Super Sunday: Archaeology and Burlesque

The day started on a bad note as I stared at the Yogurtland and realized I forgot to clip the damn coupon. . .
On the other foot, I got from Pasadena to UCLA in two hours! You have no idea how amazing that is: 40 minutes to downtown, wait for the subway, about 10 minutes on the subway, wait for the Wilshire Express, 40 minutes on the 720 to Westwood if there’s no traffic–and there’s never traffic on the weekend, thankfully–then usually a half hour walk from Wilshire to the center of campus. . . and this time I even stopped at Subway and Jamba. Luckily neither place had a line, but on the other hand I had an hour to kill, not enough to go to the library–and do the hill–but enough for a leisurely lunch while I took in some women’s soccer, the happening place on campus because it was the emptiest I’ve ever seen UCLA. . .
Okay, on to the Egyptology! The 10th annual Wep-waut {Opener of Ways} is all about Amarna this year, specifically religious change and daily life in the city of Akhenaten.
Historian James Henry Breasted considered Akhenaten “the first individual in history,” as well as the first monotheist, romantic, and scientist. Henry Hall’s take was “the first example of the scientific mind.” Flinders Petrie, one of my fave archaeologists–visit his museum next time you’re in London–said all the way back in 1899, “If this were a new religion, invented to satisfy our modern scientific conceptions, we could not find a flaw in the correctness of this view of the energy of the solar system. How much Akhenaten understood, we cannot say, but he certainly bounded forward in his views and symbolism to a position which we cannot logically improve upon at the present day. Not a rag of superstition or of falsity can be found clinging to this new worship evolved out of the old Aton of Heliopolis, the sole Lord of the universe.”
This didn’t get off to a good start either, as the first speaker, oddly enough a communications major, communicated on way to low a level; she basically gave a lecture on the internet for junior high students. {Go ahead and hum The Internet is for Porn!} She could have easily plugged in any subject; I felt insulted. She also used “we have to ask ourselves” about a dozen times; I was counting the seconds for it to be over. . .
The next lady was much better, talking about the religious changeover; only problem was she had a huge accent. I hadn’t known that it was actually Amenhotep III that started the change in religion, rather than Amenhotep IV–the artist presently known as Akhenaten. Amun was the previous god of gods, but one theory said those priests became too powerful, so the pharaoh elevated Aten, the sun, to cut their power. {Hopefully you read yesterday’s blog, the weekly poetry entry.} Amenhotep III proclaimed himself god on earth, not just the representation of god on earth, which was a huge game changer. Akhenaten took it to another level by making the priests completely obsolete, proclaiming himself the only conduit of god on earth, a big shift from worshiping gods to worshiping the king.
I never thought about it before, but the temples of the sun had no roof. . . to let the sun in, duh. I did know the duat was the Underworld, where the sun travels throughout the night rather than a stereotypical hell–that made me feel a little better.
Next up was the guy who talked about the hymn from yesterday’s blog, so read that again or for the first time.
After him was a talk on personal religion, where it seemed the pharaoh didn’t care if commoners worshiped him or the sun; he just needed the rich and influential people to toe the line. Many of the remains in common houses were idols and such of the old gods, for the protection of women and children, for instance. One thing that surprised me was the mention of police patrols. . .
After the first question period, the screen–of a small stuffed animal in front of some ruins–went into screensaver mode, and I have to admit those bubbles look a lot funnier on a big screen. . .
The next section was on more physical things, starting with the geography and layout of the city of Amarna. Apparently there was a “royal road” that led from the north palace–which apparently had a zoo–all the way to the Maruaten in the south, supposedly the party palace, with a pool and greyhounds. After that came a lecture on the Amarna Letters, which really deserves a blog of its own, as well as the use of Akkadian as the lingua franca which was a lot more interesting than I would have expected.
Following that was a piece on faience and glass, which didn’t interest me very much until the little blonde put up a photo of a fish vessel in the British Museum that I’ve seen many times and love, except I always thought it was ceramic. {For those in the not-know, Egyptian faience is something a lot like glass, but not quite.} Then there was a headrest that looks a lot like one in the Fowler museum, a few feet above us, which was also made of glass; I don’t know if I’d rest my head on that, considering it seems fragile. Then she said the blue parts of the Tut mask were made of glass, which really shocked me, since it looks like lapiz.
Next up was a piece on the workmen’s villages, and the first thing I noticed was the wall around the village, for protection. . . but from what? Wasn’t said. Fun was the Deir-el-Medina Great Pit: 52 meters deep and full of discarded artistry. Following that was a piece on tombs, dovetailing nicely with the cemetery analysis that went after. Some interesting forensic thinking, especially on the third section, with the mass graves and many teens.
The last speaker was all about museum ethics and politics, with the main gist being Nefertiti’s bust. This was exactly what I came to see, too bad it was the last one. That also deserves its own blog, and I might do that soon. . . {is that a threat or a. . . never mind}
Tootled off right after, but still missed the Sunset bus and had to wait for the next, which as usual was annoying–I am definitely not good at waiting, at least not. . . never mind. Once it did pick up, it took about an hour to get to El Cid, which if you know El Lay is kinda across the street from the old KCET Studios on Sunset, just before Silver Lake. Even though I still had half of my Subway bacon and egg on wheat, I went into McD’s for some fries. . . and to use the restroom, of course. From there it was a couple of blocks’ walk to the venue, which to my surprise was open early. . . well, the patio was, with people talking loudly and smoking. Took almost an hour to get the indoors stuff resolved, and like I said, I’m no good at waiting. Don’t know who the guy was trying to impress, but he bought me a drink, so I’ll give him the doubtful benefit as he and his buddy talked like their lives were soap operas, with me as a captive audience. So long and boring I deployed my Kindle, and I really don’t care if it’s considered rude. . .
