IT COULDN’T HAVE BEEN EASY growing up a scion of the storied Clan Cadabra. Imagine all the teachers: “Why, your sister Abra could do anything! Just snap her fingers and it was done.”
So, little Albert set out to prove that nothing could stop him. A nail up the nose? No problem. Two hundred thousand volts of electricity coursing through his body? He laughs at 200,000 volts of electricity coursing through his body.
“Actually, it hurts,” protested sideshow magician Cadabra, a regular with New York troupe Le Scandal who also performs monthly at D.C.’s Palace of Wonders. “You’ll see my skin start to welt up from getting shocked from this thing.”
And Cadabra isn’t the only person potentially at risk from his novel take on the time-honored Human Dynamo act. “Yeah, it’s definitely dangerous. It sort of sounds like a joke, but I do seriously have to say if anyone has a pacemaker and they’re within 100 feet of me, they need to move away.”
And if for some godforsaken reason you’re listening to your iPod instead of the blaring horns of the NYC Blues Devils when Le Scandal takes the stage at the Birchmere on Friday, that iPod will be shut down. You’ve been warned.
Le Scandal is the brainchild of dancer and impresario Bonnie Dunn, who has for seven years been staging shows that combine “circus, variety and burlesque” for packed houses at New York’s Cutting Room, the Flatiron district hotspot co-owned by “Law & Order” and “Sex and the City” star Chris Noth.
When Dunn brings her show south, she promises the twisted services of contortionist Ravi the Scorpion Mystic and the “extreme juggling” of machete manipulator Marcus Monroe.
It wouldn’t be burlesque, of course, without the titillating gyrations of lovely ladies. Angie Pontani will be leaving her sisters at home and going solo. Red-blooded Americans who can’t get enough of Peekaboo Pointe and Anita Cookie, appearing Thursday at the Palace of Wonders, will be back for a second helping when they perform with Le Scandal.
A former modern dancer with a degree in dance from George Mason University, Peekaboo Pointe now teaches classes for hopefuls who want to make their tassels twirl.
“I actually find that women are probably, on the whole, more interested in what I do than men are,” she said. “I think burlesque is something that people watch and look at it, like, ‘I could do that!'”
Should you get your knickers in a twist, know that you and your beloved can bring a taste of burlesque home. Instead of selling CDs in the Birchmere’s record shop, Le Scandal will be offering boas, pasties and other dancing accessories. Twirl, baby, twirl!
» Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria; Fri., 7:30 p.m., $19.50; 703-549-7500.