We arrived at the Fillmore Theater
and got parking in an ancient, tightly-wound parking structure that looked to have been built in the 40s. It was positively claustrophobic. Anything bigger than a bicycle would have scraped the ceiling. Thank heavens we drove the little car. Take that, SUVs!
Outside, the weather was brisk but clear. A huge crowd of people went all the way down, down, down the block, across the street and around the corner from the Fillmore. At first, Darwin and I thought this was unrelated to the show we were there for, but we were quickly disavowed of this notion. Everyone was waiting to get in and see naked magicians! So we dutifully trooped way down the block to the end of the line. It was reserved seating, so we weren't worried about missing our spots.
The line did move quickly forward once the doors opened at 7:00, and the audience had a bit of a festive, naughty air to it, which added to the fun. Here, I felt a tug on my elbow. I turned and found myself looking at Catherine, an old friend. We shouted with laughter and hugged quickly, though we didn't have more time than that--she was with other people and had to dash down to join them.
The line moved passed two homeless people panhandling in different spots on the sidewalk. Giving money to homeless people is the "I have a decent job" tax, and more people should pay it. I paid, and moved on.
At last we got into the theater. The Fillmore used to be a grand theater, and the space still is, with its sweeping architecture and grand statues of knights in niches, but these days it's more of an alternative music and performance venue than a legitimate theater. These days, it holds punk rock concerts and Chippendale shows and naked magicians. In the old days, it would have been a vaudeville venue, and perhaps it was.
Darwin and I took our places in the very front row at the center. I was able to rest my feet on the staircase that led up to the stage, in fact. The stage was bare except for a table, a box hanging from a cable, and a blow-up sex doll to one side.
We couldn't help but notice that the main floor was almost all men. Darwin and I were greatly amused by this. The women, meanwhile, were mostly up in the balconey. It wasn't 100%, but it was definitely noticeable. Every front row seat was occupied by a man, that's for sure! We were laughing about this.
And the show began. Mike and Chris, the magicians, start their magic fully clothed, but tell the audience they'll remove more of their clothes if the audience shows their appreciation. This, of course, earned a great deal of shouting and cheering. (One particular woman from the balconey screeched epithets throughout: "Show us your --!" and "Whip it out!" and such, and even though the show itself was raunchy, everyone hated her and wanted her to shut up.)
It was a true burlesque show, in the old sense of the word--raunchy, occasionally tasteless, played up for humor, and a lot of not-quite full frontal nudity. It was half strip show and half magic show.
My mother would have loved it. I feel that has to be said.
Ultimately, the magic part wasn't all that great: rope tricks, card tricks, a straight-jacket escape, a mind-reading trick. I caught how they did a few of them, which wasn't a good sign. I have the feeling that Mike and Chris were trying to figure out how to get a performance gig that would make them stand out. "Hey!" one of them says. "We can both do some decent magic! What about a magic show?" "We can't do anything that'll get us noticed." "Well, magicians always have scantily-dressed assistants, right? And we've both got good bodies, right? What if =we= took off our clothes, but =all= of them? That would get people in!" "Hey, yeah!" And the show was born.
It worked. The show at the Fillmore sold out, certainly.
Anyway, the show was fun and silly and raunchy and worth the "I have a decent job" tax.
Afterward, it was back to the Whitney...