Feb 092012
Authors: Allison Sylte

By day, Adam Mundy is a 26-year-old analytical chemist.

But by night, he transforms into Jimmy “Fast-Fingers” Gibson, a former insurance salesman and drifter who became an emcee at a burlesque revue after finding a business card featuring one of the dancers while perusing another man’s billfold.

“Men gave [Fast-Fingers] his name because he stole from them. Ladies gave him that name because they love him,” Mundy said.

And at Avogadro’s Number on Saturday at 8 p.m., “Fast-Fingers” will be emceeing for Fort Collins’ own Cupcake Cabaret’s special Valentine’s Day-themed show.

“The reason I do this? Well, how can you blame me?” Mundy, in the special Southern twang he reserves for his “Fast-Fingers” character, said. “I love my job. I’m surrounded by gorgeous women in various states of undress.”

Burlesque, according to Cupcake Cabaret co-founder and Mundy’s wife Julia DiVerdi, is something that a lot of people have quite a few misconceptions about.

“Some people think that all we do is strip,” DiVerdi said. “That’s actually far from the case. We practice the art of striptease, but burlesque is a lot more tongue-in-cheek. There’s singing, there’s dancing and there’s a lot of jokes.”

Cupcake Cabaret came about three years ago, when DiVerdi and her friend Allison Ahlm were watching a burlesque show in Denver.

The two of them, who both had backgrounds in performing, decided to bring burlesque to Fort Collins, a venture that ultimately led to the Cupcake Cabaret Revue, and a corresponding series of burlesque-oriented classes.

There are currently five dancers in the Cabaret, including DiVerdi and Ahlm. Like Mundy, the dancers all take on different personas on-stage.

DiVerdi is Lola Begonia, a former belly dancer who, after tragically losing her sister in a cobra accident, used her wiggling skills to excel as a burlesque dancer. The name Lola Begonia, according to DiVerdi, comes from pet names she calls her cat.

And Ahlm is Holly deLite, a southern belle and former pageant girl who took up burlesque after a trip to France. The name Holly deLite is a play on Holly Golightly from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

“Burlesque is kind of something that’s every girl’s dream. You get to be glamorous. Every girl wishes she had a closet full of rhinestone and stilettos,” DiVerdi said. “That’s part of what draws people to us.”

Cupcake Cabaret has sold out its prior few shows at Avo’s, according to DiVerdi, and the packed audiences usually consist of lots of women and couples.

“It’s not just single men!” DiVerdi said.

The dancers choreograph their own dances and also design their own costumes.

“For me, the more feathers I’m wearing, the better,” Ahlm said. “… It’s really invigorating for me to be on stage, doing what I love.”

Mundy’s outfit consists of typical vaudeville wear, something that he said compliments the many elements of his character, who, on top of participating in a few numbers, tells jokes between songs and insults the audience members.

“Fast-Fingers” even has one act that involves smelling underwear.

“Our emcee, Adam, is pretty funny,” Ahlm said.

His path to burlesque was a little different from the female dancers in the group. It started when his then-girlfriend DiVerdi saw him performing with his Fort Collins heavy metal band. She persuaded him to participate in a few shows, and the rest, he said, is history.

“With Julia, I know that in all honesty, burlesque came first, and I came along after the fact,” Mundy said.

Content Managing Editor Allison Sylte can be reached at news@collegian.com.

What: La Vie En Cupcake! Cupcake Cabaret Burlesque Performance
Where: Avogadro’s Number
When: Saturday at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.)
Who: Cupcake Cabaret
Tickets are $15

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