Friday, June 27, 2008

Now Available: Thesis, Finding Aid, Digital Exhibit



Hello, everyone!

This is Layne Fargo - you may remember me as the graduate student who's been bugging the kind people on this list for the past year or so with questions for her burlesque-related thesis. Well, my thesis is finally completed, and the finished document (which features quotes from several community members whom I was lucky enough to interview) is available online at this address:

http://www.ohiolink.edu/etd/view.cgi?acc_num=osu1211331939

I completed several other burlesque-themed projects during my final year of graduate study at Ohio State which might be of interest, too. One is a finding aid for the Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance From Burlesque to Clubs (housed at Ohio State's Lawrence & Lee Theatre Research Institute) giving a detailed, searchable listing of the contents of that collection. That can be found in the OhioLink finding aid repository here:

http://ead.ohiolink.edu/xtf-ead/view?docId=ead/xOU-TR0005.xml

I also curated a digital exhibit using materials from the McCaghy Collection, which can be found on the OSU Libraries site here:

http://library.osu.edu/sites/exhibits/burlesque/

If anyone has questions about any of these projects, I'm more than happy to answer them. A big thank you to everyone on this list for all the help you've given me over the course of my graduate studies. I had a wonderful time researching burlesque and getting a small glimpse into your fantastic world!

~Layne Fargo

Layne originally posted this in The Miss Exotic World Yahoo Group.

Layne Fargo
Above: Continuing Education Stipend winner Emily Layne Fargo. Photo Courtesy Emily Layne Fargo.

Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cyd Charisse Passes


Click the immage above to read about Cyd Charisse at lovegoddess.com.

If anybody ever set a standard for the way a glamourous dancer should walk across the stage, it was Cyd Charisse.

I first became really conscious of Cyd Charisse when I was in high school because my best friend's mother, Carol Richards, did Cyd's vocals in Brigadoon, and then my best friend performed in our school's production of Brigadoon. I remember my friend (who had her mother's singing ability and regularly blew me away with her talent and her genius) moving like a hurricane in a dance scene, and thinking, "Oh, that's so for me!" The dancing I felt I could get near; the singing, most definitely not (as those who saw me play and sing Black Dog at Houses of the Unholy can attest). There was no youtube then, and I really had to bust my buns to get my eyes on more of Cyd's performances, but when I did, this is what I saw:



Cyd Charisse was not a burlesque dancer, but the characters she portrayed in her numbers had such a fierceness, such an attitude of independence and personal power, and such strong tones of vixen and femme fatale, that it is inevitable she would be an influence on burlesque performers. Perhaps burlesque performers had an influence on her; I'm not an expert on her career and wouldn't know. I often think that if all it took were fancy costumes and character dancing to interest burlesque aficianados, we would not need the striptease part of burlesque--we could just refer to MGM musicals and never take off a thing. But for that sense of being undomesticated that draws so many of us to identify so intensely with the striptease artist rather than other with equally glamourous women who don't engage the aspects of burlesque (self-generated ideas, transcending formal training [or the lack thereof] to create one's own style, and a bit of outrageousness), clothing removal aside, that make it unique, there is no dancer outside of burlesque--or inside, obviously--quite like Queen Charisse. She was elegant, seductive, and beautiful, but also challenging.



Sadly, Carol Richards passed away last year, and Cyd Charisse just this month. Due to producing a student showcase and preparing for the Mermaid Parade this past week I'm a bit late with my tribute to Cyd's influence on the dancing style of many burlesquers as well as on the rest of the dance universe, but I was moved by her life and her death.



Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Mermaid Parade

Me at the Mermaid Parade. Photo by Amy Sussman.
Above: Me at the Mermaid Parade this past weekend, bringing in the New York School of Burlesque School of Fish.

The Mermaid Parade is not strictly a burlesque event, but it's definitely an event cherished by the New York burlesque community. Like Wigstock, it's been a meeting ground for performance artists, drag queens, and people who just love dress-up ( or undress-up) since the 1980s, and, like Wigstock, has fostered a sense of community based on the joy of costuming and playfulness. When I moved to New York permanently in the 90s after years of traveling back and forth between NY and Atlanta, I immediately became devoted to these annual events. It's almost like a family reunion for me!

Mermaid Parade
Above: Mermaid Parade, 2006. Tigger, Erochica Bamboo, Laura Herbert, Taylor Mac, Me, Dirty Martini, Francesca.


The Burlesque Revival Association in the 2002 Mermaid Parade.


Bambi the Mermaid and Bunny Love at Ruby's after the 2002 Mermaid Parade.

The Mermaid Parade is produced by Coney Island USA, an NFP which aims to "defend the honor of American popular art forms through innovative exhibitions and performances." For more information about this amazing arts organization, click the banner!


Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Coney Island Hearing

I rarely post notices, but this is important, not just for burlesque (which would not exist in New York as it now does if it weren't for the shows in Coney Island), but for so much more that matters to New Yorkers concerned with standards of community, historicity, and ethical building and land development. The following comes to me via Lola Staar:

The Time to SAVE CONEY ISLAND is NOW!!
Please attend this Public Scoping Hearing, June 24th, 6PM


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Please voice your opinion about the City's Plan to redevelop Coney Island at this Public Scoping Hearing!


