Burlesquefest 2003

Marquee Theatre,
Tempe, AZ
June 23rd, 2003

Kitty Crimson

Women taking their clothes off is, in my opinion, a fine thing, which provided hours of happy entertainment during my days in London. Now, of course, I’m a very content married man, and Chris is the only woman I really want to see divest herself – but the concept still holds nostalgic interest. Enter Burlesquefest, a travelling show which promised to put the “tease” back into striptease, with performers such as Catherine D’Lish (her real name, allegedly!) and Kitty Crimson.

There certainly seems to be a demand; the Marquee was crammed to capacity, with all seats occupied, and lines of standees down both walls. Some members of the audience were also extremely enthusiastic, to the point where we wondered if they’d perhaps just been released after fifteen years in San Quentin. Acting as MC was Kitten on the Keys, a singing, dancing compere who describes herself as a, “firkeytoodlin’ frisky feline,” not averse to taking her own clothes off. The support acts were Oracle Dance, a trio out of Denver, Colorado, plus Crimson (pic, above) and D’lish.

Devotchka!

Musical accompaniment was provided by Devotchka, a group who musical influences range from the Gypsy Kings to Quentin Tarantino, via the Russian steppes, with instruments including violin, tuba, and that thing shaped a bit like a mandolin whose name escapes me at the moment. They were initially amusing: hey, this one sounds like Hava Nagila! Unfortunately, we eventually realised all their songs sounded like Hava Nagila [save the odd-yet-cool version of Venus in Furs by the Velvet Underground], and their entertainment value went into a sharp decline. There was just so much Devotchka, at times we wondered if we had accidentally gone to one of their concerts which happened to have dancing girls, rather than a striptease show.

As for the striptease, no question that this was Performance Art, particularly when D’Lish was on stage – her props included a gigantic spider’s web, as well as an oversized champagne glass filled with soapy water (hopefully warm!), and her costumes were no less extravagant. The latter applied to all the performers; think Chris came away with an entire shopping list of wants. Crimson’s inspiration is clearly early Marilyn Monroe, and I found her acts convincing but largely derivative, without much hint of any of her own personality. Perhaps this was just in contrast to Kitten on the Keys, who refused to take anything the slightest bit seriously, least of all herself, and was the most engaging character in the show as a result.

Comedy has always been an essential ingredient of burlesque: W.C.Fields, Lennie Bruce and Bob Hope all worked in clubs. If the rest of the cast seemed to be a little po-faced at times, perhaps revelling in the post-modern irony of it all, Kitten made up for it with sheer good humour. The highlight, personally, was her tinkly lounge version of the Sex Pistol’s Anarchy in the UK, which became a sweet little ditty. [Insert obvious joke here]

I happily admit it all made for two and half entertaining hours. However, I was surprised by how unerotic I found the vast majority of the spectacle; a slight twinge when D’Lish was pouring champagne down over her body, and that was it. There are several reasons for this, even discounting my happily-married status. Firstly, but probably less importantly, it was really pretty tame – if this were a movie, it’d probably be PG-13, since the panties and pasties remained on.

Now, there’s no reason why gynaecology should have to come into play. But in the modern world, where an average hour of late-night cable contains much more nudity and sexuality than this whole show, and most of the Burlesquefest acts could trade costumes with Christina Aguislutta, a certain amount of desensitization is inevitable. What the performers seem to have forgotten is that burlesque operated on the edge of what was acceptable in society, and that society has changed, and continues to do so – perhaps in 50 years they’ll be having nostalgic lap-dancing tours.

Catherine D’Lish

Retro is cool, but there’s a good reason we don’t drive Model T’s any more, and Burlesquefest came off as possessing about as much “edge” as a low-rent Las Vegas casino show. The closest it came to subverting community norms were a few nods towards paedophilia (“I was 8 before I was 7”) – and while some may find Shirley Temple impersonations sexy, it’s a niche market. [Chris also pointed out that the performers were 100% white. Read into that what you want.]

