Strip strip hooray!
Brooklyn burlesque company Wasabassco Burlesque will celebrate 10 years of dressing up in crazy outfits then taking them off on stage with an 11-hour-long anniversary extravaganza at the Bell House in Gowanus on Nov. 8. Burlesque in New York City has evolved a lot over the past decade, but Wasabassco’s founder said he has attempted to stay ahead of the pack with adventurous and playful acts that go far beyond just a basic striptease.
“Ten years is a milestone for anything in New York, let alone what we playfully call ‘art strippers,’” said Doc Wasabassco, who also emcees the shows.
The anniversary show will be an all-day affair that will include a scripted sci-fi show, a peepshow photo shoot, live bands, and a performance incorporating pole dancing and acrobatics.
Wasabassco credited the troupe’s longevity to its willingness to bend the rules.
“We just try to keep evolving. When we showed up, we were trying to recreate a 1950s aesthetics with stocking and garters, but everyone kind of does that now,” he said. “We have not been afraid to embrace ridiculousness.”
In pursuit of said ridiculousness, Wasabassco has put together burlesque shows centered around a variety of unlikely themes, including King Kong, Renaissance faires, and lasagna.
“Any well-thought idea we come up with, we will make different things happen and it will be a Wasabassco show,” he said.
The company often augments its roster of burlesque performers — a core troupe of about a dozen people, plus more than 150 others who have performed in Wasabassco shows over the years — with other performers, such as actors, jugglers, and fire-eaters. But, no matter what, Wasabassco tries to keep the shows tightly scripted and professional, he said.
“You can go to a big party and see a lot of performers, but that’s not a show, it is just a party,” said Wasabassco. “We want to keep it structured.”
Now, Doc Wasabassco is planning to expand outside of New York City, with shows in cities such as Los Angeles and Nashville. His plan to make the Wasabassco name famous across the country? Less Doc Wasabassco on stage, more women holding the mic.
“There is something wrong with the paradigm of a man always presenting a mostly female cast,” he said. “I think it is more important that women are presented by women.”
Wasabassco’s 10th Anniversary Extravaganza at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third streets in Gowanus, (718) 643–6510, www.wasabassco.com]. Nov. 8 at 4:45 pm, VIP opening party at 3 pm. $40–$100.