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Showing posts from July, 2007

Dita on CNN

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Click here for the video.

I love it when she says, "I can't make myself a six foot tall supermodel frolicking on the beach in a bikini. But I can make myself into this!"

Well, I couldn't make myself into Dita Von Teese, and not just because my style isn't the same. [moment of cheerful envy] But I do find her inspiring, and I'm always thrilled to see her in the news!


Dita frolicking onstage at Tease-O-Rama, 2002.

I found this news piece through Luke Littel's post in the Miss Exotic World Yahoo Group

ADDED:
Another great Dita interview, submitted by Laura Herbert.

What a Bunch of Dogs!

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Many of the performers in the uber-friendly New York burlesque community get to know each others' families, and that includes their pets. Bunny Love made the most of these personal connections by producing a Dog Show (striptease optional) at the Slipper Room.


Bunny Love and Belvedere host the show


Danny Biondo and Bela sing a song


Suzanne puts Tiny Doug through the hoops


Albert Cadabra and Ruby the Wonder Dog prepare to do a magic trick with audience participation


Dottie Lux and Peggy Sue eat peanut butter


Bambi the Mermaid and Willow perform a tribute to Love

Audience members were allowed to bring their dogs, and everyone behaved. Bunny reports that there was no cattiness backstage.

Strummin' and Strippin' Across Canada!

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'Take one guitar wonderkid and one international burlesque star, throw the two together, and you get a rock-out road show hitting a Canadian city near you! Real life couple, Alistair Christl and Tanya Cheex, have put together a winning combination of tunes and tease. Touring to promote his new CD release, "Unmarked Grave," Alistair is a one-man show in the tradition of Hank Williams and Hasil Adkins. Tanya has just finished a two month stint with the world famous sold-out "Spiegel Show" in Toronto. Don't miss the opportunity to see the two bust out musically and physically! '



When I received this show announcement from Tanya, I knew this had to be good. She's a fierce and fabulous performer with a lovely bit of edge, and always full of good ideas. She and Alistair were good enough to do a quick interview. When I say quick, I mean I emailed the questions and had the answers in half an hour!

How did you get interested in burlesque?
Tanya: My grandmot…

Sherry Britton in the New York Daily News

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' I write about this glamour lady today because I recently learned she is still around and her heels are still clicking. I remember when she was called "Great Britton, a stripteuse with brains." '
She's still one great Britton

You'll love this article! Submitted by Laura Herbert.

I've interviewed Sherry and I hope to share that interview here soon. She has been a good friend to me and a great supporter of the shows I've been in. The shoes I wear for my fan dance and HH tribute number were Sherry's--they're pretty fabulous and she made me promise that if she gave them to me, I'd wear them onstage, so I do.


Laura, Me, Sherry, and Luke at Liz Goldwyn's screening of Pretty Things


One of Sherry's costumes on display at the screening.

I'm currently processing several interviews with Burlesque Legends--that means I'm waiting for all the pix to come in. I admit I'm a big sap and every one of these interviews leaves me a bit mi…

Picture Post: Kitten DeVille

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I'm incredibly lucky with some of the access I have to take photos. I try to make the most of it! Here are some of my favorite shots I've taken of Kitten DeVille.


Onstage with the Pontani Sisters' Burlesque-A-Pades in NYC, 2006


With Dirty Martini at Starshine Burlesque, NYC, 2006


Backstage at Exotic World, Las Vegas, 2006

That Christopher Walken Number

When many neo-burlesquers are asked which is their favorite striptease in a movie (that is, a scripted movie that isn't necessarily about burlesque, as opposed to a collection of clips of burlesque performances), this one is cited the most. And for good reason!



I perform a lecture called "Exotic Dance in Contemporary Film." It's mostly about burlesque, of course. I explain how the film clips of burlesque dancers recorded in the 30s-60s are often overdubbed because either they were shot silent or the music rights were too expensive for the video producers to acquire, meaning that we don't get to see how the dancers utilized the music. Plus, they are usually shot with a single camera and we don't get to see how the dancers utilized an audience. We can see their hair, costumes, and a few of their moves, but we can't get a full sense of them. Frankly, watching a burlesque routine on film, though fun, is not remotely a substitute for watching the number as par…

In the Closet: Burgundy Brixx

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The previous peek into a performer's closet with Paula the Swedish Housewife gave a sense of how a lifetime of devotion to performance and costuming can affect a burlesque devotee's environment (and that of their friends and family) over decades. In this interview, you'll get the same view into the closet of a very new face in burlesque, the fabulous Burgundy Brixx. Multi-talented, like many burlesque newcomers with previous theatrical experience, she sings, sews, does acrobatics, and demonstrates the unmistakable polish of a performer with a professional dance background. She's a force to be reckoned with! Of course I'm partial because she and her partner, the ingenious Fem Appeal, met in one of my workshops and began working together to produce Fem's weekly burlesque show, Kitty Nights, and they say nice things about me. But I have a feeling you're going to become a fan as well.

