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How Lucha VaVoom Became a Queer Wrestling & Performance Extravaganza

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Back in the early aughts, when Liz Fairbairn found herself creating costumes for a lucha libre (the term used in Mexico for masked professional wrestling) show in Mexico and dating one of its featured wrestlers, she came up with a brilliant, albeit a bit wild, idea.“My second career is special effects costuming, so I made these baboon costumes [for some of the wrestlers].

I was sent down there to babysit the baboon costumes,” she recalls with a laugh.Even before her “baboon babysitting” days, Fairbairn had lived a storied life.

Raised in Santa Cruz, Calif., she eventually moved to nearby San Francisco and ran a nightclub on Folsom Street. “I lived in San Francisco until I went to Virginia to manage [the conceptual metal band] GWAR,” she says. “Which…that’s a whole other story.”She explains that her costuming skills had also connected her to the world of burlesque — and it suddenly occurred to her that combining scantily clad dancers with costumed Mexican wrestlers just might make one hell of a show.

And she was right.After joining forces with well-known burlesque producer and performer Rita D’Albert (@MissRitaD) and recruiting a crew of luchadors to travel from Mexico, Lucha VaVoom made its debut in August 2002 in Los Angeles.

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