Schtick A Pole In It

I’m not sure why Joanna Ross decided to combine stand-up comedy with pole dancing for her Schtick A Pole In It event, but the two things complement each other unexpectedly well, as I found out at R Bar on Saturday.

Lara Michaels photo by Yuri Kubota

Lara Michaels, the first dancer, walked on in a black sequined bikini top and shorts.  Lara’s height and classical ballet training make her pole moves elegant and flowing.  She folded into and stretched away from the pole like a glittering orchid.

The show was full of visually stunning moments and also a lot of laughs.  My favorite comedian of the night, Rob Cantrell told jokes about cats and books.

“Do you like animals?” he asked.

When the audience roared in approval, he said, “Of course you do, unless you’re a dick.”

“Do you know what I like about cats?” he asked.  “They purr.  They’re in touch with the Universe so they know they’re safe and they just start vibrating in ecstasy.  Wouldn’t it be great if people did that?  If you saw your friend vibrating by the bar, you’d think this is a good time to hit him up for $50.”

He described libraries as slutty versions of bookstores.  “If you go into a bookstore, you buy one book for $25.  That one book is only yours.  It’s just for you.  If you go into a library and see a book you want, the librarian says, 'Take it.  Everyone’s read it.  Just bring it back when you’re done with it.'”

“These are not strippers,” Joanna told the audience.

“They don’t take their clothes off,” yelled an audience member.

“Also, they don’t text while they’re on stage,” said Joanna.

Photo by Schtick A Pole In It

Brynlyn Loomis walked in like a golden fantasy with birdwing-long eyelashes.  Her moves were so sexy that men sitting nearby told each other to, "Look at that," and audibly moaned.

Wendy Traskos, owner of NYPD, gave a feisty performance, making gunshot sounds by slamming her shoes into the wooden floor and ending with a back flip.

The final performance was a double act called GabriAnna, featuring Gabrielle Valliere and Anna Grundstrom.  Wearing men’s jackets and hats, they danced to “Hey Big Spender,” sometimes moving in synchronization, then twisting around each other, and finally bringing on comedian Dan Goodman to give him a double lap dance.

Dan Goodman is Joanna’s boyfriend and they both made jokes about recently moving in together. Even if Dan and Joanna may not agree about all the finer points of living together, such as whether forks belong under sofa cushions, they share the notion that pole dancing and comedy go together.  The line of people who came to see the sold out show seemed to support this idea.

The next Schtick A Pole In It will be on February 23 at R Bar.  Get there early if you want to get in.

Post Pole Picks

Anna Grundstrom in Skinja

This morning, I saw the movie trailer for Skinja, a movie about a stripper turned ninja.  It stars NYPD instructor, Anna Grundstrom, who recently performed with the Pulse Project at the US Pole Dance Championship.  Three other NYPD instructors feature in the film: Gabrielle Valliere, Caitlin Goddard and Laura Ganzero.  Gabrielle and Caitlin also competed in the championship along with Brynlyn Loomis, another NYPD teacher.  Their performances in the competition were stunning and I’m looking forward to seeing them immortalized in this film.

Gabrielle Valliere, runner up 2011 Pole Dancing Championship

I've found the instruction at NYPD to be exemplary. Lessons are challenging but still enjoyable, due to the skill of the instructors.  Most of the morning students are business professionals or college students taking pole classes for fitness, fun and the satisfaction of learning a new skill. Many of the evening students are experts seeking to refine their art.

Even though the heroine of Skinja is a stripper by night, and a ninja by later that night, the story still has elements of female empowerment. It also looks pretty funny.  Soon I hope that pole fitness will be accepted as the skilled sport that it is.