Steve Murray

Performing Arts Reviews

Broadway Bares

Broadway Bares San Francisco Strips III Top Shelf COCKTAILS: Tales of Sipping & Stripping

The Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation (REAF) Presents…
Broadway Bares San Francisco Strips III
Top Shelf COCKTAILS: Tales of Sipping & Stripping
DNA Lounge, San Francisco, CA, June 17, 2018

Put together a dozen choreographers, nearly 50 volunteer dancers, some outrageous tear-away costumes and the hip, now music of the clubs and you’ve got the recipe for a sensational evening of bawdy strip tease that’ll get your adrenaline flowing and your dollar tips flying. The strip tease is a tried and true art form going back to Salome and her Dance of the Seven Veils. The West Coast little brother of Jerry Mitchell’s long-running AIDS charity Broadway Bares/ Fights AIDS is now in its third incarnation and the talent level keeps getting better and better.

Hosted by bi-coastal superstar Leanne Borghesi, Broadway/TV star Jai Rodriguez and drag sensation Ruby Red Monro, the night’s theme showcased San Francisco bars and saloons and their relationship to LGBTQ history. The groan-worthy sexual jokes between numbers seemed only to allow quick costume changes, but once each number started, the energy level and excitement was thick and hot.

Granted, I’m of the older generation so there were few musical numbers I could recognize. It didn’t really matter much what the thumping beat was, for the crux of this show are the dancers themselves. There were sambas and tangos and a Barbary Coast saloon number, each starting in colorful costumes that one could only imagine how quickly they’d be discarded. I did recognize a few bars from the phenomenal dance scene from Sweet Charity, a snippet of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart”, and Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”. There was a stunning number dedicated to the SF Eagle leather bar involving lighted hula hoops and aerial work done of metal chains.

The Richmond/Ermet AID Foundation has been raising money for deserving local organizations for decades, while since 1988, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $285 million for essential services for people with HIV/AIDS and other critical illnesses in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington DC. Raising these funds is serious business, but how they do it can be ridiculous, silly fun.