New Interview with Jo Weldon!

“In our very first class together, Jo introduced us to the rules of burlesque, then immediately told us all to do whatever the f*ck we want,” recalls Poison Ivory, NYBF alumni May 2012. “I took that advice and decided to do exactly that.” Jo’s reverence for the past coupled with an outlaw instinct to dismiss the rules make her a compelling teacher and accomplished writer. She is author of The Burlesque Handbook and Fierce: The History of Leopard Print as well as numerous articles on stripping and sex work.  She has been a member of the production team for the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender as well as Co-Curator/Vice President of the Board for BurlyCon. She’s advocated for sex workers, burlesque, and a life of freedom, glamour, and self-love. But as it turns out in unwrapping the gorgeous gift to ecdysiast history that is Jo Weldon, burlesque is, well… just the tip. Her journey is as fascinating as the history she teaches. —from the article by Jessica Price Read more at https://21stc…


Photo of Jo Weldon by Ben Trivett

I’ve been trying to organize myself to make some how to videos. For some reason it’s the hardest thing for me to manage to do! But I had a few extra minutes before class and made this hairography tutorial based on my class at BurlyCon 2019.  I hope you enjoy!

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Let me know what other videos you'd like me to make! I'll be doing them quick and dirty, very lofi, in a few minutes before and after classes in the New York School of Burlesque studio.

Leopard Print Pasties

At the end of November 2019, my work bag was stolen. It contained the props I use to teach burlesque: boas, gloves, fans, and pasties, as well as the clothes I wear to teach, my speaker and cords, and the suitcase itself.
I needed to raise money fast so I could get the props and be able to work.
I put out a notice to the burlesque community on social media. I said I was available to fill in as a host and performer and offered to make custom leopard print pasties. The support was incredible. My former students hired me for their shows. People made enough cash donations to cover the cost of replacing boas and gloves and some of the other equipment. Tiger Bay donated a pair of beautiful fans. And people ordered leopard print pasties in droves, in a matter of days. I was crying with gratitude.

It took me almost two months to handle all the orders. Even though I've taught thousands of people to make basic pasties, I wasn't used to making pasties on demand, or to making spinners. I…

Over 50 in The Burlesque Top 50!

Above: Me performing at BHoF in 2019.
I am grateful to be in The Burlesque Top 50 this year! It's an honor to be in such good company. I honestly didn't expect it this year, as I've been seeing marvelous shifts toward celebrating the new in our community. Congratulations to everyone on the list, and to all the people who voted! It's exciting to see burlesque's evolution! It's becoming so much more representative of what people have said they want burlesque to be. It is so much more diverse than it used to be, and that's in no small part because audiences want it that way. Producers should never say that their audience isn't ready for fat or POC or trans or queer or neo performers. The audience has great taste! And one of the ways that has been proven has been by people who were told there wasn't a place for them gaining audiences when they make their own spaces. It isn't because privileged people deigned to include them. It's because they w…

Interview with Coleen Scott, Author of The Costumes of Burlesque and The Pastie Project

I've been friends with Coleen Scott, AKA Rosey La Rouge, for years, since I met her as a student and later a full-fledged performer, as well as a producer at, among other places, Coney Island. Along with Storybook Burlesque, she helped create a show to celebrate the release of The Burlesque Handbook. Later, she helped me stay sane during the image permissions process of writing Fierce: The History of Leopard Print. She's a good friend and a fabulous costumer and historian, and I'm tickled to be able to release this interview on her birthday.

Above: flyer from Rosey's farewell-to-NYC show.

 Jo: How did you get involved with burlesque?

Rosey: My first experience working in burlesque was in 2008 through a class with the magical Veronica Varlow. This led to a regular gig as stage kitten at The weekly Skullduggery and Skin show with Albert Cadabra and Gal Friday at the now-defunct Lucky Chang’s in the East Village. It also led to my first actual burlesque performance in May o…

Where A Fist Ends And A Nose Begins

I talk to hundreds of people about their ideas for burlesque acts, and I have to talk to them about cultural appropriation all the time. Having had so many of these conversations, I've reached a conclusion: cultural appropriation isn't the point.

To be sure, cultural appropriation is as much of a problem as many people say it is, and I absolutely do not endorse it, and won't knowingly help anyone develop an act that I understand to be appropriative.

However, I think the issue -- and the range of accountability -- is much, much bigger. I've started to use the term "cultural sensitivity," a term I learned while studying decolonizing fashion history.

Cultural sensitivity includes understanding and eschewing cultural appropriation, but it includes so much more. A simple example is the Confederate flag. For a white southerner whose ancestors fought under that flag in the US civil war to wear a costume that incorporates it is NOT cultural appropriation, but it is cult…

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