Minx Arcana, “immortal”; burlesque performer; Bushwick, Brooklyn
"I’m actually doing a doomsday act. I’ve always been really interested in how cult leaders get their following. So many people in cults are really smart, doctors or people with master’s degrees, but they’re alone and need the community a cult provides."
Dangrrr Doll, “legal!”; costume designer; Ridgewood, Queens
"I’m a serious videogamer, so gaming burlesque is a big deal for me. Pop culture icons let you see yourself in them. 50 people could tribute Batman and it would look different on everyone. As for dystopia, people are obsessed with things ending—I do my 1984 act, and people always comment that the most amazing part of the book is how many things have come true."
Anja Keister, soon to be 29; burlesque performer and producer; Crown Heights, Brooklyn
"Dystopia and post-apocalyptica is a common fantasy setting for games because its something we all wonder about. Its about testing your mettle, and the end of the world is a shared experience—do you and your friends have what it takes?"
Vonka Romanoff, "21 for the third time"; new burlesquer and BDSM adventurer, central New Jersey
"This was my first time with D20, so I was ecstatic to be involved. My act is a character I’m really passionate about. To turn this fandom into an act was really something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. The last time I wore this costume I was 17!"
Tiny D, “young at heart”; burlesque dancer and Zumba instructor; Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
"I’m really into apocalypse stories and I'm addicted to The Walking Dead. From a young age, I was watching Mad Max with my family. My husband and I actually keep a Go Bag—we were more prepared for Hurricane Sandy than anyone. We actually need to update our bags."
Ruby Solitaire, burlesque performer; Astoria, Queens
“Gaming is something I’ve gotten more into in the past few years, and combined with burlesque, it’s a mostly socially acceptable way to keep playing dress-up. I like dystopia because it acts as a warning. Plus, I have a huge crush on Vin Diesel, so Riddick was a natural choice for me.”
The scene: D20 Burlesque’s Fallout Follies and Dystopian Dollies
If it’s the end of the world as we know it, then leave it to the gaming-obsessed women of D20 Burlesque to put on another of their dystopia-themed shows at the Parkside Lounge. Inspirations ranged from live-action role-play games to classic prophecy-inspired literature, with a few nods to real-life doomsday cults thrown in for good measure. Sure, the societies that D20 honored may have gone awry—but the performances were an apocalyptic hoot.