Lynn, Lynn, City of Adult Swim

Venture capital
By BARRY THOMPSON  |  July 3, 2012

SO THIS HAPPENED Some burlesque dancers strip down in an apartment-complex lobby for fans of Adult Swim shows. In Lynn. Yes. 

In an apartment-complex lobby with an ambiance I can only describe as medicinal, I counted 10 cartoon connoisseurs from far and wide fixated on a stripteaser. She donned a pink suit mirroring the Jackie Onassis–like trademark garb of Dr. Girlfriend, noted foe of the virtuous Team Venture. Predictably, that situation was temporary.

This Venture Bros.- and Metalocalypse-themed burlesque show tagged the exclamation point on Saturday's programming at the inaugural Rusty Gear convention — a gathering for devotees of the two aforementioned hits from Cartoon Network's late-night "Adult Swim" division.

If they hoped for a massive turnout, Rusty Gear 2012 pretty much bombed. Citing a Metalocalypse episode when the anti-heroic protagonists ran into money problems following the presumed demise of their manager and CFO, the head of informal programming described Rusty Gear's advertising and promotional woes as "Renovationklok-esque." But habitual con attendees who journeyed to Lynn for the weekend appreciated the break from mob scenes that often hinder fandom cons.

"It's definitely the smallest con I've been to, but it's been good to meet everyone," said purple-haired cosplay enthusiast Jennifer Wynne, whose mania for TheVenture Bros. compelled her to trek down from Toronto: "Since everyone here is a dedicated fan of one of the shows, we have things in common to talk about."

This con may be awfully niche, but atom-smashing together the universes of Metalocalypse's world-dominating imaginary metal band and The Venture Bros.' hapless super scientist and his even more hapless sons makes some sense. Unlike numerous other animated series, these programs both feature character development and ongoing story arcs — not to mention a cocaine-obsessed clown and evil butterfly henchmen.

We arrived just in time to catch Rogue Burlesque's special Ventureocalypse performance. But our sources tell us we missed tons of cool shit: roundtable discussions and presentations aimed at thrashing out specific characters (for example, an examination of Nathan Explosion's role as the "everyman" archetype), video-editing and mask-making workshops, and a dude wearing a spot-on Dr. Henry Killinger outfit, complete with magic murder bag.

During Rogue's post-performance Q&A session, adorably earnest inquiries like, "Is this how you make your money?" and "Do you get nervous in front of frat boys?" implied that, for most of the audience, this was their first burlesque show. Here's hoping the "awww" factor entices show creators Brendon Small and Jackson Publick to swing by next year.

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