SHINES IN "PIN UP"
BY TODD TODD
I have seen the billboards all over town for PIN UP. It looks to me like it’s going to be an ultra-sexy topless revue with women dressed in sexy PIN UP girl style outfits, and I just love that era, so I am super excited when I get the call that tickets will be waiting for me at the Stratosphere box office for my next assignment. I pick up the tickets and I enter the venue. I love the theater. It isn’t stadium seating, nor is it long tables seating 15 people uncomfortably. Instead, it has a 50’s vibe to it, and the way they have it set up makes the audience feel more at ease with one another and not like: “Who is this person using my armrest?”
The show starts off with a well-produced sexy video montage that is shown on two large screens located on either side of the stage, getting you excited for what’s about to happen next. The video fades to black, the curtain rises, and the first thing that smacks you right in the face, perks your ears up and gets your feet tapping, is the sound of live horns, drums, and guitars, played by the amazing and jaw-dropping six-piece PIN UP band, led by David Perrico on lead trumpet (Perrico performs every other Tuesday at Stratosphere with his 18-piece band David Perrico-Pop Evolution). Behind the music is critically acclaimed Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno, who co-produced the show, created the concept, and scored the high-energy swingin’ music for PIN UP, which includes his contemporary twist on nostalgic covers, plus a few new originals. Next, you see a large box on the stage with a video playing of a woman’s silhouette, while a real live person behind the video moves perfectly in sync with the silhouette. You can tell it’s a person imitating the movie, because every time the silhouette did something, (let’s say for instance, playing with a red scarf), when she was finished, she would hand it playfully to a performer on stage and the performer would reach up as to play along with the video, but low and behold, he would get a real red scarf handed to him. This interaction with the video was well produced and entertaining. At the end, they spin the wall around to reveal the host of the show… Wait, to my surprise, the back of the screen was empty. First, the fantastic band kicked out toe-tapping music, and now a magic trick? I was excited to see what was going to happen next!
What walked on stage and welcomed the audience was not merely a hot girl. No, this was a woman, and the kind of woman you dream and have fantasies about. No wonder Hugh Hefner made Claire Sinclair Miss October 2010 and then Playmate of the Year 2011. After a warm welcome, Claire introduces January, (No, January is not the name of some stripper). PIN UP makes an attempt to take you through each month of the calendar with a dance routine set sometimes to 50’s music, sometimes not, but we will discuss that in a minute. The attempt to go month-by-month and have the girls fall off the pages of a PIN UP calendar was one of only two things I didn’t like about PIN UP. The idea was clever and very cute, however, the only month that really tied into being from a calendar was October, where a cauldron was used to do another very cool magic trick. Since we are discussing what I felt were the weak areas of the show, let’s get the other one out of the way now, because the show is a lot of fun, very entertaining, and definitely worth seeing. So, I mentioned most of the routines were performed to 50’s music and it fit with the era, the outfits, and the theme of the show. Then out of nowhere, comes Ann Martinez, this sexy blonde singer with an amazing voice, belting out songs like, “Only Happy When It Rains” or Alicia Keys’ big hit, “Girl on Fire”. Now, “Girl on Fire”, I can understand the thought process behind the decision to use this song, because it is sung while a sexy girl in a sexy fireman outfit performs tricks on a pole supported by a high-tech looking platform made out of shiny steel and bright red painted parts resembling something to do with a fire truck. However, I think the producers of the show could have taken some more time to dig a little deeper into the 50’s music archive to find a song with the word fire, hot, heat or something to tie in with the fireman outfit. I just felt that leaving the 50’s theme wasn’t a good idea. Now that we have my two little suggestions out of the way, let’s get on with the show.
I love all the PIN UP costumes used throughout the show. There are 12 months, so I will not go month by month and give away the entire show. What I will do is give you a couple of my favorite routines. I think the performance that best fits the show is the routine that starts off with the video screens showing pistons of an engine pumping, and just as the light comes up to illuminate the stage, you see an old airplane mechanic’s shop, and the girls are decked out in outfits with the iconic bandana in their hair. The guy… yes, it took me ¾ of a review before mentioning the guy. Thank goodness, finally a guy in a show, (besides Sean E. Cooper of Fantasy), that doesn’t ruin the show or try to upstage the female talent. The male dancer, I would mention his name if I could find it anywhere online, was a very good-looking model type guy that could dance his ass off. He was to PIN UP, what a yell leader is to a cheerleading squad – someone to help toss the girls, and fill a roll, and he did a fantastic job of doing just that. I hadn’t mentioned I had extremely good seats at this show. I always hate sitting too close to the stage, because it makes me so nervous that I might be the one chosen to participate onstage during that “interaction with the crowd” period of time that occurs during so many shows. Thankfully, it has never happened.
