This is Jo Weldon's New-York-Based Blog About Burlesque with Original Articles, Striptease Tips, Interviews, Class Announcements, News, Photo Posts, Peeks into Performers' Closets, and More. You can ask a question, request an article about a topic, or book Jo to teach, host, or perform by emailing email@example.com . See schoolofburlesque.com for class schedule, or book a private session now through email.
'And let's not overlook "painter" Amber Ray stripped down to a pair of nipple tassels swirled into cans of paint and then sprinkled, smeared, and shimmied across a canvas; or the St. Louis duo, Gravity Plays Favorites, two scantily clad acrobats, known for their athletic twists and turns and unearthly contortions on spinning poles. '
Amber Ray at the New York Burlesque Festival. Photo by Jo Weldon.
Gravity Plays Favorites at the New York Burlesque Festival. Photo by Jo Weldon.
I'm the article too. I'm in the news twice in one day! How unlike me!
There are a couple of sentences I have to wonder about--for instance, I'm not exactly a school teacher in the sense that reading that description without info might lead the reader to believe, I'm a burlesque teacher. And it's more than a bit annoying to have your life's work, which you can see right here in my blog, attributed to someone else, even when that person is also quite worthy of being considered a researcher. But it's a fun article!
The burlesque scene has its very own print magazine thanks to Dale "Black Dahlia" Rio, Shimmy Magazine's
co-owner/editor and photographer (recently relocated to
Seattle). She has been photographing burlesque for about five
years. A little over a year ago she began editing and publishing Shimmy Magazine, the only print magazine devoted to burlesque. I know how hard it is to not only get a project like that off the ground, but to keep it going for any amount of time, and I'm thrilled to hear that Shimmy has come out in a larger format and is now being distributed in bookstores! She interviewed me for Shimmy and now...well, turnabout is foreplay.
How did you get interested in publishing?
I've worked on the other side of publishing, as a
freelance photographer and writer, for over ten years,
and when my business partner, Robin, and I decided to
start shimmy, it was both of our first forays into the
business side of things. it's been quite an
"I also think it's really timely the way that women's bodies are politicized. It's really about seeing people's different bodies and enjoying that and getting away from this weird ideal that is reinforced in movies, TV and advertising," Cho said. To do that, Cho has cast many women and men protégé performers of differing shapes and sizes to "change and recreate the ideal of what is attractive."
When I posted my article on where to get giant champagne glasses, I got a reponse from Miss Maulie Keebler, who has one of her own. Intrigued by a woman who owns the prop established as the icon of burlesque props by Lili St Cyr, the Femlin, and dueling cocktail glass partners Catherine D'Lish and Dita Von Teese, I decided to learn more about Miss Maulie. It turns out she’s a fulltime burlesque performer of about 7 years experience. She’s originally from Kentucky, but currently based in Austin, Texas. Below, she answers a few questions and gives us a peek into her showgirl storage solutions, which includes decorating her own Tiki bar with her props!
Maulie, where did your stage name come from?
In 2000 & 2001 I was wrestling professionally on the indie circuit. Since I’m from Kentucky, they would call me the Kentucky Wildcat….so we started spelling my name “Maulie” because I would “maul my opponents like a wildcat.”
How did you get interested in burlesque?
When I was about 6 o…
Where did you perform most?
Outside of Vegas I worked a lot in Florida, where it paid well. I also worked Canada, Mexico City (at the El Presidente, no less), Hawaii, Japan, Hong Kong, Guam--that's why my life story is called "Have Tassels, Will Travel!" At one point I did 25 towns in 32 weeks, working six days each week with one day for travel. I did over 25000 performances. I worked in in Europe--Barcelona, Paris, Italy, Switzerland, Germany. I used to sit on the plane and the airline magazine would list all the stops, all the little red lines going to each city, and I worked almost every city United Airlines served. You could really make a living in burlesque then. I would make 1200-2500 a week in the mid 80s, and they paid our transportation and hotels, usually.
What is your fondest memory of all that traveling?
Japan. I loved it. I worked at Nichigeki Theater in Tokyo in 1969, a theater in the round with the stage at the bottom. The stage came up from the basement a…
If there was ever an interview which I wish you had gotten to hear, this is it. Satan's Angel has a smoky, bawdy style of speech that I would flat-out steal if I could. She's a ball of fire even when she's not twirling flaming tassels on her nipples, and almost unbearably thrilling when she is twirling. I'm separating this interview into two parts because even with the edits I just couldn't cut it down! You'll love every bit of it.
When did you get into burlesque?
I started around 1962. I went sneaking out the back door of our house and wandering the mission in San Franscisco where I'm from. I had problems with taking my clothes off at gym in junior high because I was gay but didn't know it. I wouldn't take my clothes off in front of the gym teachers. And, you know the story, nice Catholic girl, went to Catholic school. I'm probably more of a hussy onstage than I am off, just the way I was brought up (laug…
I'm way behind on everything, but I couldn't resist posting this because, wouldn't you know it, I just happen to have a picture of Ms. Honeybush in her hot dog queen outfit!
'When I apply the make-up, eyelashes, and wig, I really embrace the glamorous side of me. I feel quite at home on the stage and actually relish in the attention. In real life, I own a hot dog stand in East Nashville’s Five Points area called I Dream of Weenie. I wear denim and tank tops and grill weenies. Often times my makeup runs, and in the recent heat, I feel quite un-glamorous. But I’m so happy being a business owner who sells weenies! Every day is a sausage party!'
'The amazing clothes are an added attraction, the chance for performers and patrons to wear spectacular outfits from the heydays of Moulin Rouge chic and Las Vegas glam: giant headdresses, gloves, stockings, corsets and feather boas.'