Doctor Who in New York

As I said yesterday, there are two parts of my holiday that I wanted to tell you about. The first was the amazing vintage and retro clothing that I discovered, and the second was the amount of Doctor Who stuff I found in New York. I mean, I knew that US nerds were as obsessed with the show as us Brits are – many of the essays in Chicks Dig Timelords have taught me that – but I wasn’t prepared for just how much of it I’d find without really looking. My first encounter was in the shop at the New Museum which had a delightfully sci-fi holiday window with Dalek ‘snowmen’ and a TARDIS hanging in the air above a Cylon santa in his sleigh pulled by TIE Fighters. Sadly, we didn’t manage to get any decent photos of this.

Then, on Saturday 7th January we went along to Wasabassco Burlesque‘s spectacular free show in The Bell House in Brooklyn. We were treated to oceans of comical, sparkly and also very inventive burlesque performances – e.g. the delightful Hazel Honeysuckle as a tassel-twirling Cookie Monster – plus some great music, go-go dancing and the spectacular cowboy rope and whip skills of Chris McDaniel. However, fantastic though all that was, that’s not why I wanted to write about the show. Oh no, there was far more fun in store for us sci-fi geeks. In the single most amazing costume I think I have ever seen a burlesque performer wear, we were treated to… Stormy Leather as a Cylon! The metallic, flashy lights kind too. Even those who’d never watched Battlestar Galactica in their lives must surely have enjoyed watching a woman strip robot parts from her body and leave the stage with red lights flashing up and down her spine. But that still wasn’t my highlight though.

Later in the show, our wonderful host Doc Wasabassco announced that the following act would have a sci-fi theme too, based on a long-running British tv show. Then Nasty Canasta, host and producer of Naked Girls Reading NYC, appeared on the stage as an old skool Cyberman and proceeded to remove parts of her costume to the Orbital version of the Doctor Who theme. If that and the union flags on the toe caps of her Doc Marten boots wasn’t enough, she was then handed an angle grinder and the sparks really started to fly! I see from her blog that this was the debut performance of this act and I can tell from the massive amount of applause and screaming that the audience absolutely loved it, so I suspect she’ll probably be doing it again sometime. If you get a chance to see this woman perform, do not pass up the opportunity. There’s a video of the act on her blog for those of us unable to get to her shows due to being stuck on a different continent.

The reason the audience at the Wasabassco show was so nerd-friendly was due in part to the large number of folk there who are regulars at a bar called The Way Station in Brooklyn. It’s a lovely little steampunky place, that looks on first glance just like any other cozy bar with booths and comfy seating. That is, until you spot the TARDIS in the room. Yes, The Way Station’s bathroom does look just like The Doctor’s primary mode of transport, and it also appears to be bigger on the inside too. They have a range of Who-related cocktails and can lend you a sonic screwdriver if you’ve forgotten yours and want to pose for a photo. How could I resist? New York, I couldn’t love you more.

Main image, of The Way Station bar, via forevergeek.com. Image of Nasty Canasta by Linus Gelber.