As I mentioned earlier, Claire Sinclair is not only a dream girl, but my dream girl. She could have just stood alone on stage with no band, no singing, nothing but just Claire and her perfect breasts with pasties and simply bounced a little for the entire time of the show, and I would have borrowed a friend, so I could give the show “4-Thumbs Up!” So, when Claire walked down the stairs into the audience talking about how she had her eye on one hot guy the entire time, I knew it wasn’t going to be me.
The next thing I know... No shit, Claire stopped next to me and put her hand on my shoulder. I was thinking: ‘I might puke.’ She says: “…and this isn’t him.” I’m not even a tiny bit religious and I’m thanking God, Buddha, and every other religious figure that it would go by quickly. No shit, again! Claire put her hand back on my shoulder and says: “No, I am just kidding. It is this hottie right here,” and puts the microphone right in my face asking me my name and where I am from. All I can see in my head is how many YouTube hits the video will get of me puking all over Claire Sinclair. I choke out: “Todd Todd,” and that I am from Vegas, and she hands me a PIN UP calendar and struts her sexy ass back onstage. The next number, Ann Martinez walks into the audience, singing some song I can’t remember now, because my hand was still shaking from the Claire Sinclair experience, and I wasn’t able to write. Ann, while singing this sultry song that we will never know the title of, walks past me, stops, backs up, and proceeds to bend over, rubbing her ass on me better than most strippers have done giving me a lap dance. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!!!! This never happens – and now twice in one night?!
As I gain my composure and stop my hands from shaking, another amazing number begins with a solo dancer in pointe shoes. This routine was very well performed by a well-trained dancer – one that I would love to put in a few positions besides 5th!
Now, I have saved the best for last. The band opens up with an awesome rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” as a hot girl in a sexy little baseball outfit stands on a low small platform on the main stage preparing to take her turn at bat. The band heckles her, as she does a charades-type reenactment of taking her turn at bat. Strike one, (the band heckles her more), strike two, (the heckling increases), CRACK… HOME RUN. All of the sudden, you see what the little raised platform is really for, as this little hottie’s cleats she’s wearing begin to tap. This little tap dancer would make Gregory Hines smile if he were alive today. Just when you are impressed with this girl’s tap skills, the band’s drummer approaches the little platform, holding only his two drumsticks. He proceeds to challenge the tap dancer as his drumsticks hit the metal stage: rat a tat tat, tat tat, rata rata tat… They challenge one another going back and forth, getting more intense and impressive each time. Then the drummer performs this amazing feat of balancing the sticks on both his arms and on his foot – an act that simply cannot be described in words – yet is super-cool to witness.
Okay, maybe I lied earlier, saying I saved the best for last. There was the cutest routine performed by Claire Sinclair where she is in her bedroom, getting ready for bed, wearing a mouthwatering pink nightie. I am not sure how, but the pillow not only comes to life, it has personality. How the hell could you give a pillow personality? I don’t know how either, but they do it and do it well. As the show was ending, I was so entertained, that I hadn’t realized that not a single girl was ever topless, until Claire Sinclair announced that this very show I was at was the first night that PIN UP started wearing pasties. Before this night, the boobs were always at least in a bra or bikini top. Then, while saying her final goodnight, Claire says, “Thank you,” to a very special guest in the audience… (No, not me. My 3 seconds in the spotlight faded much earlier). Claire respectfully gives thanks to burlesque legend, Tempest Storm, who was in attendance that very evening. Final review wrap-up: Go see PIN UP – if for no other reason than the band – but there are so many more reasons that will have you leaving the Stratosphere Theater smiling, and if you are anything like me, hot and bothered!
PIN UP at the Stratosphere at 10:30pm Thursdays through Mondays