WHEN:
Tuesday, June 24, 2008, 6pm


WHERE:
Lincoln High School
2800 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, NY


WHY:
This is your opportunity to officially voice your opinion, on public record, and Change the Future of Coney Island.

Please review the City's Plan and attend this hearing, prepared to testify and make a statement about this Plan and how you feel Coney Island should be redeveloped!!


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The City's new plan almost completely abolishes the amusement district for the sake of high rise hotels and retail.

Coney Island is currently zoned for 61 acres of amusements; the city's new proposal reduces the amount of amusements to 9 acres.

This reduction of the Amusement Distirct will destroy Coney Island's legacy as "the People's Playground" and defeat the goal of creating a world class amusement and tourist destination.

25 to 30 story high rises and retail do not belong in the amusement district!

Retail is no substitute for amusements!

There is plenty of space outside of the Amusement District, in Coney Island for residential, hotels and retail! Why destroy the amusement district forever to meet this goal?


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Save Coney Island says
YES
to Revitalizing Coney's World Famous Amusement District!

NO
to 26 New High Rises of up to 30 stories each in the current Amusement District!

NO
to Retail, Malls or "Entertainment Retail" in the Amusement District!

NO
to shrinkage of the Amusement District from 61 acres to 9 acres!

YES
to preserving Amusement Zoning in the Amusement District!!

YES
to keeping Coney Island the People's Playground- providing accessible Amusements for ALL to enjoy!!

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If you Cannot Attend the Hearing- Write a Letter!!

If you can't come to the hearing, you can submit a written testimony by writing a letter, expressing your opinion to:

New York City Economic Development Corporation
110 William Street
New York, New York 10038
Attention: Rachel Belsky, Vice-President


OR, Send an email to:
rbelsky@nycedc.com


WRITTEN TESTIMONIES MUST BE SUBMITTED BY JULY 11th, 2008


Please send a copy of your written testimony to


Mayor Bloomberg, City Council President Christine Quinn, and your City Council Member.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007


Phone 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)
Fax (212) 788-2460


Cristine Quinn
224 West 30th St (Suite 1206)
New York, NY 10001


Phone: (212) 564-7757
Fax: (212)564-7347




Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fan-cy

In fan workshops, once we master some of the hand positions, we talk about the conceal/reveal opportunities afforded by fans. Although of course we play with the bigger ostrich feather fans, we also play with several different sizes and types of fans.

Dirty Martini's Fans
Above: Dirty Martini's fans backstage at Pinchbottom Burlesque. Photo by me.

Fan dancing has a history outside of burlesque fan-dancing, as well, and a search for "fan dance" on youtube locates videos featuring Asian and Spanish dances having nothing to do with burlesque, as well as bellydance videos. I've seen all these translated for a burlesque audience, as well as fire fans and fighting fans!

Fans also have a history having nothing to do with dance, and I've long been fascinated by The Language of the Fan, though I've never played with it onstage.

Pinchbottom once produced a show in which all the performers did a fan dance--and none of them did remotely the same thing. Little Brooklyn used big foam "number one fan" hands for her reveals and conceals, Nasty Canasta used a car alarm as her music, and I did my Planet of the Apes fan dance, where I start out as an ape and turn into the Statue of Liberty (although if I recall correctly I had some kind of prop malfunction that ended up in me just getting naked...ah well, not the last time THAT will happen!). But of course Dirty Martini represented the quintessential, classic fan dance.

Many of us in burlesque also have hand fans which trail long pieces of silk, sort of like poi fans, which I'll be carrying in the Mermaid Parade.

If you're feeling the fascination, you might be interested in The Fan Museum in Greenwich, London, which recently came up in my news feed because the description of their current exhibition mentions Dita Von Teese's "reveal and conceal."


Dita plays with some huge pheasant-feather fans.

This institution is "the only museum in the world devoted entirely to every aspect of fans and fan making." If I ever get across the pond, I must go!



Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Burlesque Italia!

Current TV just sent me this adorable clip of young ladies learning about burlesque in Rome!



She says she gets upset when people call her a stripper, but we'll not make much of that, shall we, fellow strippers?

Right now some of my favorite strippers are also in Italy! Miss you, girls!


Kitten on the Keys, Julie Atlas Muz, and Dirty Martini in the Mediterranean Sea. Photo from Kitten on the Keys.

Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

Monday, June 16, 2008

42 Versions of Harlem Nocturne

When I interviewed Dixie Evans for this blog, she mentioned how some of the dancers would fight over who got to use the song Harlem Nocturne. In my classes, I talk about overused songs in burlesque, such as Night Train, Lament, and The Stripper (and of course there are many more modern songs that get used repeatedly), and I actually encourage my students to use them. Of course, they might not want to subject some of the most experienced performers in burlesque to them, but if they are new performers, they're bringing in new audiences, and those audiences may have never seen a woman do a fan dance to Harlem Nocturne or a shimmy to Night Train. I also think that since much of this music, such as the material on Striptease Classics, was produced and arranged to accompany sexy showgirl or striptease performance, it's the best to use to learn. Although almost all neo-burlesque performers play with more recent music--I've even choreographed a Fosse-tribute chair dance to Jethro Tull's Aqualung--I believe it can be useful, if not absolutely necessary, to know how something is constructed before you deconstruct it.

