She's Penny Starr Jr. and for six years, she's teased and tempted sci-fi fans in Los Angeles and San Diego with a series of shows featuring sexy dancers doing bump-and-grind numbers while dressed up as an Orion slave girl from "Star Trek," Princess Leia from "Star Wars" or even Uma Thurman's character from the "Kill Bill" films.
Now the show is coming to DVD next month under the title "Supernova A Go-Go Sci-Fi Burlesque Show," which will give nerds obsessed with aliens a chance to see some bodies that are out of this world.
Starr, 41, comes by her nerd cred honestly. She has been reading magazines like Starlog and Fangoria since she was a kid and her parents watched sci-fi films when she was growing up.
The striptease aspect has also been part of her life as well. Her grandmother, Penny Starr Sr., was a successful burlesque dancer in the 1950s and '60s.
"She did it to earn money to feed her family," Starr told AOL News. "It was never a secret around the house. Growing up, I thought everyone's grandmother worked on the fringe of society.
But while the fruit didn't land too far from the tree, it did roll around a bit on the ground before it finally stopped moving.
"Growing up, my feminist performance art and do-it-yourself aesthetic seemed so different from hers," Starr said. "She was pulling down sometimes two grand a night while I was making $50."
However, that perspective changed between 2001 and 2004 when Starr started working on a documentary on the Velvet Hammer, a modern-day burlesque troupe.
"I enjoyed making the movie, but I wasn't sure burlesque was my thing -- Americans are taught they shouldn't take off their clothes. However, when I finished the movie in 2004, and I knew it was good, I thought maybe I could dance."
So, she came up with a routine based on the "Bride of Frankenstein," proving even then she had full-frontal nerdity on her mind.
"I think of myself as a nerd first; then a filmmaker; and, finally, a dancer," she said. "All of these things fuel each other."
Naturally, her grandmother was thrilled -- especially after her granddaughter's very first public performance won her the coveted honor of "Ms. Exotic World Runner-up." However, Starr's admiration of her grandmother was such that she wouldn't let her see a performance until two years later.
"When she finally did see it, she was very pleased," Starr said. "In fact, she gave me the only outfit she had left -- she lost the other outfits in a fire. It was a tailcoat and top hat and we decided to do an act together."
Originally, Starr's grandmother wore the outfit when performing a routine to "Me and My Shadow," but because she couldn't remember the version she stripped to, they now perform to Paul Anka's version of Van Halen's "Jump."
"For some reason, she liked it," Starr shrugged.
As Starr came into her own, she thought about combining her new career, burlesque dancing, with her old love, science fiction. To her thinking, they are not as disparate as they seem.
"Burlesque deals with archetypes and stereotypes, such as the naughty housewife or a woman dressed as a tiger," she said. "That's not that different from an Orion slave girl or Princess Leia. After all, 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars' are just modern-day equivalents of the myths of the Norse Gods."
Dancer Bebe Firefly, who does the Orion slave girl routine on the DVD, believes the routine has helped her get more in touch with another side of her personality.
"I have more of a comedic approach," Firefly said. "But the Orion slave girl is more seductive and mysterious. When I become green, I become a different person. Both guys and girls love it. They're fascinated by the whole persona. It's like you're a celebrity."
But while Starr sees burlesque as a sophisticated art form that is much more subtle than the let-it-all-hang-out numbers seen at strip clubs, she does possess a keen business sense as to what her core audience really wants.
"The audience doesn't care about the art," she laughed. "They just want to see their favorite sci-fi pin-ups take their clothes off."
But what is an opportunity for geeks to see their sci-fi sweeties in the flesh is also a labor of love for Starr and the other dancers in the show.
"We make so little money from this show that it has to be fun," Starr said. "We are sexy and entertaining. A lot of women see us and say, 'I'm built like that woman,' and they go home and feel better about themselves."
But it's harder to tell which geeks are bigger: The audience or the dancers. For instance, for every dance number featuring a scantily clad Princess Leia, there is a more esoteric number featuring the dancer dressed up as a more obscure character.
"When one of the dancers said she wanted to dress up like one of the Watchmen, I thought she might do the Silk Spectre -- a female character," Starr said. "But she surprised me when she said she wanted to be the [cigar-smoking, moustache-wearing] Comedian, a male character."
For variety, Starr has added other entertainers to the mix, such as a comedian telling jokes only a geek would get -- or love. The DVD also features a musical number by Starr's husband, filmmaker David Avallone and emcee Gary Shapiro: A duet that imagines "I Will Survive" as sung by Captain Kirk and Ricardo Montalban's character from "Wrath of Khan."
"We originally came up with it for a gay-themed show, and adopted it for this show," Avallone admitted. "We realized that if Kirk came in on the line, 'So now you're back ... from outer space...,' it would be really funny."
It's one number in a show full of teasing, titillation and temptresses, but both Starr and Avallone believe it also reminds folks of what burlesque originally was.
"All stand-up comedy emerges from burlesque," Avallone said. "When the burlesque clubs closed down, the comics went to nightclubs, while the dancers went to the strip club and the dancers that didn't go to the strip club retired."
If the DVD is successful, Starr hopes to take the show to other cities. However, she refuses to compromise her vision just for cash.
"No one's making enough money here that we have to appeal to the lowest common denominator," she said. "That said, 'Star Trek' is pretty popular."