Cleo Petra has a reputation for being one of the badder girls of Seattle burlesque. The longtime local producer likes her shows a little rough around the edges—wrestling and whipping, pillow fights and rock 'n' roll. Back in 2002, she and her sometime partner Timmi Harrop launched Burning Hearts Burlesque with a series of bawdy nights at the Jewel Box Theater (coincidentally, the first was named Burlesque Box).
Since then, Burning Hearts has popped up at the Miss Exotic World competition, masterminded a wrestling tent at an early Capitol Hill Block Party, and stripped in the sun at Lollapalooza. Its monthly revue at Club Motor, Bad Motor Booty, is a deeply weird rock 'n' roll variety show just across the street from the Seattle docks and their looming cargo cranes. Inside the club—with its concrete and chicken-wire decor—you can swill a beer and eat pepperoni sticks while catching some surprisingly decent singers, down and dirty burlesque, and a little perilous-looking aerial work. The epic, transgender '80s cover band the Nasty Habits turned the room into an unhinged dance party after the girls took their bows and the rough-looking roadhouse crowd danced in harmony with the trannies. Bad Motor Booty, much like its producer, is a brash, frenetic mishmash of rock and camp—renegade burlesque at its grittiest.