By Jacqueline Monahan
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Yes, that is the actual title, a.k.a. The Ancient Australian Art of Genital Origami, and it plays (literally with itself) at the aptly named Jewel Box within the Erotic Heritage Museum at 3275 South Industrial Road each night (dark Tuesdays) at 8 p.m.

Puppetry - Photo credit James Penlidis
Puppetry of the Penis
Photo credit James Penlidis

The shows two stars are organic sculptors and they ARE trying to pull something.  Puppetry of the Penis (PotP) is here, and once you’ve seen it, you’ve really seen it all, front and back and upside down.  Your imagination is not the only thing that will stretch.  

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They can fashion this shape...
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Before getting to the meat of the matter, though, a comedienne takes the stage to set the mood.  Christine Von Hagen is loud, irreverent, and lets you know that she’s German and wary of checking her heritage on because, you know, Nazis!  The self-proclaimed “woman who loves to open for (rhymes with rock)” talked about knee jobs, Cosmo tips, her original idea for a sex trick called the Rubik’s Pube, and her theory on identifying your dirtiest (minded) friend.  Hint:  If you can’t think of one, it’s YOU!

Next, the two-man, four-hand team runs down a side aisle to the stage.  Rich Binning and “Fitchy” arrive clad in hip-length (closed) capes of sparkly blue velvet, paired with athletic shoes, which stay on during the performance; the capes do not…  

The show itself originated in Australia, the brainchild of Simon Morley who, back in 1996, had a load of calendars with a penile theme to sell and needed a novel way to do it.  Along with friend David Friend (no joke) the two took PotP pubic, I mean public, eventually exposing their unique talents in 35 countries and 5 languages.  Can YOU say cojones?

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and this shape...
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Back to our two genital men at The Jewel Box…

With a flourish the caped duo become the naked duo, visually aided by a raincoat-wearing videographer who renders them, and their starring appendages, much larger than life, with special effects, yet!

Yes, they are nude and the jokes are rude.  The pair tease, quip, and reveal EVERYTHING.  Double entendres fly like boomerangs.  Did I mention that the show originated in Australia?  Down under, indeed!

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and this shape...
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Once naked, the inevitable comparisons begin as audience eyeballs dart back and forth as if attending a rapid tennis match.  No one will admit this, but everyone took note of the following – in short order – pun very much intended:

One is very tall; one is of average height.  One is circumcised; one is not. One is fair; one is dark.  One is American; one is Aussie, perhaps, although he’s done a lot of performance time in Great Britain and he IS good with accents.

An astounded audience gasps, shrieks, and yells “ow!” during the extensive manhandling as both stretch, swing and fold their naughty bits into startling shapes.  Rich and Fitchy warn them that 1. Dropped jaws are NOT advisable and 2.  The first row is a splash zone.

The penile poses can be separated into categories.  For example, under animals there’s the pelican, a joey (baby kangaroo, pouch included) and snails.  The unknown category features Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, and E.T., the extraterrestrial.

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and this shape...
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Inanimate objects include the Hitchcock (an airplane propeller), a stick shift, The Windsurfer, a boat’s sail (he yells, “blow me!” for this one) The Eiffel Tower, and the Olympic Torch, complete with flame.  Yes, real fire.   TOLD you the audience yells ow!  Can you blame them?

Food impersonations take the shape of hot dogs (duh!) hamburgers (most likely In-N-Outs), KFC chicken, and a scoop of hazelnut ice cream served atop a real sugar cone that is then thrown into the audience.  

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and this shape...
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Anatomical parts come in evil eye, Gene Simmons’ tongue, the brain, and “the woman” a simulated gender reassignment modeled by Rich.  Their latest creation, The Kardashian, parodies Kim K’s notorious asset as seen on the cover of Paper Magazine, but exchanging a “sack” for all that “back.”

Headgear includes a sombrero and a cowboy hat.  How’d ya like that sittin’ on your head?

Although the two performers do NOT have hairy palms (there goes THAT myth) the down ‘n’ dirty duo like to give high fives to forgetful audience members.  There’s a piano on stage (pianist, anyone?) for the finale, and they don’t use their hands for this one.

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and even this shape!
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For all its bawdiness, PotP is a non-sexual adult show that has its own “how-to” in book form, a user’s guide to 26 variations of the politically erect performance (their words) available in the lobby of the Erotic Heritage Museum after the show.  There are no pop-ups, but full of intimate instructions on how to create the “hanging art.”  

There is some audience participation for both genders, although females are coerced onto the stage more insistently and are rewarded with a set of upside down genitals, alarmingly close to their face.  The literal Polaroid moment is captured for proof.

Men are encouraged to join in the pole-ish fun with the offer of an on-stage tutorial.  At this particular performance there were no takers, although some shows do host the occasional guy drunk…er…brave enough to strip and grip.

The show has been all around the globe and even on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”  Now it’s landed in Sin City, flying in on fleshy propellers that rotate both clockwise and counter-clockwise.

Or something that rhymes with clock.



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