Scroll To Top

Past Perfect

Past Perfect


Downtown Los Angeles hot spot Edison -- tucked in the depths of the historic Higgins Building -- is the showcase for a new hypersexualized vaudeville performance troupe.

In a hidden alleyway behind a desolate street in downtown Los Angeles is the entrance to the Edison. It looks quaint, with a smoking room to the left and a demure hallway down the right, not hinting at the elaborate, gargantuan space that lies below. Tucked in the basement of the historic Higgins Building -- once a power plant -- is an underworld that spans 10,000 square feet and instantly catapults you back in time, landing you somewhere between the Victorian era and Prohibition.

Descending the staircase, one is treated to sights from all directions. Original boiler-room machinery sets a turn-of-the-century industrial tone, while leather lounge seats beckon patrons toward curved wooden bars. Silent movies starring Louise Brooks play above the stage while modern-day, tattooed Brooks look-alikes in bobs and flapper get-ups saunter past.

Male employees wearing bowler hats, white shirts, and suspenders deliver drinks ranging from period classics to James Bond's famous Vesper martini to something even more decidedly anachronistic -- like perhaps a Scharffen Berger chocolate martini. Dark red-hued walls shimmer under candlelight flickering from faux-antique lamps. A woman stands in the corner with a tray full of lightbulbs filled with glowing absinthe.

Designed by Andrew Meieran, the Edison is the perfect setting for the Lucent Dossier vaudeville troupe of fire-breathers, belly dancers, trapeze artists, and otherwise confoundingly skilled performers currently taking up residence every Wednesday night.

Performances take place throughout the evening and throughout the venue, with attention-grabbing acts occurring every 15 minutes or so. The troupe is dressed in tattered, muted, turn-of-the-century costumes reminiscent of those in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film TheCity of Lost Children, a look that fits in perfectly with the Edison's moody atmosphere where the industrial past meets the future. Bygone-era outfits are paired with futuristic makeup designs painted on faces and bodies; likewise, some performances are set to old-world ditties while others are accompanied by industrial techno.

Between acts, roving performers interact with audience members on the floor -- sometimes passively (one performer hugged me because she said she thought I was snuggly), sometimes aggressively (think dirty dancing). Amid the highlights was a man in pantaloons twirling in a hoop suspended from the ceiling's center.

More inventive and quirky was the Creative Station, where a woman -- who was donning a beautifully weathered, corseted Victorian dress and a teeny hat perched jauntily to the side -- encouraged audience members to make watercolor paintings and gave out good-luck creative energy stones.

Such diversions were worlds classier than some of the troupe's hypersexualized dance numbers, which conjured a Janet Jackson video more readily than 1930s vaudeville. In the case of Lucent Dossier's mixed bag of performance art, newer wasn't necessarily improved, and the past seemed perfect.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Tricia Romano