Arts & Entertainment
1 min

Putin on the ritz

Toronto's Burlesque Fest gets creepy

Credit: Wrong Note Rusty

The Winter Olympics in Sochi were a creepy affair. The pomp and glitz of an international sports event didn’t change, and certainly didn’t obscure, how cruelly that country treats its queer people, but rather created a sleazy effect; you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. But at least a lipstick-wearin’ pig would be cuter than Putin and his country’s laws.

Wrong Note Rusty drew inspiration from the Sochi Olympics for Putin on the Ritz, an act he is performing at the upcoming Toronto Burlesque Festival. “The Olympics tried to dress up and put spit polish on a lot of really awful shit,” Rusty says. “I’m a big fan of visual puns, and the idea [of the act] is to really take the piss out of this really dark and serious thing and show how creepy it is.”

Decked out in top hat, tails, white gloves and a Vladimir Putin mask, Rusty wafts onto the stage and prances about to the foppish strains of Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” gradually stripping down to just his hat, socks and mask. His act juxtaposes the vile — Putin’s face — with the glamorous — a frothy classic tune — to create a surreal atmosphere that mirrors that of the Sochi Olympics. However, unlike the Olympics, Rusty’s act has a payoff: he’s dead sexy and his performance concludes with a delicious helping of his breathtakingly smooth ass.

The festival includes everything from Rusty’s brand of political commentary to acrobatic stripping to humour. Attendees will also find queer content in performances by Dew Lily, Belle Jumelles, Johnny B Goode, Alexander Mansfield, Percy Katt and Obskyura.