I traveled to Jackson, Mississippi to see the Magick City Sirens for their first show ever in that lovely Southern state. I wasn't sure Jackson knew what was in store for them, but E C Puffin Entertainment (the promoter for the show) had done their job in getting the word out about the Sirens. E C Puffin's Haunted Burlesque packed the Auditorium at historic Duling Hall, and some eager fans were there ahead of the Sirens' arrival. Jackson was breathless with antici... pation.
I spent some time backstage with the lovely ladies before the show. That's often my favorite time with them, watching the process of getting ready for their performances. They always look so stupendously spectacular when they hit the crowd, but there's a hell of a lot of work that goes into that. Jezabelle von Jane, troupe founder and Big Mama, is exacting of her girls. A lot of time is spent having them change and perfect their make-up and costumes before they ever step out of the dressing room. She is tough and meticulous, which is part of the reason she's been named Burlesque Performer of the Year three times. She's brash and bawdy and at times intimidating—and unbelievably caring and sweet. (Really, I want to be her when I grow up.)
I took my front and center seat moments before the house lights dimmed. The troupe's newest Siren and Barker Extraordinaire, Frankie Bluu, did an amazing job of riling that already excited crowd into frenzy. Jackson was ready for the Magick City Sirens.
The set list included 18 vignettes, 6 of which I'd seen before. The first piece, "The Mummy", featured Ariiel Blaze, an adorable redhead who can woo a crowd with her cuteness and then sneak her singing and dancing on them until they fall in love. Ariiel sashayed onto the stage from a sarcophagus, wearing an Egyptian burial mask and wrapped in linen strips. She slowly peeled down to do a belly dance that was just fantastic. Ariiel blew the crowd away again later with Journey's "Lovin', "Touchin', Squeezin'", plus she joined Tawny Rex and Abigail Lee for a group performance of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep". Blaze is featured prominently in several of the vignettes and with good reason: she's energetic and charismatic and a damn fine performer.
Tawny Rex, the delicious African American Siren, joined Big Mama for a new set, done to "Secret" by the Pierces. Tawny poisons Jezabelle to keep her from telling her secret, then prances around the stage coyly until her rival gets her own revenge. Later in the show, Tawny Rex did a her own danse sauvage in tribute to Josephine Baker, the black actress, singer, and dancer best known for her erotic stage shows in early 20th century Paris. Tawny's banana dance set to "Don't Touch My Tomatoes" was funny, though I almost got nailed by a plastic apple at one point. She came back moments later to belt out Duffy's "Mercy". Tawny Rex has got some pipes! Her best performance of the evening may have been her shadow show, done to "Mad House" by Rihanna. A screen and strobe lights and Tawny's curvy shadow opened the second act of the evening, and it was great.
The bombshell blonde of the troupe, Abigail Lee, started her evening with "My Heart Belongs to Daddy".
I've seen her do this number multiple times before, but it's always fun. She ends the piece in an inflatable pool and pasties, giving herself a naughty little sponge bath. Her seductive eyes and innocent smile work well in this number, though they may have been better when she performed a sexy chair dance to Jace Everett's "Bad Things", the theme from HBO's True Blood. There wasn't a man—and not a few women—in that crowd who would let Abigail Lee do any bad thing she wanted, as long as she was wearing nothing but those Daisy Dukes and pasties. It was hot. Seriously. Abigail was also in the vocal spotlight for a beautiful rendition of the torch song classic "At Last".
Tawny and Abigail joined Jinx the Graceful for a sexy, girl-in-uniform (think sequined USO) dance to "Candyman". They topped it off with a trip around the crowd, offering Blow Pops for a buck. (Yes, I got mine, straight from Jinx's mouth!) Tatiana Heire showed off her own curvaceous shimmies to "Dance: Ten, Looks: Three", the tits and ass song. A minor costume malfunction kept the crowd from seeing much of either, but it's always fun to see Tat doing her fearless thing on stage.
Jezabelle von Jane, however, was undeniably the highlight of the evening. First of all, she's a stunner. She's a total Glamazon. When she comes out to work the crowd with Frankie Bluu, there's absolutely no ignoring the woman. She's in-your-face ballsy and loud, and it works well as part of the show. There are hints of that even when she's on stage, like during the all-Sirens-on-deck "Be Italian"—always a fan favorite.
This night, however, she did her first solo show in a while, a black wax candle vignette that opened with a fan dance. Jezabelle is simply mesmerizing on stage. That dance, in which she pours hot black wax on across her scantily-clad body, is sexy and scintillating, but I could see a subtle vulnerability in Jezabelle during the piece. The song ended, but there were still candles burning, and I could've watched her do that all night.
I really didn't think they could top all that I had seen, but they surprised me with their version of "Thriller". It was a Halloween show, after all, so I knew we'd probably see some sexy zombies or something before the night was up. No one in the audience was prepared for what we saw, though.
It started with Jezabelle von Jane in black leather pants and a red leather corset, à la Michael Jackson from the 1983 video. The rest of the Sirens were in their own sexy mummy wear, dancing around the enthralling Big Mama. The set was energetic, as expected, but the crowd was eerily quiet—stunned by the unexpected spectacle. It really was like nothing I'd ever seen with this song, and the crowd roared to thunderous applause when Jezabelle shifted into an iconic red-and-black leather jacket, dancing her gorgeous heart out.
They ended the show with the bawdiest of their numbers, all Sirens on stage, to "Shave 'em Dry". Words simply cannot express how awesome this number is. No one's naked, no one's peeling, but it is balls-to-the-walls fun and lewd and simply fantastic. It was a great way to close the show, and the Magick City Sirens know it.
I've seen the Sirens many times, and I will continue to do so. They try to incorporate new songs into every show, letting each performer shine in her own glittery light. Even when it's a piece I've seen before, I'm always blown away by how much these ladies give to their performances, whether together or by themselves. They are obviously a troupe; they are an intimate sisterhood of lascivious fun who will support each other on stage and off, no matter what—and that translates beautifully for each and every show.
Brava, Sirens! Brava!