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What you need to know for 06/26/2017

Suicide Girls hope 'Blackheart' show kills in Clifton Park

Suicide Girls hope 'Blackheart' show kills in Clifton Park

Racy routine at Upstate Concert Hall
Suicide Girls hope 'Blackheart' show kills in Clifton Park
The Suicide Girls' Blackheart Burlesque tour visits Upstate Concert Hall on Tuesday night.
Photographer: photo provided

Career suicide, for most people, is something to avoid.

Suicide as a career, for others, is something to embrace.

Six women who believe in the latter will bring racy and rambunctious attitudes to Upstate Concert Hall on Tuesday: The "Suicide Girls' Blackheart Burlesque" tour will play Clifton Park -- the only upstate New York stop on a schedule that includes Los Angeles, New York City, Denver, Houston, Orlando and Atlanta.

Sexy outfits are all part of the plan, for both Suicide Girls on stage and on an online community-based website that features pin-up photos of women wearing sexy clothing or often zero clothing - just elaborate tattoos, bright-colored hair and multiple piercings.

The show will put Suicide Girls into lingerie and "Star Wars'" storm trooper helmets, outfits inspired by the "Sailor Moon" cartoon and recent television hits such as HBO's "Westworld" and Netflix's "Stranger Things."

"It's a pop culture-themed burlesque show, so it incorporates sort of cosplay and pop culture influences like TV, movies, comic books, video games," said Selena Mooney, also known as "Missy Suicide," who founded the website with Sean Suhl in 2001. "We take those influences and set them to a kick-ass modern soundtrack and we put in the cosplay, take in some of the sexy spirit of traditional burlesque, mix it all together and we come up with our incredible show."

Burlesque used to be the combination of comedy and striptease popular in vaudeville. Cosplay was never a part of the old shows - now, young women and men strive to manufacture and show off authentic versions of costumes worn in comic books, movies, TV shows and video games.

Suicide Girls have become popular in other media - there's been a comic book series and group members have been portrayed by actresses in shows such as "Californication."

The show will put young women in lingerie, and some of those tops and bottoms will come off. "There are pasties and panties," Mooney said. "No real nudity."

Still, the Los Angeles-based show has run into trouble in the past.

In May 2016, the "Blackheart" show at O'Brians Events Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, was cancelled because the Suicide producers failed to obtain a license under Saskatoon's adult services bylaw, which affects any service "of an adult nature appealing to or designed to appeal to erotic or sexual appetites or inclinations."

There was no advance word about the cancellation; the troupe had played the venue the previous year and had booked for 2016, unaware that a new law had been passed. People who had purchased tickets arrived at the events center and learned the show had been cancelled.

"We ended up hosting a pizza party for the fans," Mooney said. "We had a Q-and-A and everyone got to hang out with the girls."

There were photo ops. Suicide Girls like cameras and posing, they're part of the SG method of operation.

"You have to be fiercely independent and not want to fit into a box, not want to fit into the cookie cutter mold of what is perceived as perfect," Mooney said. "You live life your own way and be confident and comfortable with who you are."

While models and dancers are known for colors in both their hair - the cobalt blues, deep purples and neon reds - and on their shoulders, arms and legs, blondes and redheads without ink are welcome to apply for a spot on the Suicide squad.

"We have plenty of girls who don't have any tattoos," Mooney said. "We have girls with small tattoos, girls with no tattoos, girls with normal-colored hair, girls of all shapes and sizes."

Mooney added that 3,000 young women are currently on the Suicide roster. The names are almost always colorful: "Venom Suicide," "Plum Suicide," "Waikiki Suicide," "Lethal Suicide" and "Viking Suicide" are all on the team. "Sunny Suicide," from New York, will hostess the Clifton Park show.

Mooney started the group to give young women with bright ink and hair a place where they could meet others who shared their ideas about body appearance and fashion. In 2001, she thought her friends - and their visions of color and appearance - were beautiful.

"But I felt there was no reflection of them in mainstream media," Mooney said.

The name of the group reflects the "different and proud" attitude. "They choose to commit social suicide by choosing not to fit in," Mooney said.

Photo shoots are up to individual Suicide Girls. Mooney maintains the woman are proud of their appearances, and the images posted are generally the model's vision.

"The female nude form is the most celebrated subject matter in all our history," Mooney said. "If you go into any art gallery in the world, you're going to see more nudity than you see on Suicide Girls."

People who attend the live shows, Mooney added, are already into the Suicide Girls scene.

"They tend to kind of look like the Suicide Girls, pierced or tattooed, interested in comic books or cosplay," Mooney said.

But the shows get other people, too.

"I was at a San Diego show and there was an older gentleman, he was in his 60s and in a wheelchair," Mooney said. "He was like, 'I've been a fan of Suicide Girls, I've seen you on Showtime and I've been a big fan ever since.' He said he was really excited to come to the show and said, 'Thanks, you guys have been a huge influence in my life.' I was like, 'Wow!'"

If guys in the audience get ornery, there's never a great worry. Suicide Girls don't put up with any foolishness.

"The girls are pretty bad ass," Mooney said. "They can take care of themselves."

Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124, at wilkin@dailygazette.com or@jeffwilkin1 on Twitter.

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