Secondly, there seems to be an inverse-cube law at work here. No matter how elegantly you dress it up, sexuality works best when it’s up-close, personal, in your face, and moist – not thirty rows back in an auditorium seating nine hundred people. In that kind of location, no matter how enthuiastic you are, even the wildest of abandon is gonna end up spread pretty thin. By removing the intimate element, presumably as part of taking out the “sleaze”, they’ve also sanitised it, to the point where most of the acts were closer to modern dance than anything else.

Whether we attend future Burlesquefests is uncertain. It will likely be influenced by the potential Devotchka quotient, as much as anything else (a little goes quite some way!). If it was the same people performing the same acts, I’d probably be less inclined to go, since variety is the spice of, er, variety. A different selection of artistes would probably see us there though – on the other hand, I’d definitely miss that version of Anarchy in the UK

Raising Arizona Wilder

Born Jennifer Ann Greene, Arizona Wilder first came to prominence with the release of David Icke’s The Biggest Secret, as rare “evidence” (quotes used advisedly) for his theory that the world is dominated by shape-shifting reptilians from other dimensions. The book’s index has the entry, “Wilder, Arizona – see Mother Goddess”, and she describes human sacrifice rituals involving the Pope, the Clintons, the Reagans, both George Bushes, various members of the Royal Family, and, er, Bob Hope. These summoned “snarling, hideous creatures” – how they distinguished them from participating politicians is unclear.

Here’s her description of the Queen: “I have seen her sacrifice people and eat their flesh and drink their blood. One time she got so excited with blood lust that she didn’t cut the victim’s throat from left to right in the normal ritual, she just went crazy, stabbing and ripping at the flesh after she’d shape shifted into a reptilian. When she shape-shifts, she has a long reptile face, almost like a beak, and she’s an off-white colour.” [David Icke, The Biggest Secret, p.455]

You can get a videotape of an interview with her, but for those not willing to contribute directly to her finances, an opportunity to see Wilder speak occurred at the 2003 Conspiracy Con in Santa Clara. I went in sceptical, but with an open mind – despite a desire to give her the benefit of the doubt, unfortunately, I came out convinced that her claims have no basis in objective fact. Though if any of it is true, her life has been a harrowing one. She was born with her destiny as a cult figurehead already predetermined, and was ritually abused as part of her indoctrination. This included trips to Moscow as a young child, where she was immersed in cold water to bring on near-death experiences which would awaken her latent psychic abilities, and her chief handler was Nazi scientist Joseph Mengele.

A lizard, preparing to add
garnish to a light snack

These creatures who rule our planet can’t enter our dimension on their own; they need to be anchored here with a sacrifice, and need adrenalchrome to keep them in human form. This chemical only comes into the blood when the victim has been tortured and traumatised – Arizona’s job was to preside over the ceremonies and act as a conduit for the reptilians.

In her role as a “mother goddess”, she was scheduled to be killed at the age of 52, by her daughter, who would then take over the role. [Does this mean Arizona killed her mother? I suspect not – must be some kind of reptilian loophole there. Handwave, handwave…] But after Mengele’s death in the 1980’s, the psychological noose around her neck loosened, and she escaped the cult’s clutches, going into therapy. [Another warning sign, given the ability of therapists to make anyone believe anything] Subsequently, she’s been harassed, beat up, and even drugged – a test showed positive for cocaine even though she claims never to have taken it.

Well, where to start? The complete lack of corroborating evidence she provided, to begin with – for example, the alleged beatings become less significant given her admission that she has engaged in self-mutilation. You might think that with so many years operating at the highest levels of the global conspiracy, she would have some proof: photos, documents, anything. No. Not even a shape-shifting paperclip. We have only her testimony to go on. My rule of thumb is that the more outrageous your claims, the more I require to back them up. Wilder rates a 10 for outrageousness, but there’s more convincing support for pixies and unicorns than for her view of the world.

