Gods, Goddesses, and Gladiators… Oh My! PLF Presents Bacchanalia

Posted by: Necci – Apr 28, 2011


Smoke fills the room as I enter the dark corridor. I peek around the corner to find just one set of chairs in the middle of the room and a hoop hanging from the ceiling. The music is dramatic, with requiems and mystical hymns. It’s dark, and as I make my way to the bar, it is apparent that the vibe of Bacchus is in the air. Wine flowing in celebration of the Greco-Roman god, boys and girls feeding grapes to each other, and old movies depicting ancient times of titans and deities surround the room. It’s nice to pay only $3 for my Malbec, and have a nice comfy seat to lounge in before and after the show.

I look around the room, noticing that I am out of place amongst the Gods and Goddesses which adorn the setting. Commanding gladiators, toga-bedecked particpants, and someone that I think was Neptune walking into the room are just a few of the characters strewn about. People really did it up, from head to toe in full dress, sandals included. I’m impressed. Soon, the ancient setting that was Gallery 5 that night would fill with an audience ready for the celebration that is Bacchanalia.

When host Parker S. Galore VIII (Voix De Ville Follies) makes his entrance onto the stage, there is a roar from the crowd, which approves his Romanesque ensemble, crested helmet and all. Or it could have been his muscular thighs. I was waiting for the lions to come sit by his side. Kiki Von Kitsch (Voix De Ville Follies) begins the ceremonies with a fun little tease to “Zorba the Greek.” I just love how she pulls on her shoulder straps to the beat of the music. Miss Von Kitsch has an air of humor about her but she also remains very alluring to the audience.

Karma! Goddess of beauty, love, desire, and charm! from Todd Raviotta on Vimeo.

Following this playful taunt comes a little surprise treat, and I am mesmerized as Karma Jane is introduced in all her golden cuteness. I watch as she sashays to the hanging hoop and then twists, entwines and hangs herself all through this hoop. What takes a lot of strength and muscle control looks to be nothing but pie for Karma as she pulls herself within the orb, showing amazing flexibility. It is very impressive and refreshing.

Spiked Punch (Sweet Tease Burlesque) shows the audience some modern dance as she conquers the stage in beautiful form. The team of Levar and Khalima (Sekhemti) is a spectacular treat, as Pan (Levar) seduces his Nymph, or maybe his Cybele, in a pagan ritual of love. They are really beautiful to watch as they “play” with each other on stage. I almost feel like I am in the forest, and can hear Pan’s flute as he dances around.

Lastly, there’s an amazing Richmond debut by the Amazing Stage Show, accompanied by live music from the Zwerdling. The number is dark and mystical, and it reminds me of a mythological depiction of the Graeae, surrounding what appears to be a cauldron. Watching Rio, Deanna Danger and The Muse take the stage creates the ultimate ritual experience. Their costumes are glorious and their presence is enchanting as they start off together and then do individual numbers. Rio shows us that her snake is just as exotic as she is, The Muse never ceases to bewitch her audience, and Deanna Danger shows how to magically spellbind her man. Amazing!

Where else could I see someone actually playing the lute, or toga-wearing boys and girls circulate the room hooping or juggling? It is an evening of mythological harmony. I enjoy seeing the audience actively participating in dress, but it is really great to see a variety show actually have some variety. The theatrics of the evening enhance the atmosphere, and even the details of the décor are impressive, with its columns and thrones and lush drapings. Bacchus would be proud to be so worshipped and entertained. The PLF seems to be putting Richmond on the map for a welcoming subculture, and I look forward to more of their fun-filled themed productions!

Words by Lady J
Images by Todd Raviotta