‘Showgirls’ makes a comeback nearly 25 years after it flopped
Las Vegas is giving New York City’s only casino a lap dance.
With its 25th anniversary looming, the NC-17 cult classic “Showgirls” is having a moment. Skinned alive by critics upon its release, the 1995 movie about the naked ambition of Sin City dancer Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) has bounced back to inspire two new documentaries and an art exhibit.
“’Showgirls’ is one of the only movies that gets Vegas right,” Viviana Olen, Vegas native and co-curator of “Goddess: The Exhibit,” tells The Post of the infamous strip flick.
From May 2 through 31, Olen and her partner at THNK1994 Museum, Matt Harkins, are filling the Red Wall Gallery at Resorts World Casino in Queens with paintings inspired by “Showgirls.” (The duo previously paid homage to pop culture with a 2015 shrine to the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan feud in the 25-foot hallway of their Williamsburg apartment.)
“Resorts World has that feel,” Olen says. “The big grand entrance and the ‘Ding! Ding! Ding!’ — it can trick you for a second; you can pretend you’re in Vegas.”
The exhibit is free and open to the public during casino hours. On May 18, the curators will host a talk about the belatedly beloved film before retreating to the casino’s bar to “teasingly flick champagne at each other.”
From gallery walls to the big screen: “You Don’t Nomi” premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival, with screenings April 27, 29 and 30. The film marks the feature debut of director Jeffrey McHale, who scored a viral hit with his mashup of the trailers for “Showgirls” and “Black Swan” in 2010.
McHale focused on the die-hard fandom spawned by this piece of high-camp cinema, placing it above stars Berkley and Gina Gershon, who stole the Paul Verhoeven (“Basic Instinct”) flick as catty Cristal “Darlin’” Connors, backstabbing headliner of the Stardust Casino’s “Goddess” revue.
“We talked to people who were involved in the [renaissance] of ‘Showgirls,’” he says. “It’s coming from the opinions of people who were involved in its afterlife.”
Not to be outdone, filmmakers Jeffrey Schwarz and Lotti Pharriss Knowles (“Tab Hunter Confidential”) are wrapping production on “Goddess: The Fall and Rise of ‘Showgirls.’”
Their doc does feature cast interviews — with the exception of Nomi herself. “All someone has to do is look at my insta to know I embrace all of it with love and even humor … I just don’t live in my past,” Berkley tells The Post via Twitter. (She most famously appeared at a special Cinespia screening the night gay marriage was legalized in 2015.)
And while she might have been scapegoated for the $45 million film‘s initial failure (it was later a smash of home video and Blu-Ray), Knowles says Berkley’s “Showgirls” alums have only glowing things to say about the actress-turned-author in “Goddess.”
“This movie that was so reviled when it first appeared on the screen is now being celebrated,” Knowles tells The Post. “Society is kind of catching up to ‘Showgirls.’”
Knowles says the film is generating newfound recognition not only because of its big birthday next year — but also for its ironic relevance in the #MeToo era.
“It was considered over the top, showing how women were treated in the entertainment industry,” she says. “Suddenly, the movie doesn’t look so far off from reality.”
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