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Last week's show opened with a performance by a 67-year-old man who goes by the stage name Diamond Dan. "This guy is pure balls," Farrand said, by way of introduction. About 20 people were assembled at tables near the stage, some of them munching on the white-wine-poached chicken prepared by the Supper Club's regular caterer, Heather Hands. In the back, past the restrooms, a masseuse stood in relative darkness beside a massage chair, ready to rub down any interested parties.
Diamond Dan, a "boylesque" performer, took the stage wearing spurs, pants with thick vertical stripes, a brown vest, a cowboy hat and a fake gun. He held a pathetically tiny stick horse between his legs and shuffled across the stage as though he were riding it. "Long Tall Texan" played over the PA, and he danced gingerly, as senior citizens tend to do. He struggled a bit as he removed his suspenders, but he eventually pried them off. In time, Diamond Dan was wearing just shiny, silver boxer briefs, white socks and the cowboy hat. He paused and stood proudly at center stage, his hands on his hips. For the big finish, he stripped off the boxer briefs to reveal a red thong. He thrusted about a little bit, and then the sound guy goofed and cut the song a couple of seconds early. A smattering of laughs and applause.
There'd been a cancellation, so Farrand played a few solo acoustic sets of blues-inflected tunes. An impressively powerful guitar player, she hammered at the strings without sacrificing precision, and her fingers moved nimbly along the fretboard like an accountant doing 10-key. Once, she berated one of the regulars for a full 30 seconds for requesting "Freebird."
"I seriously can't fucking believe people are still fucking shouting that out," she said. Later, Farrand asked a question of Bill Sundahl (whose band, the Columns, played a set of jazzy blues-rock songs), then told him to get his own show if he wanted to talk anymore.
Cheri Woods, who, like Farrand, is a Rural Grit regular, got up and performed some half spoken-word, half a-cappella songs. Her stories meandered melodically and then returned to refrains, and it was sometimes hard to determine where the banter stopped and the performance started. But it was frequently quite lovely.
Diamond Dan re-emerged wearing a pinstriped suit. This would be a more formal striptease. A classy "broad" sat at a table on the stage, and he pantomimed the lyrics to Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man," to woo her. This time, he went from boxers to a purple fishnet sheath, through which a black thong was visible. When the fishnet came off, we were treated to an especially ample amount of skin along the sides of Diamond Dan's crotch. It was the type of skin you don't expect to see at a burlesque show, or even at most strip clubs. It was legal but, man, just barely. The music stopped, and he reached down and gathered up his pile of clothes, his bare ass partly facing the crowd. Farrand walked up and grabbed the mic.
"Diamond Dan," she said, and there wasn't much else to do but nod and clap and be glad to have seen something so deeply weird on a weeknight.