Goodbye, Sparkly Devil

Sparkly Devil works them for the crowd (courtesy of Johnny Crash Photography)

Every Memorial Day weekend sees its share of traffic jams, fender benders and, sadly, highway fatalities. And this past weekend was only different in the sense that one of its victims was none other than the performer Penny Starr Jr. called “the original bad girl of burlesque”: the sexy and infamous Sparkly Devil.

Sarah Klein, 36, was parked along a highway just south of San Francisco with her husband Raul Padilla, 43, when a party bus suddenly slammed head-on into their car.

Padilla’s red Honda impacted a center divider on US 101, spun around and came to rest facing oncoming traffic. Fortunately, the seat belt he was wearing saved his life (for now) and he was rushed to Stanford Hospital in critical condition. No word yet on whether he will survive or if he was under the influence at the time of the accident—there have been a few rumors to that effect from various news sources.

Sadly, Klein was not wearing her seat belt and was killed instantly. A tribute has been planned for her this Thursday evening at an annual convention in the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Snapping photos backstage (courtesy of Sparkly Devil)

Sarah Klein came to California in 2006 from Detroit, where she worked as a culture editor for the weekly Metro TimesShe landed in San Francisco and quickly became one of the city’s most celebrated performers and engaged community leaders.

Klein worked to commemorate the “golden age” of burlesque from the 1950s and 1960s and to promote the museum in Vegas, but she was best known for her incendiary performances on stage. Here is a quick blurb from her website:

“Sparkly Devil is a glittering collision of sass, class, ass, and over-the-top vaudevillian entertainment. She first cut her rhinestone-encrusted teeth in Detroit’s vibrant cultural underground over a decade ago, and quickly became a glittering diamond in the rough, having graced (and disgraced) stages across North America since 2000.”

And believe me. Sparkly Devil was very good at what she did.

After receiving first runner-up as Best Burlesque Act in a 2008 readers’ poll conducted by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Sparkly bounced back to win the Golden Pastie Award for “Performer Most Likely to End Up in Bangkok Missing a Kidney” at the 2009 Burlesque Festival in New York.

In other words, her star was just beginning to go supernova when it was suddenly and unfairly snuffed out. Did alcohol play a role in this terrible accident? Was it negligence? Coincidence?

Who knows… and seriously, who cares?

It took the Sparkly Devil away from us, and that is all that matters. Farewell, Sarah. And may you be the first devil in Heaven, sister.

Posted on May 28, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. What shame went to site and checked it out would have liked to seen her show…

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