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Tits 'n' asteroids at Tate's

The opening of the "Sex and Science" show at Bear and Bird Boutique and Gallery, the girly section of Tate's Comics in Lauderhill, brought out all manner of perverts, who perhaps were encouraged by the show's warning that it was rated PG-13 "due to boobies."

Upstairs, among art, jewelry, and cartoon-inspired accessories, the crowd was circulating in the tiny space to quirky sex music like the Buzzcocks' "Orgasm Addict" and Nikki & the Corvettes' "Back Seat Love," courtesy of DJ Sensitive Side, the alter ego of hip-hop artist Jasper Delaini. I met artist Skot Olsen, who had an untitled piece in the show that he called a "biological abstraction" and who helped design and build the comic-book store, which has a 1939 World's Fair-inspired robot theme. Asked if he had any Tate's stories to share, he said, "None that I can tell the press" and laughed.

I leaned over a fuzzy love seat to check out And That's Beauty, a colored-pencil drawing by artist Pooka Machine of two sexy chicks with blowjob lips, one injecting the other's forehead. This made me an ideal target for a skyscraper in an oxford shirt to make his introduction. John, a six-foot-five P.E. teacher, proved he was a slightly less-than-professional player by wearing his wire-framed glasses on his forehead as he tried to score chicks in the Gen X and Y crowd. Shifting in his Teva sandals, he admitted he was 51. "But on Match.com, I'm 46," he said.

The difference was as negligible to me as removing trans fats from doughnuts, but I figured I'd give him a chance.

John said this was his second visit to Tate's. He'd come the first time to buy a sci-fi collectible. "I thought it would complete my existence to have a Predator mask," he said, laughing. Now the mask was in storage. "It wasn't working out where it was," he said. And where was that?

At his fiancée's house, he said. "She threw me out, and now it's in a box."

Better the mask than the fiancée.

Speaking of predators, I spotted a familiar face in the free wine and beer line. A guy wearing a Nightmare Before Christmas pendant said we'd met at the Anime Super Convention in April. "You asked me if I was a pedophile," he said.

"Remind me?" I asked.

"I'm not," he said.

Cordially, he reintroduced himself, saying he wished to be known as Max Powers. A 28-year-old Miami high school math teacher, he was into "all things drawn," he said, whether they were comics, animation, or visual representations of equations.

I asked him what powers he'd take to the max if he could.

"I would be a supervillain," he said.

Some might say that as a math teacher, he'd accomplished that already.

So he settled on teleportation as his power of ideal choice — "because I'm lazy and I don't like walking."

I got my pinot grigio, slid past a free-standing wall filled with vintage pinups, and ran into my friend Kim, who works in marketing. She'd come with her boyfriend, Ike, a publicist. Ike had spent most of the evening downstairs in dorktopia, among the collectibles and graphic novels. I told Kim I thought the place was a monument to spoiled adults who tried to perpetually live as adolescents.

"Most of our childhoods sucked," she said, "so we deserve it."

Ah — entitlement: the new patriotism.

"I'm watching Bettie Page and reliving my adolescence," said a man who stood before a red, bubble-shaped boob tube, regarding footage of the 1950s diva wagging her tush. He was Paul Tsimortos, a 57-year-old used-car salesman and former owner of the South Beach gallery Joya, which displayed local art in the days before Lincoln Road was renovated. He'd positioned himself right in front of a three-foot-square table where burlesque artist Torchy Taboo was about to perform. "I'm not into comics," he said. "I came for the show."

Seventeen-year-old Plantation High student Josh Edelstein and his pals were also waiting for the real-live boobies. "You can't find anything like this in South Florida," he said of Tate's.

His friends agreed, including 17-year-old Jasmine Jeffers, who said she was "pretty into anime and graphic novels" and was headed to Princeton on a full scholarship to study political science.

Our conversation was interrupted when Torchy was introduced as the human heat wave. With lipstick that rivaled the glitter of Dorothy's ruby slippers and Betty Boop-style googly eyes affixed somehow over her real peepers, she started her routine as a wind-up doll. When she began stripping, it was a slow tease: The removal of a white opera-length glove revealed a red one beneath it. Her sheer sea-foam dress came off to reveal a bra, corset, and fringed panty ensemble. When she whipped off her bra and swung her pasties, the crowd cheered.

"What breasts have done to man!" Tsimortos said.

Torchy winked at a pudgy Latino behind her and held her hand up in a phone shape as she mouthed "Call me." The man winced as the crowd turned its attention to him. And then, just like that, the three-minute show was over.

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