Is this the man who abused Wilder?
No, it’s Gregory Peck playing Mengele in The Boys
From Brazil
. But Peck was probably involved too…

She claims to have been one of only three mother goddesses in the world. This, and how she was trained by Joseph Mengele himself (though could she tell us with any degree of authority what he looked like?), reminds me of the way that mentally ill people always believe themselves to be Napoleon, never Napoleon’s boot-boy. Given Wilder herself puts the number of ‘programmed’ individuals in the United States alone at ten million, the odds of her being such a high-ranking figure are ludicrously high.

Of course, the programmed include her parents and sisters – presumably a defence against anyone tracking them down and hearing their denials. Tied in with her supposed high-level role, her family are no commoners either, but “bloodline” – related (illegitimately, naturally – any ‘proper’ connection could be easily investigated) to the Rothschilds, and originating from the South of France. Yes, throw some Holy Blood and the Holy Grail into the mix, though you may be forgiven for feeling Wilder’s universe is closer to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I’m far from the only doubter: former Icke associate Ivan Fraser wrote in an article that, “her facts were either regularly wrong, or so full of spin that she was hardly credible.” He also mentions Wilder’s claim that the royal lizards change back when they sleep, which must have made Prince Charles’ time at Gordonstoun public school and in the armed forces very entertaining for those sharing his sleeping quarters…

The most charitable explanation is that she was indeed abused horribly as a child, and her psyche has latched on to Icke’s reptilians as a way to rationalise her suffering. Under this hypothesis, she truly believes what she says. Slightly less kind, she could merely be an attention seeker who loves the sympathy of an attentive audience, and finds making outrageous claims a good means to that end. Worst of all…well, if someone out there actually is engaged in mind-control work (and that is not as far-fetched as you’d like to think), what better way to cover it up? Make wild, ludicrous claims, linking the topic to trans-dimensional aliens, Nazis and Satanists, and the general population will eventually believe it to be the domain of cranks and kooks.

‘Control freak’ Cathy
O’Brien, with her minder,
Mark Phillips

In this light, I am particularly curious about Wilder’s minder, the unseen “Miss Pinky”. What is her precise role? Wilder isn’t the only one to have such an associate lurking nearby – Cathy O’Brien, another alleged mind control victim, is rarely seen outside the company of ex-intelligence agent Mark Philips. Another figure of interest is Brian Desborough, who may have directed David Icke towards the reptilian theory, and subsequently introduced Wilder to him, a convenient “witness” to back up the facts. Perhaps significantly, Desborough has written articles on mind control.

By writing this piece, I probably become part of the conspiracy against her, and my claim to be merely a sarcastic, sceptical Scotsman should be viewed with scepticism. However, she claims to be serving her purpose and destiny, and so I guess I’m just doing the same thing by treating her story with the suspicion it deserves. Her presentation at Conspiracy Con was entitled Deceived No More – but does that more accurately apply to the speaker or the audience?


A reader writes:

“I ran into your page about Arizona Wilder – I recently had the ‘extinct’ honor or working with this mentally ill person, she was my Charge Nurse on a psychiatric unit. [I call it extinct because I no longer work there – I’m a nurse as well.] The second day I knew her, she was telling me and other co-workers her history with the so-called Illuminati… She turned out to be one of the most annoying people I have spent 8 hours a day with. I am now free of Arizona’s interactions and that snake pit. I am thankful every day I didn’t end up an appetizer for the queen of England!”

Web of Conspiracy Con 2003

Santa Clara, CA
24th-25th May, 200

Every year, it seems, more and more conspiratorial cracks appear in the landscape. This year, the war against Iraq, looking for those pesky – and apparently, non-existent – weapons of mass destruction, showed once again that politicians have absolutely no problem deceiving the electorate when they feel the need. Bringing this to the attention of the public is where events like Conspiracy Con come in, though the topics covered were far broader – and, being honest, covered the entire range of plausibility too.

Despite the Gulf War, the most frequently-referenced topic was the events of 9/11. That our government should have known about it in advance seems certain, but the question now being probed is whether they did. There is certainly evidence, such as the remarkable delay in sending up interceptors, which suggests the possibility. And if you’ve seen photos of the moment when George Bush was supposedly told of the attacks, his reaction seems closer to “tell me something I don’t know already” than the shock and horror you might expect.

