex sen-
sibility and the increasing male and
female obsession with male form.
Big pecs man! In fact most of these
guys, in the pneumatic traditions of
such cultural icons as Mamie Van
Doren, Jayne Mansfield and Jane
Russell, could have speared fish by
merely leaning over a stream. Big
haunches too, the kind one associated
more naturally with the Kentucky Derby
than with human life as we generally
know it. A couple of them made any ex-
cuse to bend over, back to the audience
(retrieving lost clothes was good for
that), reflecting on the fact that ass
culture now has camps of equal
fanaticism on both sides of the gender
line. The bottom-shake if the male
equivalent of the chest shimmy.
OTHER intricately choreographed
bits included the groin-thrust'n'flap
(taken to its extreme when a later dan-
cer got down on his stomach and vir-
tually violated the floor), the ever-
popular (and milked to death) grab-
inviting saunter down the aisles bet-
ween screaming hordes; and a lot of
generic discotheque running-back-and
forth, in a manner vaguely related to
dance between individual clothing-
piece removals.
All of the men wore at least three
pairs of decreasingly expansive under-
wear for the obvious thrills that taking
them off caused. Rubbing discarded
pieces of clothing between thighs-you
knowwhat I mean, don't pretend-was
also boffo as per crowd stimulus; a
definite loser attribute was wearing
shoes that caused one to hop about
awkwardly on one foot removing them.
The "dancing" itself often belonged
in those derogatory quotes. Among the
three performance teams who "com-
peted" in this "World Series"-
Toronto's American Gigolos, Detroit's
own Foxy Frenchmen, and the Ladies'
Choice from Fort Lauderdale,
Florida-only the latter group seemed

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6

SUSPENSION THEATRE
PRESENTS
"WHEN WE DEAD
AWAKEN"
By HENRIK IBSEN
FRIDAY - SUNDAY
NOVEMBER 30 - December 2

aly OP noo y51 ,U ,,r.,A
One of the male strippers from the "World Series of Male Dancing" at the
Michigan Theatre Tuesday shows how he pulls his own strings.

:6

THURSDAY
DECEMBER 6 -

- SUNDAY
DECEMBER 9

AT THE
ANN ARBOR CIVIC
THEATRE BUILDING
338 S. MAIN
For info. cal 475-1197

with any consistency to have real dance
training, though Toronto's "The
Warrior" did do a mean snake slither
along the stage floor.
THE SPECTACLE was, instead,
mostly in the frequently hilarious
variety of torsos, costumes and gim-
mickry. The torsos, despite similarities
already mentioned, ran the gamut from
near-pudge to boy-athlete to idealized
football player to middleweight
wrestler-type to modified Steve
Reeves/Tomba of the Jungle. Hairiness
was variable through all categories.
The facial looks generally tumbled into
plain old pushing-30 Marlboro
Manliness, complete with big
moustaches, though a minority of G.Q.
boys were thrown in for the benefit of
more delicate palates. The costumes
were on the whole a good deal more ac-
tive (fringe flying, et al) than the hair-
does, which were blowdried and cemen-
ted into place as if it was still 1975.
The costumes were swell on their own
though. "Sergio," garbed in Bruce Lee
rags, did some OK karate moves but
blew the whole deal by having the lights
turned off so he could wave a couple of
flashlights in the dark. Hoo boy. The
leopard-skin tights under his kung fu
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robe were impressive, however. Con-
tinuing the Fredericks of Hollywood
theme was Ft. Lauderdale's "Frenchy,
the Fox," whose climactic jock strap
actually had blinking lights (in Christ,
mas red and green, yet). On the level of
greater devestation was the same
team's gent "Pure Pleasure," who
wore some bizarro kind of Conan the
Barbarian outfit with bear furs and
dancing to no less than "You Really Got
Me" by those kings of metal posing
Van Halen. (To complete the image, he,
had a pair of on-stage smokebombs.
Sorry, no laser show.)
Unquestionably the wildest of all was
"The Satisfier," introduced by Sergio
with "Are you ladies ready to take off
into outer space? Are you ready to go to
the Planet of Love?" This guy came out
wearing a grown-up's version of your
average Sears catalogue silver space
suit, complete with ray gun and lacking-
in-credibility very large space projec-
tile in his pants. (The image suffered a
bit from his dancing to that disco chest-
nut, "Shame"-why not the disco
TWILIGHT ZONE theme?") God, this
must be somebody's fantasy.
The evening, staggering though it
was, dragged on and on, with buy-up-
those-drinks-ladies intermissions at
every opportunity. Despite the promise
of group choreographed routines by
each team (not much of a lure, since the
opening en masse number had featured
most of the 18 guys looking at their feet
through some steps you'd learn in Jazz
101) and the awarding of "Best Male
Dancing Team" and "Best Individual
Dancer," at quarter to midnight the
Daily and its entourage had had
enough.
A pause in the lobby, however,
revealed that for the audience the night
had been a smash. "It's been a long
time since I've seen some male flesh...
Be still, my beating heart" sighed one
women as the Daily discreetly
eavesdropped. Less reflectively,
another said, "I don't like their outfits
too much, but I love their bods."
Men, beware: a new age may have
arrived. The next time you catch your-
self saying "God, getting comments
like that makes me feel so cheap,"
don't say I didn't warn you.

I

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