Explosive countdown

Eli’s Exotic New Year’s Eve

Is it theater? Is it a casino party? You’ll just have to wait til Dec. 31 to find out.

Is it theater? Is it a casino party? You’ll just have to wait til Dec. 31 to find out.

“It’ll be the party that everyone who attends will talk about for 2004,” said Onnoleigh Sweetman, “and the people who didn’t attend will wish they did.”

Eli’s Exotic New Year’s Eve opens with a video narration, and illusionist Eli Kerr materializes from the obligatory puff of smoke to begin emceeing the evening’s festivities. Then, like many casino shows, there’s a sneak peak montage of acts to come. But please don’t call it a casino show—it’s way too interactive and rave-style and magical for that.

Then more smoke, lots of flashes, plenty of bangs. Don’t forget fire-spinning, magic stunts, singing, poi, DJs, girls dancing in cages, dancers in the audience and Las Vegas-style shot girls. The dancer de resistance is the girl in the rhinestone bra and thong. OK, maybe it sounds sort of “casino.”

“This is more of a nightclub experience than a casino show,” Kerr said. “It’s a nightclub on steroids.”

Kerr, whose show The Magic of Eli Kerr plays 8 p.m. every Wednesday through Saturday at the Golden Phoenix, has joined forces with Sweetman’s Millennium Performing Arts to put on what promises to be a heck of a New Year’s bash.

“The casino wanted to do a special show,” Kerr said. “We wanted to make it completely interactive, and I knew to go to Millennium.”

“I think we know how to get the party started,” Sweetman said.

The music will range in styles from opera to hip-hop. And the entertainment will range from a girl magically crawling through Kerr’s chest to prize giveaways to shadow-dancing to pyrotechnics. It may even snow inside the Golden Phoenix Showroom.

“There are going to be lots of special effects,” Sweetman said. “That’s why I’m excited to work with Eli. It’s going to be Eli versus Millennium the whole night. It’s great to be able to come into a showroom that’s of a larger scale and take advantage of what it has to offer.”

There will be dancing on the sidelines all night long while other performances take center stage, like the middle ring in a three-ring circus. Everywhere you look, something’ll be happening. Numbers will alternate between pieces designed and performed by Millennium and magic pieces choreographed by Kerr. Some portions of the evening’s feast for the senses will be collaborations.

"[Sweetman] stands at her best. I stand at my best. And it’s intermingled,” Kerr said.

DJ New Jack from Seattle will be spinning all through the night, and the costumes, Sweetman said, are stellar. Deborah Morrison of local costume shop Ymi Wear has created rave-inspired attire. In the opera trance piece, dancers will wear large hoop skirts illumined with lights as they boogie inside light boxes—cage-type boxes with strobe lights and black lights inside.

“We’re going to have very good looking people dancing in the cages,” Sweetman said.

The acts have been designed to reach a pivotal point by midnight. Sweetman said the countdown to the New Year will feel like a journey. The energy that has been building since 10 p.m. will come to a head, and midnight will be utterly explosive.