Mod Carousel founder The Luminous Pariah, aka Seneca Harper, has returned to Juneau once again with his troupe of "boylesque" performers to entertain and enchant his favorite audience — his hometown.
Weekend one of Mod Carousel was a "Best of" blend from performances past, including an homage to Alaska living that features a couple stuffed salmon with a surprise in their bellies. It's vastly preferable to find a pair of sequined heels in our sealife than the typical bits of discarded plastic.
For The Luminous Pariah, it was a way of reconciling his formative years in Juneau with his discovery that he had interests and talents that involved more glitter than fish guts.
His troupe, which includes performers Paris Original and Trojan Original, provides a little something for everyone — and with special guest Inga Ingenue from Seattle, they hit all the marks.
Each performer has a distinctive style. I would characterize Luminous Pariah's style by his use of cheeky humor, props (including a guest from the audience) and exaggerated expressions. Whether wrestling a stuffed salmon, communicating commands to an audience member with furrowed brow and pointed finger or wowing the audience with a lip-synced drag tease, he had the audience roaring with laughter and encouragement (to take off one more article of clothing).
Paris Original embodies grace. He donned toe shoes as a fairy hoping to get what she wanted, trying every trick in the books, from pricking a finger on a spinning wheel to kissing a frog prince. The crowd favorite involved a costume covered in ruffles, removed individually, often with a leg pointing skyward at an angle expected only of yogis.
Next to the made-up and dressed-up androgyny of Luminous Pariah and Paris Original, Trojan Original channels all masculine energy, wearing tough leather — self-made steam punk or motorcycle gear — and performing dance moves that show off strength more than grace. There was still a little glitter when you got down to the skivvies, though.
Inga Ingenue was a special guest for the first weekend, a burlesque performer based in Seattle with a blonde bouffant and an attitude far bigger than her petite frame. Her first act had a traditional feel, removing a garish gown to reveal elaborate lingerie beneath. The second act was all sass and sparkle, leaving one with the difficult decision of whether to keep one's eyes on the glittering costume or the hilarious facial expressions.
Burlesque is not for the particularly conservative because, yes, you will see a lot of the human body, but the fun of burlesque is in the drama of the reveal. The performance is complete once the performer is nearly bare — it's not so gauche as strip club fare. It's a lot of fun for anyone who has an appreciation for the human form — male or female — as well as dance and theater.
Mod Carousel will have a second set of performances this coming weekend at the Rockwell Ballroom at 7 and 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 26 (21+ and $15 in advance, $20 at the door). The upcoming weekend is Glitterboxx, featuring all new performances. Tickets can be purchased here. Based on what I've seen so far, at the "Best of" show and in years past, it will be worth watching. The coming weekend's special guest is vocalist Caela Bailey, also of Seattle.