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Alt-porn’s Suicide Girls strike

North Carolina- Whether you view the Suicide Girls as a feminist take on alternative erotica or just more porn, one thing is certain: These tattooed and pierced beauties have become the Playmates of the new millennium.

Several of these women — among the many featured on the pinup and lifestyle site at www.suicidegirls.com — will stop at Amos’ Southend tonight as part of the Suicide Girls Burlesque Tour.

And this isn’t your average striptease.

Yes, there are plenty of topless women; but instead of mindless pole-dancing, the Suicide Girls’ rock ‘n’ roll routines include hula-hooping and a contortionist.

“It’s definitely campy, with props and outfits — almost like a play,” said Myrtle Beach-based Scott Smallin, who photographs Southeastern Suicide Girls for the site.

Nudie photos, message boards, fees

More than 1,200 girls from around the world, including the Carolinas, are featured on the site. These may not be Hugh Hefner’s Girls Next Door, but they could realistically be the punk or goth girl down the block.Smallin’s 20-year-old girlfriend, who works at a health food store, goes by the online tag of Elly.

“A lot of the girls are very confident women. For me, it was like a coming out,” she said of becoming a Suicide Girl. “It’s not hardcore porn. It’s pinup art.”

A full membership to the Web site is $12 a month or $48 a year. In addition to the naked pictures, you also get access to member profiles and message boards.

“Because you have a journal and they encourage you to sell and display your art and promote bands you’re in, you’re allowed to have more personality,” Elly said of comparisons to Playboy and Penthouse. “I don’t know if respectable is the right word, but they see more … than just your body.”

Music promotion and DVD sales

Members join for different reasons. Elly, who is neither tattooed nor pierced, was attracted to the site’s style, which is evocative of pinup models from the ’40s and ’50s. Lennon Murphy, 24, who is touring with Aerosmith and Motley Crue, uses the site to promote her music. Jessica, a 19-year-old Charlotte-based entertainer, became a fan after seeing an ad in Cosmopolitan magazine five years ago.

“I wasn’t of age (then). I decided recently that I was mature enough to do it,” said Jessica, who recently had her first session with Smallin and will adopt the online name Stevie when her photos are officially posted.

Watching the DVD of the first Burlesque Tour inspired her to do the shoot.

“I’ve been in love with the DVD. I would absolutely love to get on the Burlesque Tour,” she said.

Most of the current performers are based in California, and Jessica hasn’t spoken with anyone about auditioning yet. Elly, on the other hand, isn’t as interested in the Suicide Girls’ modern take on burlesque.

“The classic burlesque shows with garter belts and the whole get-up — that was pretty awesome,” she said. “The tour might be fun if I had more friends (doing it). A lot of girls on the West Coast are friends and can do things together. But in the South, there just aren’t many of us.”

PREVIEW

Suicide Girls

If you can’t make it, there’s always “Suicide Girls: The First Tour” on DVD.

WHEN: 8:30 p.m. today.

WHERE: Amos’ Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St.

TICKETS: $14.

DETAILS: 704-377-6874; www.etix.com.

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