It was sneaky, how they got me. A nice lady recently sent mail about "Undulation2," a two-day belly dancing event, and her message included the following note: "I saw Desert Sin in L.A. last November doing an homage to silent films. Three women painted completely white, with beautiful makeup and little black flapper wigs and slip dresses, somehow managing to seamlessly fuse Middle Eastern dance, the Charleston, and the exaggerated movements of silent film stars." Despite the bizarre picture the description evoked, my thoughts were overwhelmingly along the lines of, "I want that. Gimme some of that. Carve me off a big hunka Desert Sin, like, now."
"Undulation2" doesn't stop at this one killer group of offbeat babes, though. The event is packed to the rafters with belly-inspired dance companies short on respect for tradition and long on creativity and hard work, from the crazy-for-bhangra chicks of Boom Boom Bollywood to the award-winning and (gasp!) pants-wearing women of Urban Tribal to the Bettie-Page-meets-Mata-Hari look of featured dancer Kami Liddle.
Responsible for all this are, unsurprisingly, the women of Ultra Gypsy. The whole "throw belly dancing custom out a third-story window and use its blood to paint your face" idea is old hat to Gypsy leader Jill Parker and her banshee band.
Admission is $15-18
A gang of high-tone DJ sets rounds out the evenings, including spinning by Janaka, Sep, and Filastine, so the inspired but untrained masses can hit the dance floor and pretend they're in Desert Sin. Finally, audience members get a new way to see the long-haired Ultra Gypsy dancers during a sneak preview of Medusa and Machine, a "modern trance ritual performance motion picture," according to the troupe's Web site; it's not your everyday luau flick, but it is set on the beach, and yeah, it stars shimmying girls. Gidget be damned. Carve me off a hunka that, too.