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Power strip: Comic-book characters take it off at Nerdlesque Fest

Pussy power: Lefty Lucy, the executive producer of the Nerdlesque Festival, performed as Kitty Pryde from the X-Men at last year’s festival.
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They’ll leave their glasses on!

Sexy supervillains and sultry science-fiction creatures will shimmy onto a Coney Island stage as part of a nerdy, three-day burlesque festival starting on April 27. This is the fourth year of the Nerdlesque Festival, but its first year in the borough of Kings. Staging the event at Coney Island USA celebrates the resurgence of the nerdy neighborhood after years of post-Hurricane Sandy cleanup, said the event’s executive producer.

“I was visiting Coney Island with a friend last summer, and I cried on top of the Wonder Wheel because Coney Island is back — it was so exciting to see,” said Lefty Lucy, who won the title of “Miss Coney Island” in 2010 and 2011 and called the community home before she moved to New Orleans. “It occurred to me that this would be the perfect place for the festival, because Coney Island has been the backbone of neo- and nerdy burlesque for the past 30 years — and it has a special place in my heart.”

During the shows on Friday and Saturday night, some of the striptease queens will take on characters that might not seem obviously sexy, said Lucy, who plans to perform while cross-undressed as Batman villain the Riddler.

For instance, she is looking forward to watching Seattle’s Trixie Paprika portray the know-it-all Hermione from the “Harry Potter” books, and seeing Oakland’s Boysinberry Cupcake play an Ewok from “Return of the Jedi,” she said.

“Both of those acts are really perfect nerdlesque acts — they’re really strong characterizations, and the music choices are fun,” she said.

“My favorite thing is to take something that you wouldn’t think is sexy and have fun with it. What it demonstrates is that what we’re told is sexy and what is sexy are different — what is sexy is having confidence and fun and enjoying your life.”

In addition to the performances, the weekend will feature networking sessions, critiques, and classes for aspiring stage queens, including a “wiggle workshop and workout” and a class on fully embodying your character — the latter taught by Park Slope burlesque legend Nasty Canasta, who wants performers to make their portrayals unique.

“My biggest criteria for nerdlesque is that people are actually adding something to the character — a lot of what I try to do with my own performance and encourage in performers I work with is to go beyond the obvious, ‘I dressed like the character and took off the costume,’ ” said Canasta, who will also host the Saturday night show. “How do you make this your own thing?”

Lucy said the event is a great gathering for performers who want to join others and let their freak flag fly.

“As burlesque grows, it’s harder to be a community, and the best thing we can do is create the community that we want,” she said.

Nerdlesque Festival at Coney Island USA (1208 Surf Ave. at W. 12th Street in Coney Island, www.thenerdlesquefest.com). April 27–29. $40 ($30 in advance, $55 both nights).

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 11:57 am, April 23, 2018
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