A Night at the Moulin Rouge: Geek Can Cans

A Night at the Moulin Rouge.  Photo by Jacob John.

A Night at the Moulin Rouge. Photo by Jacob John.

About a year ago the Cheap Chick and I were talking about entering the masquerade at CONvergence for 2013.  We were trying to come up with a fun idea that a lot of people could do, that would express different personalities, and would be different than what we had seen before.

We had previously discussed the idea of doing the Can Cans from the movie “Moulin Rouge.”  Each dancer in the movie represents a different male fantasy:  schoolgirl, baby-doll, dominatrix, etc.  Then it occurred to us – why not do Can Cans of GEEK fantasies?

Suzette as Nurse Chapel from Star Trek.  Upper dress or "skant" was made from a Roddenberry pattern, and her ruffles and bloomers are Star Trek fabric.

Suzette as Nurse Chapel from Star Trek. Upper dress or “skant” was made from a Roddenberry pattern, and her ruffles and bloomers are Star Trek fabric.

Thus the entire performance idea was built upon that premise.  The various dancers could really be anyone, but several things we knew for certain – we would need a well-known male character as emcee, we would need a well-known male character as a client, and we needed to end the performance with Slave Leia as our version of Satine.  Because when it comes right down to it, who is more iconic than Slave Leia?

The lovely Erin as Slave Leia.  Her outfit was a mix of leather, Sculpy and wire.

The lovely Erin as Slave Leia. Her outfit was a mix of leather, Sculpy and wire.

It seemed like EVERYONE wanted to be a part of the group.  At one point we had almost 30 people signed up.  The final total was 16, which worked out well because there was barely enough room on the stage for all of us.

Maven as Jessica Rabbit.  To fake the low back of the dress while still being supportive, Maven sewed a faux skin panel of heavy knit onto the back of the bodice, worn over a corset.  She also was the only person with a slit in her skirt.

Maven as Jessica Rabbit. To fake the low back of the dress while still being supportive, Maven sewed a faux skin panel of heavy knit onto the back of the bodice, worn over a corset. She also was the only person with a slit in her skirt.

There was much discussion as to music.  The can can music from the movie was too fast, and many of the people performing were not actually dancers.  We thought a geek song would be fun.  After considering things like “Tonight I’m Frakking You“, the Star Wars Cantina song, and “Geek and Gamer Girls,” we wound up using a traditional Can Can song right at the beginning that was interrupted with a record scratch.  Then “Do You Want to Date my Avatar?” started playing.  Of course we would then need a Codex.

Arte as Codex from The Guild.  Each of her ruffles on her underskirt represented a different character.

Arte as Codex from The Guild. Each of her ruffles on her underskirt represented a different character.

Our original emcee was going to be Mal from Firefly, but he had to drop out of the group.  We scrambled to find a replacement and were fortunate that Apollo was able to do it.  He is well known locally for his outstanding Jareth impersonation, and he made a great emcee and got a huge round of applause.

Apollo as Jareth.  Jacket made by Rae Lindquist.

Apollo as Jareth. Jacket made by Rae Lindquist.

People flew in from all over to participate and came up with some really brilliant ideas.

Sahrazara as The Firefly Crew.  Jayne hat, Wash shirt, Zoe vest, Inara necklace, Browncoat, Kaylee overalls/skirt and the ruffles underneath were from Kaylee's shindig dress.

Sahrazara as The Firefly Crew. Jayne hat, Wash shirt, Zoe vest, Inara necklace, Browncoat, Kaylee overalls/skirt and the ruffles underneath were from Kaylee’s shindig dress.

We had recent geek stuff and older stuff too.

Clare as Teela from Masters of the Universe.  Her jacket is leather, and she has a wizard on her bloomers.  The Cheap Chick as old school Wonder Woman with her golden lasso.  Leather bracers and crown made by Eric Horn.

Clare as Teela from Masters of the Universe. Her jacket is leather, and she has a wizard on her bloomers. The Cheap Chick as old school Wonder Woman with her golden lasso. Leather bracers and crown made by Eric Horn.

LV as Lady Hobbit.  She got fake toes and ears and even painted the toenails on her fake feet.

LV as Lady Hobbit. She got fake toes and ears and even painted the toenails on her fake feet.

Some people didn’t want to do a particular person, but instead a concept.

Mel as Steampunk Saloon Girl Can Can.  Each of her ruffles were different Steampunk fabrics.