Are you an organized person?
You kind-of have to be in a New York apartment, …

If You Want to Strip in this Revue, You Need Big Balls (Of Yarn)

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' Beneath black tattered ceiling tiles and a perimeter of colorful lights, seven dancers shed their costumes in the nine-act show, coordinated by Nikol Lohr of Lawrence, author of the saucy knitting guide Naughty Needles. Everything in the show was knitted by Lohr and a handful of volunteers. '
Scene: Naughty Needles Knitted Burlesque Revue


Nasty's Knitted Pasties

Picture Post: Peekaboo at Pinchbottom

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I just wanted to say "Peekboo at Pinchbottom." Try saying it the next time you're depressed. Better than Prozac.


Nasty Canasta, Clams Casino, Tigger, and Peekaboo in "A Chorus Line."


Peekaboo and Gigi LaFemme in "Jellicle Cats."


Peekaboo in "Bali Hai."

All photos by Jo Weldon.
Taken at the July 20 "Bottoms over Broadway" show.

Peekaboo Pointe
Pinchbottom Burlesque

In the Closet: Paula the Swedish Housewife

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What is your name, and what is your area of interest in burlesque?
I am known as Paula The Swedish Housewife, Ginger! and a few other persona as well. I currently reside in Seattle Washington where I produce a weekly burlesque show, as well as several one offs a year. I co founded Seattle's first live burlesque band Orchestra L'Pow! with Dain Hudson in 06 , I have produced the Exotic World Meet and Greets (Friday night reunions) for the last 3 years and the last two The Miss Exotic World Pageants. I have been performing Burlesque for over 6 years, but have been performing in cabaret for more than 25 years. I am a great fan of burlesque and go see shows in every city and country I can.


Paula on the Rocks. Photo by Christopher Nelson.

Chandeliers Swinging from Paula. Photo by Don Spiro.

Are you an organized person?
Not really.


Click to enlarge. Photo of Paula's closet by Jo Weldon.

Do you make your own costumes? If so, where do you sew?
I make some of my costumes, most…

What Julie Eats

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Julie performing in Boston with the Sex Workers Art Show. Photo by Jo Weldon.

'I went to La Casalinga and had the spaghetti puttanesca, which means “spaghetti of the whore.” After all, I’m a burlesque performer and a nightlife whore. I like Casalinga — it sounds like cunnilingus, which I really like. All of the food is home cooked. It’s fancy restaurant food at an affordable hole-in-the-wall. The kitchen closes at 11:30 p.m., which for a nightlife person is a very good thing. '

Performer Julie Atlas Muz Eats Chocolate Chips at 5 A.M.

Whatever she eats, it makes her nice and strong.


Julie performing in Weimar New York at Spiegeltent. Photo by Jo Weldon.

Burlesque in Victoria

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' A few days later, I catch the Cheesecakes performing at the Pride celebration at Fisherman's Wharf. There are a record 18,000 people there. The sun is scorching. The beer has run out and the drag queens are getting surly. But the troupe manages to keep the crowd in high spirits. Cheers explode when the women tear away velcro-seamed pants and spray sparkles for their finale, the Village People's YMCA. '
City women embracing burlesque style

Way to go, Victoria! Yay for more burlesque! I love the idea of them performing in front of 18,000 people.

At the end she says you can't teach burlesque, which I don't find to be true; I don't find that teaching people classic moves inhibits their abilities to find their own styles. It just inspires their confidence to give classic burlesque a try. I bet she ends up teaching in spite of herself!


My students at the last School of Burlesque showcase, June 2007. I didn't have any pix of the Cheesecakes!

Recommended Reading: Honey Harlow's Autobiography

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Honey: The life and loves of Lenny's shady lady
by Honey Bruce
Playboy Press, Los Angeles, 1976.

In my late teens I became obsessed with the First Amendment and its protection of adult material, about which I had very strong (ahem) feelings. Once I became adult material myself, I was even more passionate about defending adults' rights to uncensored media, and Lenny Bruce was one of my idols. As soon as I read her autobiography, his wife, Hot Honey Harlow, became one of my idols as well.

