Hip hoppin’ & anal art

Maylee and Slippers’ Sweatshop Hop brought an awkward new brand of jazzercise to Modern Fuel

A stripped down version of Europe in Colour played their electric pop indie set, armed with an array of instruments.
A stripped down version of Europe in Colour played their electric pop indie set, armed with an array of instruments.

When was the last time you went to an aerobics class where rubbing your genitals while speaking words of encouragement to them was a warm-up?

“Sometimes we don’t spend enough time with ourselves,” said Maylee Todd—professional personal trainer, band member of The Adorables and fitness instructor of “Maylee and Slippers’ Sweatshop Hop”—as she takes her own advice and warms up in her own special way.

Opening for Todd’s genital-rubbing extravaganza was Europe in Colour, a self-described “power trio of love, harmonies and danceable beats.” The band hails from Toronto and played an adorable opening set of electric indie-pop. With only two of the band’s members present, their songs had a minimalist feel when compared to their recorded work. The two members who were present worked hard to fill the space using various methods of instrumentation: trumpets, Casio drum beats, guitars and mini-keyboards were just some of the ingredients in their mix. Admittedly, the band had an air of awkwardness as they played for only a few hipsters but, then again, the whole night was a little bit gauche.

Clad in 80s garb, Todd and her two assistants, Slippers and Hans, worked out to a rather small but eager group of Kingstonians this Sunday night at the Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre. Todd’s assistant Hans, a German man in his 20s, was dressed in a cow-printed spandex suit and had the job of facilitating the work-out while the other assistant Slippers, whose light-up devil horns and blue spandex suit were quite distracting, had the task of DJ-ing the event.

Spectacle aside, Todd’s work-out was actually a refreshing way of looking at physical activity—it can happen in an art gallery; it can involve drinking two-for-$5 beer and it can actually be funny. Some of her signature moves include a midnight stroll which involves grape-vining across the room with one fist sticking out, ready to punch an attacker. This move flows perfectly into the move “punch the tall man in the junk”—step one, stand feet shoulder-width apart; step two, throw upper cuts right into the man’s “junk” yelling “No-no!” Another notable Todd exercise was a normal lunge with a twist. Instead of simply breathing while lunging, participants were encouraged to yell things that they were angry about. Todd’s had various examples: “I hate RV’s!” and “I hate my family—they don’t understand me” were some favourites.

Imagination and humour play a large role in Todd’s workout. Competition is also an integral part of the experience. She came to Kingston with a variety of prizes—including hair tattoos, dolls, Archie comics and condoms—and asked her participants to take part in some friendly competition. The first competition was a “sexy look-off,” which is self-explanatory. The two contestants tied.

The sphincter-drawing competition was also a hit. Three half-eager women participated in this competition by placing a pencil in their sphincter ani externus muscle—more commonly know as their buttholes—and drew pictures on a piece of paper Kaylee held for them. For some reason this very dada-like approach to art, had a clear winner; I think she chose the Archie comics.

Todd’s cool-down was just as energetic as the rest of the work out. She gathered participants in a single line and asked them to jump from the line and yell something magical, perhaps as penance for being so negative while lunging. Maylee ended the class by inviting everyone to Toronto to take one of her classes.

“I have a lot of floor room, you can all stay at my house,” she informed the tiny crowd.

Europe in Colour were active participants of “Maylee and Slippers’ Sweatshop Hop” and seemed to be in high spirits even though their show didn’t draw a Toronto-sized crowd. On a Sunday night in the middle of mid-terms, it’s hard to get anyone to go anywhere. But revolutions have to start somewhere and in an art gallery in Kingston a few eager people took part in something that might just be the next big thing.

“A lot of people hate exercise,” said Todd. “This is not too serious; it gives working out an edge!”

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