The ladies (gentlemen, and friends) of Boulder Burlesque are hosting an Erotic Haunted House, presuming to scare you, turn you on, and seriously inform you about consent. The first two nights have passed, with one last night to witness this spectacle is October 31st. We saw it on opening night, October 26th, arriving early for the pre-event team pep talk and media walkthrough in advance of the official opening, to “follow Boulder Burlesque down the shadowed hallways of our favorite venue as we straddle the boundary between horror and ecstasy with a truly transcendent haunted house experience,” Boulder Burlesque said in a press release. Opening night was sold out by the time the doors opened.
“After Saturday’s sell out opening night, we had another fantastic night on Sunday, with an amazing turn out despite the winter storm. We fully expect our closing night on Halloween to sell out,” Mademoiselle Tangerine told us via email. “We’ve learned an incredible amount through this process, and have stepped into some bigger shoes as a group. This haunted house is the largest event Boulder Burlesque has produced to date. We feel hungry to keep growing in our creative capacity by offering more immersive and subversive performance art to the Boulder community. Additionally, incorporating sex-positive messages and consent education in unique and intriguing spaces is really important to us.”
One attendee from Saturday, in a post-event evaluation, said, “Thank you for last night’s event! I cannot imagine how much planning and effort went into this production. And your specific and unambiguous approach to consent should be the benchmark against which all such events are measured.”
A quick story. Earlier in my day, before attending this well designed, vignette based erotic haunt, I was watching an episode of the new Netflix series, Daybreak. Two young people in the show were in the throws of intimacy when the young lady, Sam Dean, pulled out her phone and opened up a consent app to have her would-be partner agree to all the actions he was ok with. He was confused by it, for a second. Because consent is actually really easy to understand. We have to say, it’s beautiful to see this conversation happening on a national level and happening locally via such sultry and conscious organizations as Boulder Burlesque. But let’s get back to the spookiness.
The haunt itself took some getting used to. Opening with the Boulder Burlesque director, Mademoiselle Tangerine (Crista Reid), providing a passionate, if slightly long, overview of the event and expectations, and doing so by creepily reading from a book while we were perched precariously in a darkened stairwell, was a great way to begin. Tangerine’s delivery was spot-on spooky, classic crypt keeper, and a clear foreshadowing of what was to come. Sinners are escorted throughout the two-story Wesley Foundation, a church — making it a perfect place for the 7 UnDeadly Sins to reveal themselves — by demonic minions clad all in black, with glowing devil horns atop their heads.
We begin with Gluttony, the place where so many of our own personal sins often begin, introduced to the scene by a well-dressed, gorgeous, and commanding figure who releases “Charlie” from his cage to feed him his evening’s dessert. A few eyeballs and tongues shared amongst the audience later, a handful of coconut shavings-cum-dry skin as a parting gift, less the pubes Charlie promises he picked out, and you’re told to “get out” and move into the hall of Sloth.
This is where I realized what was going on. In a traditional haunted house you move through a maze of darkness, with only one path to take, and no place to stop. Ghouls and ghosts and goblins pop out from whatever crack or crevice they rest in, while screams and shouts surround and lights flash and flicker to confuse and disorient. The Erotic Haunted House was not like that. The seven vignettes, on a smooth and clear-cut path, were not designed to confuse and disorient you as you make your way from sin to sin, but for you to get there safely to engage in a strange bit of dialogue, in light fetish play, and in an appreciation of the gorgeous and grotesque. These individual, short skits, are classic Boulder Burlesque: erotic and sensual, a bit of play from a touch to a whisper, a misting, and possibly a spanking, should you be lucky enough to have purchased VIP tickets.
I don’t want to give too much away, because where’s the fun in that, but I do want to leave you with a few more points. Based on this series of vignettes, my new favorite sins are Pride, Wrath, and Envy. I think my group was rather more amused than spooked by the whole event. It wasn’t until the seventh sin that we got a little creeped out; one woman with us commented that, “I wasn’t scared till that last one”. The conclusion, in short, is spectacularly creepy and you don’t want to miss it. The first two nights have already concluded.
The final night – and your final chance – is October 31st, Halloween night, and we can think of no better way to start the evening festivities than to attend this extraordinary, sensual, and unique Erotic Haunted House, brought to you by the fantastic team at Boulder Burlesque – where the profane is sacred.
The event was produced by Crista Reid (Stage Name: Mademoiselle Tangerine), with direction by Coco Monroe. The cast (who consented to having names published) are Gluttony, with Charlie: Agent Sauvage and Doctor Spine, Pride: Paisley Peach, Wrath: Sassy Cassy, Lust: Anais Despair, and Envy:Lady Aphrodisia
Tickets and info: https://www.boulderburlesque.com/haunted-house/
Images by Chris DeCicco unless otherwise noted.