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Originally published Friday, September 24, 2010 at 11:23 AM

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Not your mother's psychedelia: 'House of Thee UnHoly #4'

"House of Thee UnHoly #4" finds Seattle burlesque stars and theater talents in a hard-rock place.

Seattle Times arts writer

Performance review

'House of Thee UnHoly #4'

7:30 p.m. (17 and over) and 10 p.m. (21 and over) Friday and Saturday, The Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle (206-838-4333 or

It's nice when you have a maid to clean up after the orgy.

In "House of Thee UnHoly #4" — an ear-battering blend of Led Zeppelin tribute and burlesque show — Lydia Mclane is that maid, and she's quite a charmer.

She's also the muse of the show, in some ways. Every time she has a mess to clean up (discarded clothing, bodily fluids, etc.), a powerhouse band behind her cranks into a reprise of Led Zeppelin's "Living Loving Maid" to speed her along in her duties.

"House of Thee UnHoly," now in its fourth year, clearly has a rabid following, if the whoops and hollers and cheers at Thursday night's performances are any indicator. I was drawn to it because Nick Garrison and Sarah Rudinoff, two sparkling theater talents around town, are in this incarnation. Also, this fourth installment was billed as a "a tribute to the psychedelic era," which I assumed meant a shift in musical repertoire to late 1960s fare: maybe a freaky robotic striptease to Jefferson Airplane's "Plastic Fantastic Lover" or something dreamier to Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs."

But nope, it's Led Zeppelin all the way: "Kashmir," "Immigrant Song," "Dazed and Confused," etc.

Garrison (bearded and in a wig) and Rudinoff (overflowing her black bodice) belted, wailed and screamed their best, as did Jen Ayers, whose steely cool voice certainly suits the material. The costumes, which facilitate everything from a Viking invasion to beehive activity, are extravagantly fanciful. The dancers have some chops, even if some of the dance routines are choppy.

The ever-reliable Lily Verlaine, in a foot-high headdress and flowing robes, delivered a slow-motion Shiva-inspired routine that showed off some impressive muscle control. And the grand finale — featuring Verlaine with lead choreographer Waxie Moon, Paris Original, Gerard Delacroix, Douglas Ridings and Miss Indigo Blue — was a pleasurably weightless, feathery blossoming and contracting of ostrich-fans.

The nudity (with pasties) is gender-blind, and the sexual miming leans toward the polymorphous. The band, dubbed "Mighty Arms of Thor," is both frenzied and tight. The way they deliver this stuff (full-on, all-out, with hardly a break in the decibels), they must really love it.

But I kept thinking of non-Zeppelin possibilities: Waxie Moon taking a crack at "Sunshine Superman," Lily Verlaine deconstructing old acid-era Moody Blues numbers ...

Maybe next time.

Michael Upchurch:

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