We preceded the event with a couple of days in San Francisco. If you go there, do yourselves a favour and leave your car at home. Driving is a nightmare, and parking is worse: our hotel charged us $25/day for the use of their garage. There is plenty of transport around the city, but they’re rather more vague about how you get into the centre. It was a relief to leave (albeit at a snail’s pace, onto the Bay Bridge) for the wide-open spaces of Santa Clara – even if we’d spend the majority of the next two days in the hotel, save the odd hunter/gatherer trip to the local curry house [And can I just say in passing that putting cloves into keema naans is an idea we hope does not catch on…]
 

  • Stan Monteith – There was something old-fashioned about the opening speaker, who traced the New World Order back to Cecil Rhodes, tying him to various occult-influenced secret societies. This kind of thing seems more than slightly antiquated these days, enhanced by Monteith’s fondness for quoting poetry (Tennyson’s Locksley Hall being a favourite). He did have some interesting points, in particular a plausible idea that Jewish involvement in the Bolshevik Revolution was a reaction to the Tsar’s anti-Semitism, as shown by his support for The Protocols of Zion. Monteith also suggested the recent extension of copyright law was partly an attempt to suppress information, but he was probably just worried about lawsuits, since his book seemed largely to be a collection of photocopies lifted from other publications. C-
  • Arizona Wilder – I took more notes during Arizona Wilder’s presentation than any other speaker. I was also less convinced of the veracity of what she said, than by any other speaker. This contradiction in terms really requires explanation at length, so here’s a separate article, all about Ms. Wilder. Here, we’ll just cut to the chase, and give the grade for a presentation whose only real value was as entertainment. D-
  • Jerry Smith – Smith replaced the hospitalised Vance Davis, and while a lack of preparation was obvious (Smith had only been called the day before), this was still a fascinating talk on HAARP, the High Altitude Active Auroral Project. Last year, Dr. Nick Begich covered the same topic to good effect, but Davis concentrated here on the potential uses, both benign and malign, of the technology, which include everything from mind control to deflecting ICBMs. He covered its origins in the work of Nicholas Tesla (and his obsession with pigeons!), and looked at whose agendas it might further. I’ve had his book, HAARP: Ultimate Weapon of the Conspiracy, sitting on the shelf since last year’s event: I think it’s now on the fast track to being read. Double plaudits for providing such an engrossing presentation at very short notice. B+
  • Jordan Maxwell – He spoke at 2001’s convention, and his theme this time was similar, probing into words to find their hidden meaning. Refreshingly, while many conspiracists see ominous iconography on a dollar bill, Maxwell finds it less disturbing, using historically sacred symbols worthy of respect. He looked into the origins of Christianity and its hijacking of earlier religions; for example, “Solomon” being a compound of Sol-Om-On, three words related to sun-worship. His weakness was a tendency to make a point, then pound it home by giving far too many examples; this got repetitive, but he also delivered the best quote of the convention. “Always trust the seeker of truth. Never trust the one who claims to have found it.” B-
A face? We think not.

There was another workshop, but you had to pay $40 to see Richard Hoagland, of “Face on Mars” fame – a feature now revealed (left) as no more than coincidental shadows. If I were in Hoagland’s shoes, I’d be more concerned about trying to regain some degree of credibility, and less about getting cash out of the public. We, needless to say, did not pony up to see him. Inevitably, this conference attracted some odd individuals, who had perhaps got out on day release. A couple of these showed up at the Q&A session, but others, unfortunately, chose to sit near us (attracted by Chris’s “psycho magnetism” – hey, she married me!). There was Ilsa, She-wolf of the Auditorium, to whom the slightest sound seemed to cause immeasurable pain. There was the Bag Lady, who demanded we clear off chair space…so she could put her possessions there. And there was the individual who, on hearing my British accent, demanded to know who’d killed Princess Diana. There was some disappointment at my response – know little, care less – and I wish I’d fabricated some (in)credible plot instead.

