Old Pulp Novels Inspire Campy `Innocent Heat'

Midge is the sporty one. Doris is introverted, lacking in social skills. The high-school seniors meet after school every day, "heads pressed gently together as they study for anatomy."

One day, Midge stuns Doris by announcing she is going to the prom with the star quarterback. Doris sulks, but Midge helps her snap out of it.

"You could help me with my hair - and my nails."

"I could give you a bath!"


Nervous laughter, a quick change of subject. The pals start kidding around, pushing and poking - until they freeze.

"She touched my breast!" cries Midge. "It's supposed to be wrong . . . but if feels so right!"

You don't need a road map to see where this is going. Indeed, Pulp Vixens' "Innocent Heat" plays off the very predictability and breathiness of the overwrought lesbian pulp novels of the 1950s and '60s.

Delightfully campy performances and fast-paced direction (by Kevin Kent, star of "Sister Windy") make "Innocent Heat" a hilarious and breezy entertainment appetizer. At 50 minutes, it is hardly a full course - but it is far better to exit with the audience howling than to drag out an idea.

The comic timing of Jennifer Jasper (Doris), Mia Levine (Midge) and Shawn Yates is spectacular. Yates plays confused Catherine, who reads aloud a book about Doris and Midge, then finds herself part of the action - a sort of "Catherine in Lesbianland."

From quivering teen lust to pickup bars to prison showers - the trio turn all the lesbian stereotypes upside down. They consistently score laughs, and have great fun acting out pulpy writing such as "Midge turned and smiled seductively, her eyebrows moving like live bait."

"Innocent Heat," 8 p.m. Fridays and Sundays through Oct. 25 at The Easy, 916 E. Pike St. ($8; 206-215-4538).