As Comic-Con photo galleries can increasingly attest to, geek culture and exhibitionist cosplayers are as inseparable as a slashfic-starring Superman and Batman. But nothing inside or lined up outside a convention center compares to the hardcore nerdity on display in Talk Nerdy to M3, a burlesque show performed by Rogue Burlesque and Sirlesque that recently ran for two nights at Harvard’s Oberon Theater.
Some of the show’s gags were straightforward: a Dalek from Doctor Who with an erection and Aquaman distracted by a can of tuna. Others were inspired, like Rogue’s aborted striptease (she touches an audience member seductively, then runs away screaming “I’m sorry!” after he collapses) and a Weird Al Yankovic drag king sliding floppy disks down her body.
What was surprising was how well stripping and superheroes go together. There were enough rapid-fire references to cartoons, comic books, video games, D&D and even board games to fill a bag of magic holding. And yet, it felt like alt-burlesque should, with nerdy iconography settling comfortably into the self-aware sex appeal of performers who are in on every joke. And nothing, it turns out, draws the gaze like a female Axe Cop, whose clothes come off — but whose moustache doesn’t.
Here, for anyone too busy, far away or “cool” to attend, are photos of Talk Nerdy to M3:
Erik Sofge is a technology, science and culture writer based in Massachusetts. His work has appeared in Fast Company, Men’s Journal, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science and Slate.
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