Las Vegas or Bust! Selene Luna brings her ‘Dog & Pony Show’ to Inspire Theater

Photo: Albert Sanchez

Selene Luna’s Dog & Pony Show: Vegas or Bust! February 21 & 22, 8 p.m., $20. Inspire Theater, 910-2388.

Whether touring with Dita Von Teese, opening for Margaret Cho or judging international burlesque competitions, Selene Luna has been known to spice things up in Las Vegas now and again. This weekend, the LA-based actress, comedienne and burlesque performer arrives with her Dog & Pony Show—back-to-back evenings of song, dance, drag and comedy, featuring Audrey DeLuxe, Jackie Beat, Lindsey Alley and Prince Poppycock. (Vegas-based magician RJ Owens joins the cast first night, followed by puppeteer Scott Land the second.)

Hilarious and charming, the Tijuana-born 3-foot-10-inch entertainer describes her show as “Hollywood’s island of misfits in Las Vegas” and “Ed Sullivan meets Phyllis Diller.” But with her leading the pack as the glamorous emcee, there’s no chance she’ll be stripping—this time.

“This is really an opportunity to host an evening of my favorite acts,” Luna says, adding that she’ll be peppering the show with her stand-up in between performances. “These are old friends of mine. If we’re invited to return, which I’m keeping my fingers crossed [for], then I probably will be performing burlesque in future shows.”

Either way, anyone who’s seen the witty Luna playing herself as Margaret Cho’s assistant on The Cho Show or starring in her own Selene’s Hollywood Confidential knows she's highly engrossing. We get the skinny on her history in the biz:

How did the Dog & Pony Show come about? A couple of years ago I was in a real starving artist pinch. I was between gigs and talking to Jackie Beat, who is one of my best friends. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Jackie suggested, Why don’t you just host your own show at the local gay bar just to make some scratch in between? It actually took off and it’s a little more than scratch on the side for me now.

Did you have any idea you’d make a career of performance? I grew up in LA just outside of Hollywood. It’s like in a mining town, everybody works in the same mine and you know as a kid that’s what you’re going to do.

Which feels more vulnerable and/or empowering—comedy or burlesque? I actually feel safer onstage. I think a lot of performers feel that way. There’s a sense of protection. I feel vulnerable going to the laundromat.

Because I’m a little person, everywhere I go in life I’m exposed. I get stared at, and it’s something I cannot control. And people are very often rude to me because of what I look like. That doesn’t happen to me onstage. I have a vivid memory at age 5 of deciding to become an entertainer because I felt that would be the only way people would stare at me on my terms.

How did you get into burlesque? My friend was creator and director of the Velvet Hammer Burlesque and asked me, “Would you like to try it?” My first time I stripped to an audience of 1,000.

Is your family supportive? Oh, yes. My grandmother was a stripper. I guess it skips a generation.

You’ve danced, acted, sang, stripped, done stand-up and have also done quite a bit of modeling. Then there’s your Internet talk show, Lunatic Fringe. Is there anything you won’t do? No, there’s not. If you’re serious about showbiz, you gotta do it all. In this biz, you have seven balls juggling at once because six will fall. You gotta be flexible.

What’s your dream gig? I’m passionate about being onstage. I would love to headline my own Vegas show.

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Kristen Peterson

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