Hot Honey Harlow, known also as Honey Bruce, produced one of my favorite books by a burlesque legend. She published her autobiography two years after much of her life had already been revealed in Bob Fosse's film "Lenny" (which I highly recommend to burlesque students for Valerine Perrine's depiction of Honey Harlow's routine, and for First Amendments students for the depiction of Lenny's arrests and responses). However, I suspect she would have been open about…

Weimar Burlesque in the New York Times

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' “The Weimar aesthetic has taken over,” said Justin Bond, the torch singer who performs as the female half of Kiki & Herb, and belts the theme song for “Weimar New York,” the cabaret revue opening tonight at the Spiegeltent, near the South Street Seaport. (“Come pop your cork/Bring a dollar and a dream/It’s a mall where over all hangs a pall that enthralls/Weimar New York.”) '
Life Is a Weimar Dream, Old Chum, and Downtown Loves a Nouveau Cabaret


Daniel Isengart in Weimar New York at Spiegeltent. Photo by Jo Weldon.


Meow Meow in Weimar New York at Spiegeltent. Photo by Jo Weldon.


Pixie Harlot with Rhinestone Baseball Bat in Weimar New York at Spiegeltent. Photo by Jo Weldon.

Article submitted to my yahoo group by Lady Aye.

My own Weimar-ish project is that I've been working on a gallery using all the flyers, articles, and photos I've collected over the past 10 years to do an homage to Voluptuous Panic, but making it look as if what's been happening in the per…

Interview with Burlesque Legend Dee Milo

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With their express permission, I teach the moves certain legends of burlesque have taught directly to me. One of my favorites is the one I call "The Dee Milo," a naughty little forward bump n bend move that Dee did in the 1950s and still does today. Dee performs regularly at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Reunions, has taught there and at Burlycon, and traveled to New York last year to perform in our Mother's Day Burlesque Show. You can see her move in my book--or better yet, go to Las Vegas this June and see her perform yourself!


Image from Dee Milo's website.

When did you get into burlesque?
1949.

How did you come up with your stage name?
My manager wanted to keep it short to fit on marquees. Since my name is Dorothy we used Dee, and then we used "Milo" so I could be called the "Venus of Dance."

Where did you begin?
New Orleans. I had great instruction from our female master of ceremonies. I don't remember her name! I don't even remember the na…

Rock N Roll Burlesque Show In LA

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' "For a lot of us — the performers, even the audience — punk rock completely altered our lives in a really positive way," said Annie Sperling, a.k.a. Ming Dynatease and one of the organizers behind the show, which will take place quarterly. '
The Music That Moved Them


Ming Dynatease in the pool at Binion's in Las Vegas during the 2006 Exotic World Weekend. Photo by Jo Weldon.


Diamondback Annie performing a fan dance to Kiss in the 2006 Miss Exotic World Pageant. Photo by Jo Weldon.

I found this article in Kelly DiNardo's Candy Pitch.

Michigan Burlesque!

' The performers trained for about 6 months, [Meghan] Solano said, and choreographed all their own dances. In addition, the comedians wrote their own material.

' “Few of us have any dance experience,” said Solano, who also performed in Thursday’s show. “I’m just amazed because all of these people ... this is completely raw talent and everybody was awesome.” '

Vaudeville show a reflection of bygone era

Knee Deep in Burlesque: Nasty Canasta's Backstage Photos

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Most performers have cameras in their bags, same as anybody else, and they capture some rare moments (hardly any work-safe). I'll be sharing plenty of my backstage shots here, but I want to share a few from other performers as well. If you've got some great backstage shots you can share, let me know!


Nasty's Knees at Pinchbottom Burlesque. Photo by Jo Weldon.

Nasty Canasta takes a lot of fun pictures backstage. She's a stylish,creative wench who sews, knits, and makes giant cereal boxes. Her photos reflect her constant search for an additional point of view from which to be entertained. I particularly love her "knees" series. I'm kinky that way. But trust me, even if knees aren't your thing, you should check out her flickr page.

Jonny Porkpie, Jo Boobs, Amber Ray, Veronika Sweet


Creamy Stevens


Scarlet Sinclair


Harvest Moon


Peekaboo Pointe and Anita Cookie


Little Brooklyn

Girls in Giant Champagne Glasses

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Today I received this question from a reader:

"[I] was wondering if you might know where one could purchase an oversized champagne glass, like the one dita von tease or catherine d'lish uses????"


Venus Delight in her Giant Champagne Glass circa 1989-1994. Photo Property of Venus Delight.


Catherine D'Lish in her champagne glass at Tease-o-rama 2002. Photo Copyright Jo Weldon.

Honestly, I probably can't afford a giant champagne glass, and if I could afford it, I probably couldn't afford to store or transport it, and even if I could, I couldn't afford stage hands to get it onto the tiny stages I usually occupy.

It just so happens, however, that I do know how to purchase one. What I know is that you have to have one made, unless you can find one used, as they are not mass-produced. If you want to have one made, you first have to locate a prop maker or custom acrylic fabricator. The same prop makers who make props for movies, theater, and events are the o…