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Leave Your Inhibitions at the Door - Page One
May 2006

Parlance and I had been threatening for a while, but we finally made it happen: an Audience Participation Showgirls party!

Showgirls is one of the greatest movies of all time. It has everything: cheesy dialogue, hate-able heroines, token lesbianism, drugs, spastic dolphin-pool-sex, mega-gratuitous nudity, back-stabbing bitches, and bad hair. It’s like the pivotal post-feminism Women Exploiting Women = Strength! masterpiece. Even after a dozen-plus viewings, there is endless joy in relishing all Showgirls has to offer (well, except for the brutal rape scene, which we always forward past). What Unsanitary Moment is funnier, Nomi’s Vomit of Rage or Stripper Pole Fellating? Doesn’t it make perfect sense that Molly’s response to the angry and violent chick who just flanged French fries at her is to… offer to let her stay in your home? Ooooh, fake volcanoes erupting make me want to undress, baby! Hey, how come there was only one twin bed in Molly’s trailer? How does Nomi manage to do everything from opening bags of chips to dialing a phone with just-painted nails? And speaking of her nails, why is it important for her to get ready to kick Carver’s ass by, er, painting her nails? Not to mention blow-drying her hair straight. “Okay, whatever Nomes.” So, it’s fine to bring your two kids to hang out backstage with a bunch of naked showgirls, but it’s anathema for them to hear “the f-word! She said the f-word!”? Did you notice that James really resembles a sheep? And how did he meet Penny-Hope, anyway?

Par had been to an Audience Participation screening of Showgirls for the DVD release, but she didn’t think it was All it Could Be. Naturally we could do better. So we put our heads together, plotted and planned, and came up with a fete of our own.

We had it all: props, dramatic readings, dance contests, trivia, gift bags and prizes, and over a dozen guests, some dubious, some as fanatical about the cinematic brilliance in which we were going to take part as me and Par were. And, in case you one some ideas for your own AP Showgirls, here’s how it all went down… just like a bisexual whore bitch on an iron staircase backstage.

To start, we came up with the menu. Brown rice and vegetables, natch. We also ordered Fatburgers and fries (THANKS FOR THE HAMBURGER!), got bags of chips, bottles of Evian, and made a disgusting concoction called “Puppy Chow.” No, we did not get a bottle of Cristal. I ain’t that rich, darlin’.

Then I collected appropriate tacky props (including noisemakers, “champagne glasses” of bubbles, tampons, kazoos, lights and glow-sticks, mini-bags of chips, play money) and we put together a sheet of Audience Participation Instructions:


Welcome to

Audience Participation Showgirls 

Leave your inhibitions at the door. The show is about to begin.


Here is a basic list of props and instructions for their use in participation to Showgirls.

  • Noisemakers – use whenever Nomi has an over-the-top fit of anger
  • Potato chips – crunch at appropriate times
  • Tampons – throw whenever Nomi makes reference to having her period
  • Kazoos – play whenever Mamma Bazoom makes an appearance
  • Champagne bubbles – blow whenever Cristal – the champagne, not the person – is splashed, poured or, heck, mentioned
  • Glow lights – flash and wave around during any of Nomi’s big dance scenes
  • Play money – throw at the end of any of Nomi’s big stripping scenes
  • Party poppers – pop at the end of Nomi’s lead dancer performance in “Goddess”
  • Whenever someone says “Versace,” say “Ver-sayce” and vice versa
  • Whenever Hope shows up, say “My name is Penny!”
  • Yell “Hairpiece!” or “Nice hair!” at Zach/Kyle McLaughlin
  • Meow at Crystal/Gina Gershon
  • Whenever Nomi dances, grunt or “HA!” a lot
  • Whenever James dances, yell “Dancin’ ain’t fuckin’!”

Of course, feel more than free to improvise! 



But watching the movie itself was only part of the fun and games. We had a Showgirls Haiku-Writing Contest. We had ShowgirlsCriticalReview Readings. We had Showgirls Trivia.

We planned to have a Showgirls Actors’ Studio, with dramatic scene reenactments, but we ran out of time.

So if you decide to have an AP Showgirls bash of your own, have fun, but be careful… there’s always someone younger and hungrier comin’ down the stairs after you.


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