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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Annual Liquid Latex show bares all

Published: April 15, 2011
Section: Arts, Etc., Top Stories

For photos, see print edition.

Entering Levin Ballroom on Thursday night, the energy was palpable—people were getting ready for a good show. The moment the lights went out, the audience erupted into cheers. It was time for Liquid Latex.

In the 11 years since its inception, Liquid Latex has exploded. Something about the combination of a little latex and a lot of imagination is simply irresistible. It was even featured in Playboy magazine as the best college-supported art project in the nation, earning it some prurient street cred. Whether you think it’s silly or spectacular, it’s one of those events that’s quintessentially Brandeisian.

For those who previously knew Liquid Latex only by reputation, this installment was definitely a great introduction.

Usually there’s one or two acts every year that don’t go anywhere, the kind where it’s evident that someone just really wanted to get naked on stage prior to graduation (no judgment). This year’s performances, however, were great across the board, deftly mixing beautiful paint designs, expert choreography and killer soundtracks.

The show’s first act began with “Arkham Asylum,” a tribute to the villains of the “Batman” universe. The baddest mamajamas in all of Gotham City—Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy—join forces with the Joker, Two Face and the Riddler to plot their escape from Gotham’s infamous hospital for the criminally insane. Appropriately enough, it ended with everyone jamming to Michael Jackson’s “Bad” and breaking out some dangerous dance moves.

The next performance, aptly titled “Sweet Tooth,” followed Hansel and Gretel as they journey through the woods. They stumble across a witch’s house, which turns into a kind of candy-coated Eden replete with dancing candy spirits. Of course, this was an opportune time to break out Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy.”

The endearing “Strings of the Sea” then commenced. This act involved a lonely sailor who uncovers a mate on a desolate shore. Unfortunately, their revelry is disrupted by the arrival of pirates who end their idyllic existence. Unlike most of the other performances, this group incorporated hypnotic and seaworthy instrumental music, which established a different tone.

With “Decadent Despair,” the following group went down a decidedly darker route, delving into a bizarre, twisted fantasy that explored the darkest recesses of the mind. Not only was it darker in tone, but it also featured some of the best paint designs of the night.

This was followed by “Aqua,” which won the award for most appropriate song choices. It relied exclusively on songs by the Scandinavian pop group Aqua, using their most famous song, “Barbie Girl,” as its frame narrative. When a little girl falls asleep, her Barbie doll comes to life and explores romantic entanglements with the “Candyman,” “Bubble Bee” and “Halloween” man. Of course, she ends up with her Ken, appropriately portrayed by Herbie Rosen ’12.

The first act ended with “Magic at Midsummer,” a latex-clad version of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” When fairies stumble across pairs of lovers in the woods, hilarity ensues. Everyone falls in love with the wrong person, not to mention that one overly-enthusiastic lover ends up with a donkey head. The audience went wild when one of the fairies did some very impressive tricks with glow-in-the-dark yo-yos.

After a brief intermission, the show recommenced with “Global Exposure,” which united dancing flags from various countries in a show of international cooperation. Their performance brought together a fun concept with an equally enjoyable soundtrack.

Of course, no Liquid Latex show is complete without a requisite latex fashion show. This year, models appeared dressed as various postmodern artworks.

Next, a group of four senior girls danced and lip-synced to the “Moulin Rouge!” soundtrack version of “Lady Marmalade.” This easily proved to be the most risqué performance of the night, so of course it received plentiful cheers from male-identifying segments of the audience.

“Techno Genesis,” the most delightfully bizarre performance of the night, followed. In this vision of the future, cybernetic entities seek to recreate humankind. Instead, they end up generating humanoid fries, a hamburger and a shake—awkward! Recognizing their mistake, the entities devour their bastardized creations.

The show closed with “A Place Like No Place on Earth,” a recreation of Lewis Carroll’s absurdist classic “Alice in Wonderland.” Featuring great paint and even a rudimentary set, the group did an excellent job bringing Alice to life. Their performance was so good that they can even be forgiven for sampling dialogue from Tim Burton’s film adaptation, one of the greatest abominations of the 21st century.

All in all, this year’s show displayed Liquid Latex at its best. Next year’s show will have a lot to live up to but, if it displays half of the creativity on display here, it will still be awesome.