The fifth season of Game of Thrones doesn’t premiere until April 12, but if you’re missing its byzantine intrigue, bloodshed and sexiness you can quell your thirst for Westeros (and Essos) with a new show from Hotsy Totsy Burlesque. “Game of Tassels” comes to the Slipper Room this Thursday.
Managed by Joe “The Shark” Naftali and Cyndi Freeman, Hotsy Totsy has made a name for itself with its pop-culture spoofs (you’ll recall past tributes to The Big Lebowski and Stephen King). The Game of Thrones show is now in its fourth incarnation. Each year, Freeman’s alter ego, Cherry Pitz, suffers a random accident and finds herself gripped by a psychotic dream in which she interacts with the show’s characters. The first time, Cherry thought she was Tyrion Lannister; the following year she was the sadistic king Joffrey, and then Olenna Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns.
This year, she’ll fancy herself the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, who, in a series of homicidal fits, will threaten to set the theater on fire as other characters try to humor and restrain her. “She keeps bringing the audience back,” Freeman told us. “They should join her or they would burn.” Of course, the soundtrack will reference the element of House Targaryen: Freeman thinks she might include “Light My Fire.”
For her version of Daenerys, Freeman created a tight, pale gold dress with metallic trim. “This was one of those fun finds at a used clothing store,” she told us. “It looks like a million dollars.” She’ll wear fire-themed lingerie and tattoos, and — true to Cherry Pitz — a long, pink wig coiffed in the traditional Westerosi style.
Freeman, who is 49, had a background in stand-up comedy and interactive murder-mystery plays before she took up burlesque; before that, she was shy about nudity after starring in a movie that contained a certain amount of it. “It was a sleazy experience, I did not enjoy it,” Freeman told us. “I used to say, I have no problem with nudity, I have a problem with how people react to it.” She found burlesque smart and funny, but was too shy to follow a friend’s advice that she take it up.
In 2001, however, a doctor diagnosed her with the breast cancer gene and suggested mastectomy, which Freeman categorically refused. Her attitude changed: “I am going to do this burlesque thing,” she recalled thinking. “I am going to celebrate my body, I am going to wear rhinestones on my nipples and I am just going to celebrate being healthy and being fun. For me, [burlesque] is all about celebration.”
“Game of Tassels” March 12, 8pm at the Slipper Room, 167 Orchard St at Stanton St., Lower East Side; tickets $10