  • Jim Marrs – Is there anyone out there who really believes that Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone? If so, they should have been present for Jim Marrs’ informative and enjoyable ‘J.F.K. Assassination 1.0.1’ talk. Beginning with a slide showing a dubious character at Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club, a month before the shooting – who turned out to be the young Marrs! – he performed an efficient demolition job on the findings of the Warren Commission. This is, admittedly, like shooting fish in a barrel, but it’s always good to be reminded of the wild implausibilities in the “magic bullet theory”. Who arranged it, is harder to say. As Marrs pointed out, Kennedy had angered virtually every violent faction operating in America: Mafia, CIA, miltary-industrial complex. Perhaps, like Murder on the Orient Express, they all did it. Regardless, the effect was a coup d’etat that to this day remains unacknowledged. A
  • Carol Brouillet & Ken Jenkins – Although most speakers referred to the events of 9/11, this pair were the only ones to make it a focus. One can’t doubt their commitment as activists, but as speakers, Carol in particular seemed way out of her depth with lengthy moments of uncomfortable silence. The best part of the presentation was a lengthy chunk of video asking some pointed questions about the events of that day, which need answering, but beyond this, they seemed to have little to offer but shallow sloganeering and edited highlights from Oliver Stone’s JFK. In terms of raising awareness, tools such as their ‘deception dollar’ (below) are potentially excellent, but we attend the convention for more than sound-bites. Anthony Hilder’s demands for a standing ovation beforehand were wise, since they didn’t deserve one afterwards. D

  • Kenn Thomas – Thomas, as editor of Steamshovel Press has been one of the leading lights in conspiracy research for years. With his friend, the late Jim Keith, he has been investigating “The Octopus”, a cabal that supposedly killed journalist Danny Casolaro when he got too close to them. This was a little too self-publicising for our tastes, with a bunch of plugs for Steamshovel publications and footage of Thomas appearing on TV. He talked about mysterious clusters of deaths, such as the one that plagued Marconi scientists in Britain a year ago. But the truth is, if you’re a conspiracist, no matter how you died, it’s suspicious. Just put the cause of death in quotes – “cancer”, a “heart attack”, in a “car crash”, “suicide” – and there you are, instant conspiracy! C-
    Michael Tsarion’s genitals…
  • Michael Tsarion – Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”, and Tsarion would do well to listen. It’s conceivable the media uses sacred symbols, for example in advertising; I’ve always wondered about Bacardi’s bat. But Tsarion takes the concept to ludicrous extremes, interpreting everything this way. For example, Kraft, as in Foods, refers to Masonic craft – not James L. Kraft, who started a Chicago wholesale cheese business in 1903? Glad we sat at the back, as our sniggers (Volvo = Vulva!) would’ve disrupted proceedings. Factually wrong – Spica is not the brightest star in the sky – he also claimed the Arc de Triomphe was a phallic symbol. Now, I don’t know what his penis looks like, but there are better candidates in Paris, not least at the other end of the Champs Elysees. I think we finally lost it when he claimed “Sears” was an anagram of “Aries”. Guess he can’t spell either. However, it is an anagram of “ARSES”. Now that’s symbolism… E+

After the second part of Hoagland’s workshop (see above), it was time for the Q&A. This is always entertaining, for the wide range of topics covered and views aired, both by the panellists and the audience – at one point, I thought a fight was going to break out over whether it was the limo-driver who shot JFK. Perhaps the most interesting question asked for predictions of what to expect: Monteith reckoned a major biological attack was possible, but Hoaglund and Tsarion (who came over much better as a panellist than as an individual speaker) predicted the assassination of George W. Bush. Hoaglund pointed out that both The West Wing and 24 have had storylines depicting the vice-president taking over…

We remain amazed at the breadth and depth of the program Brian Hall and his team put on, and with commendable efficiency, everything running to schedule. While not every speaker was convincing (to say the least!), it was nice to learn our bullshit detectors are still fully functioning. We left, refreshed in our belief that whatever appears to be going on in society, is not necessarily what actually is happening. That alone makes our attendance at Consiracy Con 2004, a foregone conclusion.