In Analyze This, Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro) tells therapist Dr. Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal) about his inability to maintain an erection. Theyre sitting at an empty bar, and behind the top-shelf liquor, mermaids with pouty lips and sensual underwater acrobatics seductively tease the two men. But behind that veil of underwater eroticism, theres a glimpse into Florida history: the aquatic spectacle.
I call it aquatic performance or water ballet, says Marina Anderson, a longtime practitioner of underwater theater and star of the Mermaid Show at Sheraton Fort Lauderdales Wreck Bar. Im sure some people can see eroticism in just about anything, Anderson says, but that certainly wasnt my motivation. My mom exposed me to Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid and Esther Williamss movies. And the first time I came to Florida, I was blown away by all these dive shows. Visible from the bars surrounding tank windows, Anderson is a strikingly beautiful underwater creature in a seashell bra, fin, flowing locks, and hypnotic undulations. She adds, Sometimes parents will enthusiastically try to fool kids into thinking that Im a real mermaid. Ill tell them: No, Im not. Im an aquatic performer.ÿ To experience a piece of old Florida, check out Andersons free show every Friday night at the Wreck Bar.
Fri., July 1, 6:30 p.m., 2011