Video: Burlesque stars of the nerdlesque scene

We profile five mainstays of nerdlesque, a geeky subgenre of burlesque. Plus, watch a burlesque video or two of their nerdiest numbers.



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With both geek culture and burlesque looming over the mainstream like Ents over a hobbit, it’s no wonder the two have hooked up to spawn the nerdlesque scene. The past few years have seen a proliferation of pop-culture-themed shows inspired by a wide variety of geeky interests, from video games to superheroes, Dr. Seuss to Doctor Who, Star Trek to Star Wars. Here are five key players and burlesque videos of some of their finest moments.

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Nelson Lugo, executive producer of Epic Win Burlesque

Nelson Lugo, executive producer of Epic Win Burlesque Photograph: Ben Trivett

Nelson Lugo, executive producer of Epic Win Burlesque (,

Billed as “for nerds, by nerds,” Epic Win was inspired by a joke back in 2009. “Magdalena Fox mentioned a Lara Croft number she was planning on Facebook,” remembers Lugo, who also moonlights as a magician. “I got so excited I said I’d produce a video-game burlesque night to showcase her—then suddenly [former coproducer] Schäffer the Darklord and I were doing just that.” The one-off was such a success, a troupe was born. Over the past three years, EWB has mounted shows about Ghostbusters, Batman, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and the legendary Star Debate: Trek vs. Wars. This year should be a real game changer for Lugo’s baby: EWB aims to produce 42 different shows, including monthly gigs at R Bar (218 Bowery between Prince and Spring Sts; 212-334-0484, and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (236 E 3rd St between Aves B and C; 212-505-8183,, plus the first-ever Nerdy Burlesque Festival in December. “We love putting on goofy shows for dorky people,” Lugo says. “And we’re going to keep doing it until people stop showing up.” Next event: GeekBoys Burlesque at R Bar, 218 Bowery between Prince and Spring Sts (212-334-0484, Feb 2 at 8pm; $10.

His nerdiest numbers: Card tricks using a Magic: The Gathering deck; instead of a rabbit in a hat, pulling a 15-foot Dr. Who scarf out of a mini TARDIS.

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