SuicideGirls: The First Tour
THE MOVIE We here at Baltimore’s Most Skin-Friendly Alternative Weekly are usually way, way pro-nudity. Which is why we’re still scratching our heads after growing bored with all the nubile tattooed nudity in SuicideGirls: The First Tour, because it was starting to make us feel, well, icky. Don’t get us wrong: major props to SuicideGirls.com founder Missy Suicide for combining her love of pinup girl photography with all her alt-culture women friends. Bring on recognizing the beautiful heliophobic goth women, the snarling punk women, the curvy tattoo women, and the bright-green-haired women—and the interviews with Missy that celebrate just that at the beginning of First Tour had us very excited about a playful middle finger to conventional notions of beauty.
But strange things go afoot on the way from talking the talk and walking the walk during the SuicideGirls debut 2004 burlesque road show, as seen through the women spotlighted here. Each performer—named for dead Republican presidents (Reagan, Nixon), foreign cities (Sicily, London), and white things (Pearl, Snow); surely there is some circuitous calculus to determine your SuicideGirls name—is the subject of a four-part mini featurette: an introduction, an interview, a segment from a live performance, and a video diary of a photo shoot. And it’s hard to buy SG’s radical subversion of beauty when they’re all wispy, skinny white women who happen to be tattooed and pierced, favor the wet look of S&M vinyl wear or ripped jeans, and prolly have their own personal copy of The Night Porter cued to Charlotte Rampling’s cabaret dance. OK, it’s kinda cool to see that young women touring on the road are just as rowdy as young men—pranking each other, blasting the punk rock, drinking too much, etc.—but every stop culminates with a club party scene where guys in fauxhawks and leather jackets ogle tits and ass like any other bunch of reptilian dudes. And, you know, being Girls Gone Wild for a hipper audience is pretty effing lame.
THE DISC That suspicion is hammered home by the DVD option to watch the movie sans talk—just the live stripping and photo shoots—which not only cuts the running time in half but enables you to enjoy all the nasty bits without having to think about them as people. (You go, girls.) The rest of the options are even more tired: a video scrapbook with musical accompaniment documenting a trip to the tattoo parlor (how 1992); a featurette about the SG’s retaliation on tour mate Bloom’s van, after the band dirtied up the SG’s van; outtakes from interviews with the refreshingly smart Missy; and the Probot video to “Shake Your Blood,” which is overpopulated with SGs. Again, prude we mos def are not. But the next time we want smart smut, we’ll just wait for the next Charm City Kitty Club.