Tag Archives: Darth Vader


This is NOT the homage to “Star Wars” you’re looking for.

Or – maybe it is!

If you have had a lifelong love of the epic space odyssey since you were a kid (check) and love parody humor (check) and find some adult-themed humor and risqué costumes fun (check), then maybe “The Empire Strips Back: A Burlesque Comedy” might just be for you.

I know it was for me.

This beloved movie has had the piss taken out of it before in ways that some might view as tasteless.

Consider Mel Brooks’s “Spaceballs” (“May the schwartz be with you!”), the hilarious bits that have been done on the trench run on the Death Star or “Star Wars XXX: A Porn Parody.” (No, I’m not going to link to that last one, you filthy prevert.)

But “The Empire Strips Back” takes it to a whole other level.

The title pretty much sums up what you’d expect: A live stage production of performers in skimpy “Star Wars” costumes shimmyin’ and shakin’ more than window blinds caught in a hurricane.

Check it out here: https://vimeo.com/144088886

I’ll never look at Luke Skywalker, the Imperial guards or Darth Vader the same again.

I caught the act on May Fourth (May the Fourth be with you…) at the PlayStation Theater in Manhattan and it was a raucous good time.

Some highlights:

“Luke” (a female dancer) sponging up a landspeeder and then doing her best “Flashdance” shower impression.

Princess Leia doing a strip tease as R2-D2 watched, prompting the droid to spit out a stream of cash like an overheated ATM.

Han and Chewbacca dance and rapping and stormtroopers peeling off pieces of their uniform in a synchronized dance number.

The final act featured a catina scene with Yoda on the drums, and Admiral Ackbar rapping and busting a move.

The costumes were spot-on, the sets (including a googly-eyed, tongue-wagging Jabba the Hutt) engaging and the performances energetic.

What about the T&A, I’m sure you’re asking.

Sure, there were lithe bodies and flashes of flesh, but honestly no more than what you’d see in Times Square with the desnudas – the painted topless women wearing thongs who pose for photos with tourists.

For my money, the absolute highlight of the night – and the performance that brought down the house – was the appearance of the scraggly Emperor.

Through a series of gestures, he got the audience to urge him to disrobe.

First one shoulder, then another and by the time the robe was fully off, there he was in his all-together – a nude one-piece body suit with his costumed exaggerated tallywags swinging like pendulums.

Then, a la Miley Cyrus, he mounted a wrecking ball in the shape of the Death Star while the music blared.

It was epic.

Now before you go criticizing “The Empire Strips Back” for sullying the memory of your cherished “Star Wars” movie franchise, I have just five words for you: “The Star Wars Holiday Special.”

Now, THAT legitimately would cause Obi-Wan to say, “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror…”

Summer Movies and Memorable Flicks With Friends

It is summertime, which means it’s time for popcorn flicks and blockbuster entertainment.

When I look back, it is amazing how many times my friends and I shared bonding moments built around watching movies.

We can recall not only the movie, but where we watched it, scenes  and how we reacted to it.

The movies we have seen together run the gamut, from comedies to thrillers to horror to adult.

The first R-rated ones I saw were “Animal House” and a double-feature of “Kentucky Fried Movie” and “Groove Tube.”

If I recall correctly, we had Pedro’s older brother come with us as our “guardian” since we were 16 and worried about the Loew’s American in the Bronx enforcing the MPAA age restriction.

There are those movies that endure (“Airplane!” of course being one of them) and there are those dogs of a movie that are best forgotten.

But half the fun of recalling some of those godawful flicks is the chance for my friends to break my chops that it was MY idea to go see them.

Two that come to mind: “Squeeze Play,” a pseudo sex romp brought to you by the high-caliber Troma Films company, and “Vice Squad,” a violent, dark film with few redeeming qualities.

But for memorable movie watching — as in like impossible to erase the imprint for your brain — the first-place trophy goes to AMR crew member Rich Rodriguez who a few years ago brought to the man cave “Requiem for a Dream” and “Human Centipede.”

We were crowded into a small room to watch “Requiem,” of which I knew nothing. It was an incredible movie about addiction but so dark and heavy that I needed a drink when it was over.

It is one of those movies, like “Schindler’s List” or “Saving Private Ryan” that you are glad you have seen but cannot imagine ever watching a second time.

And then, as if that did not harsh our mellow enough, Rich popped in the DVD for “Human Centipede,” which was so vile and disgusting and repulsive that we demanded we watch it on fast-forward! (For an idea of how bad it was, consider that its sequel was banned in Britain!)

On a more uplifting note, there was the time we gathered at Pedro’s to watch “Ted,” the story of the raunchy, foul-mouthed stuffed teddy bear who comes to life.

At points we were laughing so hard and loud that we had to stop the movie and replay scenes because we were missing dialogue. That was a good time!

The crowning glory of movie-going moments, though, belongs to troublemaker Pedro following our viewing of “Return of the Jedi.”

We caught an early showing of the much-anticipated third installment of the “Star Wars” trilogy.

We exited the theater and there was a line literally down the block for movie-goers waiting to get in.

So what does Pedro do?

Like the inmates in the Jimmy Cagney prison cafeteria scene where word is relayed that “Ma’s dead,” Pedro delivers a major spoiler by announcing up and down the line of those waiting for tickets: “Darth Vader dies! Darth Vader dies!”

It was a wonder that Darth Vader was not the only one who died that night!

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