I have always been curious about a show here in town, and once I say the name it will probably make you just as curious. I often drive in the part of town best known as “Industrial” road and it is flooded with tons of marketing for strip clubs, sex and sexy women. As a gay man, there is one sign that catches my attention every time. It reads PUPPETRY OF THE PENIS in big bold masculine letters. I think to myself what this show would be like and why haven’t I seen it yet? Is it a puppet that looks like a penis? Do they dress up their penis in clothes? Little did I know that I would soon find out the answer and how awesome the show would be.
Living in Las Vegas, you get to know people and sometimes those people are entertainers that end up becoming great friends. I was attending a party and ran into a local performer that I admire. If you know Jamie Morris, you know that he has made audiences laugh time and time again. When he told me that he was going to be appearing in Puppetry of The Penis, I knew I had to see it.
Fast forward to the night of the event. (Side note it’s my 2 year anniversary with my husband and thought it would be fun to go together.) We navigate to the Erotic Heritage Museum, quite a fitting venue for this type of show. We walk into the venue and immediately see all types of memorabilia from people like Larry Flynt of Hustler Magazine and Hugh Hefner of Playboy. I immediately noticed some rainbow flags hanging from the ceiling and it made me feel very welcome.
I greeted the nice woman at the front register and introduced myself. Her name is Tina. Our conversation was paused abruptly when customer opened the door and said “Excuse me, I was just wondering if men come in here. My husband is in the car and he is nervous to come in and wanted me to make sure he wouldn’t be the only guy inside.” She looked around and saw that there were all kinds of people present. It was a very diverse crowd. I laughed inside as I continued to talk to the retail clerk. She told me that the purpose of this museum is to educate people that there are all kinds of things that exist that you may not even know. The goal is to show the world that there is no judgment within this community. You can be into things that the world might think is weird, but here it is celebrated. Tina informed us that her particular title is a consensual slave. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I looked that up later. You should too!)
The show doors open and we are allowed to enter the theater. Its a small theater with tall, red curtains along the walls. There is a stage at the front. A female comedian opens with some really funny dialogue to break the ice. She makes sure to call out all the different people in the audience. Straight, Gay, Bi, Lesbian, Trans, Single, Married, Birthdays, Anniversaries etc. This gets people to see that we are all here to see the show for different reasons. But the one thing we all have in common is an open mind and laughter.
After her act, she introduces the two male stars of the show, Robert Ryan and Jamie Morris. The duo come running out in blue capes that sort of remind me of the capes worn by wizards. We all can guess that they are completely nude underneath. They jump and stretch, tell some jokes and then they expose it all! The crowd is delighted with laughter and cheers. It seems weird to me that the human body is something that we get so nervous / excited about. I am happy that we are now fully immersed into the show. And now the title of the show makes sense to me. They bend, twist, fold and fondle their penis to create all sorts of shapes and make light of the fact that they are naked. They create everything from a man-gina that resembles a real vagina, Miley Cyrus’ on her famous wrecking ball, baby bird, and even food items like “hot dogs” and the penis origami that started it all… “The Hamburger”.
Another fun aspect of the show was a large projector screen that had a live feed from the camera person in the front row. This allows them to zoom in really close, so that you can see detailed imagery. They also use the screen to interact with the performs, using zoom and cropping. It’s hysterical how they invented a way to make the penis seem so playful. We know that the audience is having a blast when they get a real volunteer to join them on stage and actually do penis origami. Yes, even show it to everyone! The show received the standing ovation (pun intended) that it rightfully deserved.
After the show, we walked through the museum. It was filled with so many pieces of sexual history and random news bites. Some art dated back to ancient civilizations and represented a ton of historical icons and public figures. Upon exiting the exhibit, I picked up a flyer, and it read. “What does the museum stand for?” #10 is my favorite… Acceptance and inclusivity for all. All shapes and sizes and lengths.
POTP has now been performed in over 30 countries and four languages! Puppetry of the Penis was born when Simon Morley teamed up with fellow puppeteer David Friend. Their first show at the 1998 Melbourne International Comedy Festival was received as the "Outright Best Show.” You can catch the show every Thursday - Sunday at 8:00 pm. www.eroticmuseumvegas.com