Finally inside, I get placed at a large table that has me facing sideways away from the stage, so right before the show finally starts I turn my chair toward the stage, with the girl two seats in front of me staring and then laughing when she finally gets it.
First up was the comic duo of Mr. Snapper and Mr. Buddy, who were extremely Vaudville, with some Laurel and Hardy and a dash of Benny Hill–one joke was a direct copy. Biggest laugh was when the silent one pulled a kazoo out of his pants for his partner to play. . .
From backstage comes a voice that has haunted my dreams–in a good way–urging everyone to applaud and “throw small children in the air!” Since this month’s burlesque theme is “Around the Globes”–yes, those globes–the one and only Vixen DeVille leads out the {Doll House Betties} in a Spice Girls tribute. . . yep, their most painful song. Cat–excuse me, Vixen–was by far the hottest lady, although the redhead. . . at least from that distance. . .
After that Vixen takes the mic, pulling down her miniskirt even though it hardly mattered at that point, and went into her trademark hilarious and naughty patter:
“Blinded by the light and my own narcissism. . .”
“Harmonious thought, that’s the idea for tonight. . . and tits.”
“I’ve got tits instead of humor. . . the worse the jokes, the bigger they get.”
At one point she introduced the “stage kittens,” who were basically the clean-up crew after every act–in skimpy lingerie–while the band played the Pink Panther theme.
First and most memorable of the acts was Ruby Champagne, clad in Mexican folkloric attire, down to the hat on the floor, looking like a Latina Kat Parsons with a huge smile that never left. In addition to noticing how gorgeous she was, I also spotted some huge heels–she must really be short–as she stripped down to her pasties. I couldn’t help but notice–shut up–she also had the most beautiful body of all the acts I saw. . .
Next up was Debbie Dagger, who did a Spanish dance with a huge fan, singing a song about Carmen–the chick from the opera. I noticed the sax guy also played flute, which is generally considered a girls’ instrument, but here it just seemed cool. Debbie really beat the lyrics to a pulp, especially on the accent of “I’m everybody’s goil” and “Smart girls share their riches.” There was also one of the best rhymes I’ve heard in a while: Disappointed–double-jointed.
Vixen does not come out to do her hosting duties; instead Debbie is shoved back out and does not look happy. A few seconds later we know why, especially when she says, “Hopefully not to soon be bleeding, Vixen Deville!” So, an “unexpected” treat: Vixen doing her glass walking–and lying down–routine, though I was sitting too low to see it all. I did notice the band watching in amazement. . .
After that the Kittens came back out, and you could tell they didn’t like picking up the loose shards of glass. Debbie tries to keep on going, but the mic isn’t working, until finally it does and she croons, “Thank you, sound god!” I can imagine the guy in the booth saying something like, “You only have to call me that in bed,” but guess he wasn’t quick enough. Since Vixen is still climbing out of her glass-repellent gear, Debbie has to introduce the next act, which you know is Italian when she starts with “The lovely–” but quickly changes it to “The bella!”
After that Vixen was back to her hosting duties, in a long slinky black dress that definitely showed she was thinner than the last time I saw her. {Told her that on Facebook; apparently that line always works. . .} She introduces the next act as the “Sexual contraption of death!” but is actually a trapeze, albeit one that’s heavily padded. A redhead in an awesome and slinky red/black dress plays a marionette to start things, using imaginary scissors to cut off her strings, leaving her free to do all her stunts, which were cool but nothing I hadn’t seen before. . . or barely seen, as she was in a dark part of the restaurant.
The Spice Girls–minus Vixen–come out for an all-American beach-themed dance, and I am loving the redhead even more! At intermission Vixen claims the first half was all fluffer–I really need to ask her where she learned that term. In the restroom line I’m waiting next to a man who has to be in his 70s–at least–who claims he’s an actor and model. . . didn’t say he used to be a model, he’s still current, for those who need to hire such a brand. Back in my seat I smirk as the house music is. . . Raiders of the Lost Ark! Considering it came up earlier on my player’s shuffle, and I spent the afternoon in archaeology, it all came together quite nicely; even the guitarist wearing the fedora, and keyboard guy dressed as Short Round. I realize for the first time that the middle part, where it gets softer, sounds a lot like Star Wars. . . thanks, John Williams.
Didn’t care for the other music, so I hadn’t noticed how much this sound system sucks! Murky and deep, like it was coming through some thick filter.
Back to the show, with most likely Debbie screaming, “This bitch is on fire!” That of course tells us it’s time for Vixen to get lighted up! As you may recall from a previous blog–at least look at the main photo at the top of the page–she’s a fire-eater, but unlike the previous times I got to see her full show this time, where she runs the burning sticks along her legs, stomach, the inside of her thighs. Unlike the previous shows, Vixen has her hair ponytailed–hey, I invented another verb!–which I thought was so her hair doesn’t catch on fire, but then why didn’t she do it before? Conundrum. . .
And that was the last act I saw, as I had to dash; 15 minute walk to the subway, about 7-minute wait, 15 minutes to downtown, and then another 15 minute wait to catch the last bus of the evening. Sorry to Micah the Magician for not staying for his show. . .
Unfortunately photography was not permitted, though I’m okay since I have the previous shots of Vixen. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have minded grabbing some stills of Ruby and the Redhead. . . before they stripped, of course. . .



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