With respect to Chubby Checker and “The Twist,” don’t twist your chubby, fellas.
Not unless you’re the cock-a-doodle twosome of Puppetry of the Penis. Otherwise, you’ll earn a scolding from your urologist. Or emasculating giggles from your sig-other when some shapes can’t be delivered with your package (particularly, “The Loch Ness Monster”). Yet these, shall we say, prickly entertainers—attached to the “puppets” are Rich Binning and Andrew Fitch—make it appear natural (which itself is creepy).
After 17 years of performing “genital origami” to international audiences, public penile manipulators have a home at the Erotic Heritage Museum’s appropriately named Jewel Box venue. And it’s as fascinatingly freaky as advertised.
On a surely typical night—with a crowd comprised of a gay-guy contingent, a girls-night-out party of middle-age, liquor-lubed moms (shouting “WE WANT DICK!”) and more than a few AARP-aged ladies—comic Kristeen Von Hagen handled the warm-up (foreplay?) with a funny, not-overly-raunchy set. (Why overdo it?)
Then entered the caped-and-robed pickle-pullers who soon disrobed to a whoosh of gasps, giggles and WOO-HOOs!
Let’s face it: Making balloon animals out of your junk is on the level of what boys do in school locker rooms before discovering better usages for their appendages. Still, you’ve got to admire the twisted invention of what these dudes do, integrated with creative lighting and backdrop video.
Gentlemen, you’ll want to grab the nearest ice pack just watching them use three built-in props—penis, testicles, scrotum (OK, technically four)—to create such figures as: a pelican (a scrotum tour de force); hot dogs and hamburgers (which could affect your post-show dining); a brain (give it up for the gonads on that one); the evil eye (just as you’d imagine); Gene Simmons’ tongue (scrotum, take another bow) and their new, testicular masterpiece, “The Kim Kardashian.”
Think there’s no dignity here? Watch their creation of no less than the Olympic torch (to which one overheated mom yelled, “I’ll bet I can blow it out!”).
There’s tons more (don’t ask me to explain how they turn male equipment into female counterparts), but what’s essential is the charming silliness of Binning and Fitch. Enormously likable blokes, they cavort with childish glee (strumming their schlongs like air guitars) and impish humor, trading naughty quips with patrons and even racing through the crowd, swinging naked in the air-conditioned breeze.
(Surely, the A-C helps prevent, uh, prop rigidity, which would curtail the necessary flexibility.)
Employing video, they contort their junk into plane propellers, juxtaposing it against video recalling the crop-duster chase in North by Northwest. In another moment intertwining shadow lighting and filmed footage, testicles appear to be pummeled like punching bags. And an interactive bit with a female volunteer must be seen rather than explained.
Funny is funny and clever is clever, even in temporarily turning adult audiences into crotch-obsessed 8-year-olds.
Who knows whether Puppetry of the Penis will have performance stamina at the niche-appeal Erotic Heritage Museum on glam-less Industrial Road. Then again, maybe someday this stretch-fest will get booked into Caesars Phallus.
Got an entertainment tip? Email Steve.Bornfeld@VegasSeven.com.