Lyrics and dance heighten variety
Giant Puppet Theatre members (L-R) Hopkins Poon, Najee Amaranth, and Nam Vo engage the crowd with philosophical lyrics throughout their set at Rooster’s Roadhouse in Alameda on Friday. Christian Urrutia / The Advocate
Genre-bending conscientious rap and ludicrous dance parodies entertained audience members and bar patrons for a night as burlesque and musical variety were showcased at Rooster's Roadhouse in Alameda on Friday.
Diabla Productions hosted the evening performance appropriately titled "Celebrities and Idols," which featured Giant Puppet Theatre as the musical act.
Beginning at 8 p.m., the reasonable door entry fee of $8 brought visitors to the bar with independent burlesque dancers from around the Bay Area pretending to be famous characters doing a satirical striptease.
Diabla Productions founder Molly Gazay said the company was originally a film business and that both she and her sister started a web series under the name.
The company then evolved by presenting live music and incorporating burlesque shortly after.
"We wanted a sexy and empowering theme in our burlesque shows and since (then) we have performed a dozen shows combining a variety format with burlesque (dance moves) and with performance line-up," she said.
Cross-dresser Patina DeCopper was the MC who performed a sax solo before the dancing began and created a comedic atmosphere with every introduction.
There were five dancers with pseudonyms like Pearle Meadows and Suzil Von Schtupt who took the stage that night. Candy Pie and the burlesque teaser lesson started off the night featuring eight beginners learning burlesque moves slowly engaging the audience. The lesson taught patrons how to thrust and sway their bodies.
Fraggles Rocks performed a sultry Cleopatra dance, while Andi Stardust acted as David Bowie, bringing his mannerisms to life.
Candy Pie performed and danced as Marilyn Monroe by reenacting her signature moves while singing "I Wanna Be Loved By You, a song performed by the real Monroe in the 1959 movie "Some Like It Hot."
Every burlesque dance had some sort of a similar redundancy in its movement, but the characters were well represented and lively.
Giant Puppet Theatre members Nam Vo, Najee Amaranth, Hopkins Poon wore similar outfits and infused thought-provoking hip-hop with psychedelic attributes while Hopkins played acoustic guitar
Vo welcomed the crowd by introducing Giant Puppet Theatre and read a poem describing many of the themes presented in the band's songs.
Giant Puppet Theater performed the song "The Cake is a Lie," which is based on the metaphor: the reward ultimately obtained from hard work is disappointing. The song is about people who live in a world full of ambition and struggle against each other for power and money and how people clamber over one another for higher positions and more pay.
Various solos done by Amaranth were meant to encourage crowd participation, but were met with a less responsive reaction. The music production overall sounded the same, but there were slight differences in specific samples used.
The melodic flow and low-key synths on the keyboard emphasized the experimental sound and highlighted the concepts.
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