Another Opening, Another Erotic Cabaret Carnival Sideshow

Mystic Midway performer/creator Scott Levkoff, a children's puppeteer by day, describes Carni Mundi as a little bit like Disneyland, and some of its denizens as a little bit like Oompa Loompas. So except for the contortionists, drag queens, sex workers, and performers like the Sick and Twisted Players who star in it, plus certain guest artists slated to visit (Jim Rose Circus Sideshow attraction the Torture King and fetish performers Betty and Midori) -- it's practically a children's show. This isn't a sex show and viewers don't interact with performers, Levkoff is quick to caution: It's an erotic cabaret and circus sideshow that runs on a schedule like a theatrical performance, except that guests move from room to room at timed intervals, watching a narrative mystery unfold. The interactive element is that viewers hunt for keys to unfasten the locks hung around their necks at the show's beginning; people who find the right key get to enter the "kingdom of pleasure," as Levkoff calls it. He and his collaborators have thrown in some puppets and dubbed their creation "Theaterotica," and if that sounds at all familiar, think back to carnival-esque theater spectacle Defenestration, in which some of Carni Mundi's inventors had a hand, or to the Goethe Institute's erotic performance piece The Museum of Sexology, on which Levkoff served as creative consultant. Carni Mundi previews Thursday at 8 p.m. (and continues through May 2) at the Climate Gallery, 285 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $17.50; call 978-2345. (H.W.)

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