Burlesque

She's an erotic cottage industry, a one-woman costume caper, an impresario of unusual adult entertainment. Meet Thomasina Kundalini: A riddle wrapped in a web site inside a cable-access show.

 

One of the real pleasures of Thomasina.com is that the television show reveals all of these surprising, contradictory qualities: the self-seriousness, the earnestness, the vaguely outdated notions about what constitutes adult entertainment. Even Thomasina's ambivalence about the rougher edges of pornography comes through: In the Las Vegas episode, Thomasina moves to give Ron Jeremy a hug goodbye. Jeremy wraps his meaty arms around her and presses his mouth to her neck, pawing her. Thomasina wriggles out of his grip, and then flashes an astonished, flabbergasted look at the camera, which is entirely unanticipated. What was she expecting of Jeremy? The man had, after all, signed his name to her ass.

Despite the exposed, gyrating midsections of Thomasina.com, the show has a charming, near-campy feel, as though this was not intended for adults at all. Instead, one gets the sense of watching children playing dress-up, although in this instance they're dressing as strippers. There is a constant sense of fun in the show, from the smirk that plays around the corners of Mr. Quigley's mouth to the outrageousness of the costumes that Thomasina's guests choose for themselves. In one remarkable episode, Thomasina sits opposite a man dressed in a foppish leather outfit, looking exactly like a Musketeer.

The Musketeer is Brad Calhoon, the self-proclaimed erotic artist from the Sex Art Gallery, whom Thomasina has captured in several clips, then collected for an episode of her show. My favorite starts with Calhoon dressed as a topless woman in an outfit that looked very much like a fetishized version of the Borg uniform from Star Trek: The Next Generation--including a long, mechanical arm with an enormous silver dildo at its end. When Calhoon finishes strapping on and plugging in his costume, his topless woman goes into something like a grand-mal seizure and then collapses on the floor.

Interviewing Calhoon on camera, Thomasina fumbles for questions before asking about his influences and the intentions of his art. Calhoon shrugs, smiling, and refers back to the collapsed topless woman. "Unfortunately, her delicate female psyche couldn't handle it," he says, "and she short-circuited."

"People, take not that this woman is being exploited," Thomasina interjects at one point. "She's there of her own free will."

"Yes," Calhoon responds, "and the roofies I gave her beforehand have nothing to do with this."

Before Calhoon finishes his sentence, Thomasina explodes into laughter, turning to flash her enormous smile directly at the camera. Thomasina is on a fabulous joke, her smile suggests. Are you?

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