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Las Vegas Renaissance: Putting the Sin Back Into Sin City

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When we heard Sin City had been “saved” a while back, we were skeptical. Like a full-on Disney experiment, when the town was invaded by a troupe of G-rated “Marketeers” who left in their wake a trail of daycare centers, Barney in-room TV marathons, and other sundry kid-friendly attractions, we shuddered.

  A Guide to Sin City Shows

Pent-up passion for fun and fantasy continue to attract more tourists and thrill seekers to Vegas each year. The town has a true knack for taking temptation and making it more persuasive by rolling it up into glitzy, tasty packages, with a growing number of treats restricted to 18 and over. For those seeking something less obvious, but still titillating, Vegas hosts a steamy array of NC-17 entertainments that still pack a palpable tease. Some of our favorites include:

Zumanity: FANTASY
Billed as “the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil…a seductive twist on reality,” this erotic show touches on predictable fantasies, using burlesque themes. The trademark Cirque acrobat troupe is augmented by a mighty midget, two proud-to-be-large ladies, a mute devil, some bisexual eye candy, and we suspect, at least one transvestite.Actors spill into the aisles, fall into seats, make dirty jokes, toss around sex toys, and pull guests onstage for a ribald romp into a sexual dreamscape. Depending on one’s tastes, the show, with its bare-chested hunky men and lissome women, may be boring to some, shocking to others, and arousing to many.FANTASY showcases the ample talents of singer Lorena Peril, a bevy of beauties and some unexpected comedic genius. Peril belts it out while dressed mostly in almost nothing. While she never bares breasts, the rest of the cast is topless throughout. The choreography is sometimes steamy, sometimes generically gymnastic, performed by a chorus who didn’t always look in the best of shape or particularly enthusiastic. Go for the girls, but stay for Sean E. Cooper. Comedian, dancer, singer, and impersonator, Cooper entered about halfway through the show. Like a Vaudeville throwback, Cooper’s talent took over and reenergized the audience.
Crazy Horse Paris Peepshow
Crazy Horse Paris is an homage to 1950s French burlesque. Creative lighting and projected textured designs obscure the nearly nude dancers, leaving the audience squinting for a clearer look at the world-class bodies. For its time, this “moving canvas” effect was the high-tech alternative to the stealthy exploits of earlier performers, such as Gypsy Rose Lee and Sally Rand.The show is designed to “celebrate the beauty and sensuality of women.” Despite surprisingly tedious and dated choreography, a strangely small stage, and uncomfortable and awkward table seating, it manages to deliver.Drinks are served during the show, which is part of the traditional cabaret experience, but also distracting. The dancers, however, are some of the most beautiful and exotic you’ll see anywhere, and worth the eyestrain. Peepshow may be the most entertaining of the Vegas’ adult revues, offering a high-energy, stylish, big-production spectacle of music, fresh choreography, a couple of flashes of retina-burning stage lights, and a lot of hot performers, singing, dancing, stripping and frolicking about.Though the real stars of Peepshow are singers Cheaza and Josh Strickland, all of these shows have a thin plot, usually involving star-crossed lovers or someone morphing into a happier person. In this case, the top billing goes to blonde bombshell Holly Madison, best known as a Hugh Hefner ex-girlfriend.