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Scot Nery: Blending busking with burlesque in Tarzana

April 17, 2009 |  3:41 pm

2008-tourdefat_tina_17 In my Calendar story on street performers -- also known as "buskers" -- I mention that 30-year-old variety artist Scot Nery, who will perform at this weekend's Seaport Village Busker Festival in San Diego, was polishing his craft last week between striptease acts at Paladino's club in a strip mall (no pun intended) in Tarzana.

His performance includes juggling a giant pancake in a hot skillet -- a practice best endeavored while fully clothed. Nery doesn't do it for the 40 bucks the management slips him after the show; he uses such venues to test his material in front of a crowd. 

Although the ladies doing the burlesque-ing luckily left something to the imagination, I came away thinking a Valley burlesque club is really no place for a shy Culture Monster. In fact, one may safely assume I'm the only one at Paladino's that night who passed the time before the show with sudoku instead of a beer -- and that's hard to do in the dark. 

Luckily, however, there was someone in the audience who seemed even more out of place than this Monster: Nery's mother, Vaughn Musser, who had flown in earlier that day from Ohio. After the show, Nery endeared himself to the strippers by calling out: "Hey, did you meet my mom?"

Musser worried that the young women showing off their great personalities onstage might find her staid Midwestern presence unnerving because it might remind them of their own mothers.  But she was more amused than alarmed by the proceedings, and beamed with pride over her son, the busker.

"I am thrilled for him, because it's what he wants," she says. "The two things I wanted for my children was to be independent, and to be happy, and he is both."

For more information on busking, try the websites and

-- Diane Haithman

Photo: Scot Nery performing his pancake show. Credit:Tina Saez