Strip till you drop with Skin Tight's New Year's show

I am truly hopeless at coming up with things to do on New Year's Eve that don't involve sitting at home with a tub of ice cream and a packet of McDonald's french fries and crying through the last forty minutes of Return of the King (don't ask). This, however, is where it comes in supremely handy being related to Sexy Mark Brown: I'm always welcome at Skin Tight Outta Sight's New Year's Eve show.

Skin Tight bills themselves as a "rebel burlesque troupe," which disappoints me because it means I have to look two things up instead of the usual one.

"Burlesque": a populist blend of satire, performance art, and adult entertainment usually featuring strip-tease. Also known as that thing Marge Simpson didn't like in the 9th season of The Simpsons.

"Rebel" (in this context): basically just means that Skin Tight founder Tanya Cheex ain't no trained show pony, no sir. She put Skin Tight together with the aim of creating an amateur burlesque group that exists on the utter flip side of society's definition of stripping.

Sexy Mark Brown is my cousin. He's been with Skin Tight since 2003 or thereabouts, and is hosting the New Year's Eve show at the Gladstone this Sunday night. He's the only male with the group on a permanent basis, and is a small celebrity in the right Toronto circles, given that he most often plays his burlesque acts with a decidedly religious bent (his sexy preacher brings the house down every time, and Mark has more than a passing resemblance to one Jesus H. Christ).

Sure, it's a bit weird that on three separate occasions I have introduced myself to a total stranger as Matt Brown and been met with "are you related to Sexy Mark Brown?" Sure, it's a bit weird to pay thirty bucks to watch Mark take his clothes off, when I can (and do) get the free show more frequently than I'd like to discuss. But there are worse things than spending New Year's Eve with Skin Tight's anarchic blend of ribald humour and stagey showtunes.

I have a particular fondness for / crush on Anastasia, whose Betty Page-inspired bangs and long, lanky figure make her acts the winning eye candy of the Skin Tight set. For sheer enthusiasm and pasty-swivelling awesomeness, Cocoa La Creme still wins the prize. And when Tanya Cheex gets up on stage to show why she started the whole shebang in the first place, I'm reminded for the umpteenth time that no matter what a million analysts say about a million fashion models, the only true definition of sexy is loving your own body and the things you can do with it.

Skin Tight Outta Sight is performing their New Year's Eve show - Ay Carumba! A Knockout New Year - at the Gladstone on, appropriately, New Year's Eve. Tickets are $30. More information is available at skintightouttasight.com.

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