Mel as Steampunk Saloon Girl Can Can. Each of her ruffles were different Steampunk fabrics.

Every group needs a villain and we had two that were particularly spectacular.

Jess as Ursula the Sea Witch.  Her tentacles were articulating, and she had the longest fake eyelashes I have ever seen.  People LOVED her.

Jess as Ursula the Sea Witch. Her tentacles were articulating, and she had the longest fake eyelashes I have ever seen. People LOVED her.

Nell as Supervillain Harley Quinn.  Her underskirt was evenly split in black and white.

Nell as Supervillain Harley Quinn. Her underskirt was evenly split in black and white.

We lost a participant at the last minute, and the lovely Maggie jumped in to fill the gap.  I really don’t have a very good photo of her.

Maggie as Clara Oswin Oswald, wearing Grace's costume.  Each ruffle on the underskirt represents a different doctor.  #6 is represented by the different colored panels, and #4 is represented by the knitted spats.

Maggie as Clara Oswin Oswald, wearing Grace’s costume. Each ruffle on the underskirt represents a different doctor. #6 is represented by the different colored panels, and #4 is represented by the knitted spats.

We couldn’t think of a better client (and one more likely to be AT a brothel) than Jack Sparrow.

DK as Jack Sparrow.  Later in the evening she made a particularly winsome Pippi Longstocking.

DK as Jack Sparrow. Later in the evening she made a particularly winsome Pippi Longstocking.

Grace agreed to participate with me, and she was a big help in doing make-up for others.  Her USO girl was modified to add a can can skirt.

Grace as a USO Girl and I am Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler.

Grace as a USO Girl and I am Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler.

I decided we needed a bit of comic relief in the show.  Previously I had considered doing Xena (I’m not buff enough), Elvira (TOO much cleavage) and a Doctor Who can can.  Then I decided I wanted to do something fun and silly, and because she is one of my favorite TV characters and known in geek culture, I chose Amy.  Who else would be less appropriate as a sexy can can dancer?

With my smoking monkey.

With my smoking monkey.

The gag worked well and I spent the rest of the night partying as Amy.  It was pretty fun.

We were lucky enough to win Best Master for our presentation, losing out on Best in Show to an absolutely inspired group who did a Black Adder impression.  The noise of the crowd was so loud that we missed one of our end cues, but we got the end right so it looked as if we did it on purpose.  It was terribly fun performing, and everyone had a great time there.  The preparation was fraught with frustration, consternation and late hours of sewing, but the end was worth it.

The Amy costume was the cheapest and least time consuming costume I have ever made.  The only things sewn on it were the skirt and the monkey bloomers.  The sweater and button-down were from Old Navy.  This was convenient, as I spent a lot of time helping other people and doing Grace and Maggie’s skirts too.

It really was a blast, and each and every one of those women (and Apollo) were devoted to their costume, took the time to really show their character in the design, and to put their all into the performance.  I am lucky to call them friends.

A great big thank you to Christopher Michaela for doing the voice-over for the performance (and Dan for the editing).  His vocals were AMAZING and fit the mood of the show perfectly. Thank you so very much!

Some outtakes from the weekend:

Chocolate to sustain us.

Chocolate to sustain us.

Just keep sewing....

Just keep sewing….

DK as Sinbonnet Sue, Steampunk Style.  Design by Urban Threads.

DK as Sinbonnet Sue, Steampunk Style. Design by Urban Threads.

Saharazara as Jayne Austen.

Saharazara as Jayne Austen.

Suzette as Queen Elizabeth II.

Suzette as Queen Elizabeth II.

Your MNSOC President as a Steampunk Cigarette Girl.

Your MNSOC President as a Steampunk Cigarette Girl.

Arte as Kaylee from Firefly, reinterpreted.

Arte as Kaylee from Firefly, reinterpreted.

Leia finds a sea monster.  Teela is Concerned.

Leia finds a sea monster. Teela is Concerned.

OH BE-HAVE!

OH BE-HAVE!

The Cheap Chick and Big Bird get DOWN.

The Cheap Chick and Big Bird get DOWN.

Pippi and Amy compare unnaturally colored eyebrows.

Pippi and Amy compare unnaturally colored eyebrows.

Arte (behind the suitcase) is a Can Can fall-out.

Arte (behind the suitcase) is a Can Can fall-out.

 

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3 thoughts on “A Night at the Moulin Rouge: Geek Can Cans

  1. Pingback: Update: Malvena Pearl’s Emporium has moved!

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