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Monday, December 05, 2016

Pin Up

A long time ago the late, great composer Marvin Hamlisch was on the Tonight Show and was answering a question from Johnny Carson about how he always thinks about music. Hamlisch, who could be very funny, said, "I went to a porno movie and walked out humming the score."

Seeing Pin Up, a revue at the Stratosphere featuring dancers recreating classic calendar art from yesteryear, made me think of that. It is not a particularly distinguished show. The dancing and singing are competent, and the different motifs used for the months are enjoyable if not predictable. There's even a bit of magic. But what impressed me the most was the music.

The show has no nudity, although the host, Claire Sinclair, does wear pasties (she even changes them--spiders for October, and then at the end she twirls tassels). There are five dancers, including one man, who must feel lucky, and a girl singer. But there is also a six-piece combo that I really dug. Now, I wasn't completely ignoring the girls, particularly Sinclair, who is the draw here. She was the 2011 Playboy Playmate of the Year, and as a long-time reader of that publication, I was well aware who she was. She got her start as a model for Olivia De Berardinis, who has continued the tradition of artists like Vargas and Elvgren. But her other talents are somewhat limited and superficial.

The band was great, though. They helped things by playing some of my favorites, mostly from the big-band era, like "Sing, Sing, Sing," and "Caravan." For the bikini chicks of August they did Dick Dale's "Miserlou," and for a bit where Sinclair wrestles with an amorous pillow, Jonathan Richman's "Sleepwalk." They even dipped into alternative rock with Garbage's "I'm Only Happy When It Rains."

This is one of those only in Vegas shows. The theater was less than half full, but had many couples and even groups of women. It is supposed to hearken back to the days of burlesque, but I'm not sure that's something that interests people anywhere (if you look at old films of burlesque it was pretty seedy and not all that artful). Pin Up is colorful and makes a great effort, and is only just over an hour in length, but the performers, other than the band, are just not that terrific.

Of course, being me, I did spring for a photo with the cast, and got my chance to meet Sinclair. It cost me twenty dollars, but I did get free tickets for the show.

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