Fire Island Follies Open at Island Mermaid

For second year, rollicking nights of wild burlesque fun have come to Ocean Beach with weekly shows at the Island Mermaid.

Lil’ Miss Lixx, also known as Paige Walter, returned to the stage with a grand opening performance on Thursday, June 29. Paige was the winner of the Miss Isle of Fire pageant at the Mermaid in September 2021. Restaurant owner Scott Hirsch worked with her over the winter that year to coordinate Ocean Beach’s only burlesque show, featuring a rotating roster of acts. Wilfredo, also known as Matt Roper, serves as emcee of the weekly shows.

Paige and most of her team come to Fire Island through the Slipper Room, a neo-burlesque house on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Neo-burlesque is a modern take on the traditional burlesque show, often featuring classic stripteases, modern dance, mini-dramas, and comedy routines. When she isn’t onstage on Fire Island or in New York, you’ll sometimes find her behind the bar at Le Dock in Fair Harbor.

Lil’ Miss Lixx – aka Paige Walter (Photo Courtesy of Island Mermaid.)

The Follies’ opening-night performance began at 9:30 – after the dinner crowd had cleared out – and played to a standing-room only audience on the Mermaid’s bayside deck. Wilfredo, with faux crooked teeth and pants pulled halfway up his chest, serenaded the crowd and introduced Julie Atlas Muz. The show is not for the faint at heart and is tailored for the adult set, which became quickly apparent. Julie got the crowd going with her intense dance moves.

Also featured was Stormy Leather of Fire Island Pines fame, who had the crowd cheering with a provocative striptease.

The show had something for everyone. The fabulous 6-foot-6-inch Mister Gorgeous performed twice in outstanding feathered and sequined costumes, which he shed throughout his sets.

During an intermission, the cast mingled with patrons on the deck as cocktails were served.

The highlight of the second half of the show was Julie’s performance on the dock. As the act is a fan favorite and may be repeated later in the season, I’ll refrain from revealing details. However, I will say that she enveloped in an illuminated bubble – and I’ve never seen something quite like it.

The Le Dock crew visits Island Mermaid to cheer on their friend, Paige Walter.

“We are always trying to raise the bar, never resting on the prior 32 years,” said restaurant Owner Scott Hirsch. “Each year needs a game changer. When Paige ‘Lixx’ won the first Miss Isle of Fire competition, we knew we had to create a show with her.”

Based on the roars of approval coming from the crowd Thursday night, bringing the Follies to the Beach was a slick business move. Each act seemed to draw energy off the previous one, with lots of laughs, audience interaction, and surprise twists. Some guests came for the Mermaid’s diverse dinner menu and stayed in their seats through the show.

The Fire Island Follies will continue to play at the Island Mermaid, 780 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach, each Thursday evening starting at 9:30 p.m. Call 631-583-8088 for reservations. Admission is free of charge.