Joss Whedon is nerd royalty. Creator of some of the most innovative characters and storylines for both T.V. and film, he kept me and millions of fans watching and waiting for his next brilliant idea. More recently, he blew my mind with The Cabin in the Woods, which was such a unique and innovative take on the typical formula of gorgeous youths, a nerd and an isolated cabin retreat storyline. For me, the most notable and iconic were Buffy the Vampire Slayer (both the movie and T.V. series), Angel, and Dollhouse. I know there are rabid Firefly fans out there, but I must admit, I never followed it, and after this past Sunday’s variety show, now feel the need to catch up with that series.
Some of his fans right here in Toronto decided to pay tribute to him at the Mod Club by putting on NERDGASM!!!-All Things Whedon Variety Show dedicated to some of his most popular works. It showcased burlesque, musical, acrobatic and aerial acts, as well as some nerve frying fire performances that I will not forget anytime soon! I must add, that out of respect to the performers and because we were asked not to use flash, I only got a couple of pictures, but I will include links so you can read about some these talented and brave individuals.
The show’s host, Oscar Surla, was dressed as Lorne, the demon club owner and team member on Angel. He kept the audience engaged and the show flowing with his hilarious commentary. The first act was Red Herring as Saffron from Firefly. Her tough and tantalizing burlesque act showcased her gorgeous curves and she took no prisoners when she added a bit of knife throwing prowess.
Next up was fire dancer Erica Furness as Druscilla the vampire from Angel. I’ve known Erica for quite some time, and was really jazzed to see her perform. She held the audience captive as she swayed over a bed of nails, making some of us wonder if she was really going to lay on it. She did not disappoint, and carefully crawled atop her pointy perch, lit wands of fire, and skimmed the flames over her glowing skin. Definitely not an act to miss!
The musical numbers included songs representing Xander and Anya from Angel and Dr. Horrible sung by Elizabeth Rose Morriss and Vicki Laufer among others, and an emotional reminder of Buffy’s plight after she is brought back to life sung with a powerful and clear voice belonging to Bianca Boom Boom.
More dancing came with Dr. Tease as Jayne Cobb from Firefly. He gave us a unique and hilarious striptease that kept the crowd cheering for more, as well as a dance/fight sequence by Barely Legal Leelando. Both very were very entertaining.
Toning down the mayhem was Heather Labonte’s weird and wonderful belly dance. The crowd was literally mesmerized as she subtly shimmered and shook her hips in a beautiful costume of red.
I must pause here to make a statement. Even though I can watch a stack of horror movies and sleep like a baby right after, acrobatic acts give me tons of anxiety. I am constantly wondering if something will happen to them, and the better they are, the more freaked out I get. These next acts really, really freaked me out.
The show’s producer, Miranda Tempest and her aerial partner Faeya Tal, representing Fred and Illyria from Angel, did the most incredible aerial hoop act I have seen, or actually sat through with my eyes open. Their flexibility, grace and strength took everyone’s breath away.
Scarlett Black playing Willow from Buffy, gave me a heart attack. She defied danger and logic (at least mine!) with her amazing hoola hoops of fire. Deftly swung around her in a fiery blur, those hoops never had a chance!
Two of the creepiest acts performed one after the other. J.D. Sparks chilled everyone’s blood as one of the Gentlemen from one of my favourite Buffy episodes “Hush”. He glided his way through intricate rope acrobatics with a gruesome grin plastered on his face. It really looked like he was coming for us. After him was Brie Poisonne as the toothy ballerina from The Cabin in the Woods. it was a creepy fan dance/ballet burlesque that hid a nightmare under her tutu.
“Lorne” ended the night with a sing along of Firefly‘s theme song “Ballad of Serenity”, and the crowd cheered for more! My friend and I were blown away at how amazing all the acts were, and I really liked the intimate space at the Mod Club. It was definitely a great way to spend a snowy, Sunday night, and I can’t wait for the next event put on by IlliminAir Entertainment’s founder Miranda Tempest and her crew of talented colleagues.