Monday, December 10, 2007

Outrageous performance art show served up for bartenders' event

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"Lolly," one of the body-painted performers at Tuaca's Body Art Ball at the Park West (Photo: Audarshia Townsend)

By Audarshia Townsend

Tuaca's "bartenders ball" is not your ordinary industry event. While most liquor sponsors host their annual parties to thank the hundreds of local bartenders and servers for their work with the usual open bar and live entertainment shindig, Tuaca goes out of its way to make its event memorable.

The super-premium, brandy-based Italian liqueur's annual Tuaca Body Art Ball made a stop on its 17-city tour in Chicago Sunday at the Park West (322 W. Armitage Ave.), and it's something I won't soon forget.

The highlight of the evening was the show in which 15 dancers and performance artists showcased their skills in full body art. There was "Lolly," a lithe dancer dressed as a Lolita toting a lollipop and "lace" thigh highs. Then there was the "Gangster of Love," a Justin Timberlake-esque guy popping and locking across the stage. Also, the belly-dancing "Egypt," clad in opulent gold paint from head to toe put on a show that had everyone on their feet. Oh, and how can we forget "Georgia," the stripper-style tarts with painted-on denim and sashaying around with pitchforks and ten-gallon hats to country music? The only thing missing there was a stripper pole and guys tossing dollar bills on the stage.

But things got back on track with an outrageous routine by "Voodoo," performed by a tiny little dancer who scared everyone in the room with her ritualistic, glow-in-the-dark makeup and incredibly flexible body. She was moving across the stage so fast that it was almost animalike.

And if you think that's wild, the finale of the night was a special performance by "Marilyn," who was decked out to resemble the blonde Hollywood icon. One half of her was splayed in blonde tresses and white evening gown, while the other half was done up Marilyn Manson-style in all-black goth. Outrageous, indeed.