Taking his licks 

Talk to me about pain.

"Pain? I hate pain. I'm a big wuss," oozes Slymenstra, goddess of the sideshow-riffic, nationally toured Girlie Freak Show and former pain mistress of shock rockers Gwar. "That's why I make all the other girls in the show walk on glass, lay on nails, and hit themselves over the head with a hammer."

I like where this is going. Following a weekend of my own shattered discretion in the sexual arena (I'll never te-ell ... ), the fact that there's somebody sitting in front of me, seriously talking about self-mutilation -- and looking fabulous, even righteous, doing so -- is nothing short of divine inspiration. I'm not a slut! Nobody is! Get me a hammer!

OK, a drink will do.

Certainly it has for everybody else at this eleventh-hour booking of PVC girl moxy. The Bodhisattva Social Club is positively on its head in some mix of amazement, testosterone and booze, all wrapped in a whip and lit to burn. Imagine a '70s New York Dolls afterparty where the Dolls are actually women and New York is actually Orlando on a Monday night. You can't? You shouldn't.

"I'm not a soft girl," flirts the supporting vixen onstage. "I'm a sideshow girl. I like things a little rough."

A little? Following her obligatory personal intro, said sparsely clothed beauty proceeds to emulate what she calls her bedding routine by lying seductively across a bed of rusty nails. What's more, she's throwing her legs up in the air and looking like she's enjoying it. Parallels of my own life are sugarplumbing through my head at this point, until the final bit in her act slaps me back into my bourgeois insignificance. A tassel-chested assistant drops a cinder block on our nailed hero, and knocks it with a sledgehammer. When the block fails to relent to the tune of the packed house's gag reflex, Slymenstra herself comes up and whops it with lumberjack aplomb.

This is beautiful pain.

"What would you do to me?" I later ask lady Slymenstra.

"I would put a cigarette in your mouth ... and whip it out!" she grunts.

"Really? That's so romantic," I wax, a little disappointed.

"Oh, I'd hit it three times for you, Billy," she whips.

Oh, it's been hit before. Anyway, tonight's event represents only part one in a two-pronged assault on Orlando's prudish sensibilities, with the next appearance of The Girlie Freak Show swelling to fill the bigger Barbarella on Friday, Oct. 26. Y'know, because the goths love the nine-inch nails. It all comes appropriately timed with the autumnal day of death and candy, and makes for a charming early costume party with a little bit more teeth than your typical Windermere masquerade.

"It's pretty fashionable," slimes Slymenstra. "I studied a lot of the girl shows with the big top, so I incorporate some of that, along with a little bit of burlesque and a little bit of vaudeville."

Costuming is important, as long as it stays on. Each vignette tonight begins with a classic bit of sing-songing straight off the side of a rustic carny bus. Ultimately, the pushy sexuality of the Girlie Freak Show prevails, though, with eventually shed scant attire whooping the masses into a vulnerable fervor.

Me, I'm slipping into my four-beer comfort zone and contemplating (what else?) my own fate.

"But what would you do for me ... ," I sleaze, not caring for shame or, well, my own fey preferences, "intimately?"

"Well, maybe if you're lucky, the Butthole Bandit would show up!"

Wow, that would be lucky. His name wouldn't happen to be Alan, would it?

Well, my name isn't stupid, so I clear a path to let Slymenstra do her signature thing. Her's is a craft that is nothing short of amazing, involving suggestive rods of light and crackling balls of electricity ... because no metaphor is lost here. Touched by a rod from her potent electrical power source, Slymenstra proceeds to light a full office-size fluorescent bulb by wrapping her luscious lips around its base. Next, she does the same with two smaller neon rods. The tattooed boys standing on stools are predictably howling by this point, imagining themselves to be fixtures in some sexual power play. I'm just thinking of the dangers, like a big wet noodle.

"Has anybody ever been hurt," I later furrow to my fearless leader.

"Last year, Raina Terror had a little bit too much to drink and she turned around too fast," recalls Slymenstra. "I whipped her eye out. It was $5,400 in laser eye surgery. They popped it right back in her head. She had a scratched cornea and a ripped lining."


"I learned a valuable lesson," she matter-of-facts. "I don't do bullwhips in small venues anymore."

By the end of the gig, this venue seems a touch too small for even little old me ... and my bullwhip. There's only so much of grosser-than-gross a feeble heart can take on a Monday, and grosser than the show are the rattling howls of the post-coital gruff set. So I choose to end the night on a tasteful note, nudging my way up to Slymenstra for one final, polite question.

"Um, what are you like in bed?" I grace with a stumble.

"Wouldn't you like to know!" she snaps.


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