Many people whose opinions I respect and often defer to disagree with me on this, but my feelings about it stick with me.

Jo by Linus Gelber
Above: Me doing a white feather fan dance to Harlem Nocturne. Photo by Linus Gelber.


Above: Me leading my troupe, The Belles of the Bowery, through Aqualung at the 2006 New York Burlesque Festival. Troupe members in this photo are Burgundy Brixx and Johnny Porkpie. Photo by Allen Lee.

Musicians often cover tunes by other musicians, and many bands are expected to play standards. In ballet and other formalized dance traditions, performances are often choreographed to music that some audiences expect, and the choreography and staging may be standard, innovative, or even iconoclastic. I think it's fine to treat the standards and classics of burlesque music the same way.

I'm not saying I never get sick of this music, although honestly, as a teacher, I constantly get to see people's eyes light up when they hear it and that usually keeps it fresh for me.

Having heard me muse about this on many occasions, Little Brooklyn just sent me this link:

'This week saw the passing of the great Earle Hagen. His name may not be a household word, but his music is burned into your brain. He was a TV theme writer extraordinaire, whose credits include catchy ditties for The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl, and The Mod Squad to name a few. A bunch of his themes are available at AM Then FM's Hagen tribute post.
'Hagen is also the composer behind "Harlem Nocturne", probably one of the most covered saxaphone songs in history (500 versions so far and counting). Writen in 1939 while Hagen was an arranger with the Ray Noble Orchestra, the song has lived on as a standard for every big band, bar band, R&B band, and instrumental band since. It is also of course a crime soundtrack staple. '

42 Versions of Harlem Nocturne

I think the most expected music in neo-burlesque often comes from the Ultralounge series, Striptease Classics, and Tease: The Beat of Burlesque. Feel free to post other songs or albums you hear time and again!



Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mike Albov's Photos from the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend

As much as I miss having the time to take and edit photos, I'm thrilled that I'm getting to see all these other folks' photography. One of my favorite photographers, who as a bonus uploads his shots to flickr to share almost immediately, is in the process of posting his BHOF 2008 pix right now. Here are a few photos of redheads, in order of appearance, from the private Friday night event:


Me


Catherine D'Lish


Tempest Storm

Visit Mike's flickr photostream to see many more dazzling moments from throughout the weekend.

Photos used with the express written permission of the photographer.

Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Costumes from the Burlesque Hall of Fame

There were several gorgeous costumes which had been worn by burlesque legends on display at the Burlesque Bazaar that was part of the weekend's events. Here are a few snaps! If you click on any of these pictures, you'll be taken to my flickr photostream where there are several more shots and more details.

Costume Property of the Burlesque Hall of Fame

Costume Property of the Burlesque Hall of Fame
Blaze Starr's Gown

Costume Property of the Burlesque Hall of Fame
Kiva's Beaded Bra

Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Beware of the Terrible Underboob

'Somehow in Vegas, city of sin and beacon of debauchery, excess and immodesty, a burlesque show of all things was censored this weekend. Never mind that there are strip clubs every five hundred feet, including all nude joints where everything ends up on the floor. Never mind that just outside Clark County limits anyone of age with a bit of cash can indulge in a sexual escapade at a totally legal brothel. The Nevada Gaming Commission simply cannot allow these women, professionals dancers some of whom have traveled more than 13 hours to disrobe in alluring fashion, to perform unimpeded.'
Miss Exotic World contestants have it covered … mostly

That's right. After the Thursday night opening party, Palms officials told the BHOF organizers that the dancers need to cover their breasts from the areola down, as required by the Games Commission.

The Palms was a bit odd in so many ways. Other guests at the Palms kept reacting to the BHOF revelers like we had three heads, and I kept wondering what the hell is up when people are finding the sight of showgirls, circus folks, and sideshow peeps to be somehow unexpected in a Las Vegas casino.

Me with Whitney.
Me with Whitney. Weird, sure, but too weird for Vegas???

For my number, which was a tribute to Sherry Britton and not part of the competition, I was wearing a really long hairpiece and was able to just cover my underboob with my long locks. Other performers got right on it, did some creative costuming, and handled it like they'd done it before.

Trixie Little. Photo by Whitney Ward.
Trixie Little ends her mermaid act with, appropriately, fishnet unders. Photo by Whitney Ward.

Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Special Categories Winners!

There are special categories awards for performers at the Miss Exotic World Pageant, and here are this year's winners!

Most Classic
Evie Lovell

Most Comical
Clams Casino

Most Innovative (Tie)
Clams Casino
Trixie Little

Most Dazzling
Lux La Croix

I'm hoping more pictures of the their acts are forthcoming so you can see why they're superlative. It was such a great show!

Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

When the Glass Broke--Key West Burlesque

Because I was working and didn't have much opportunity to take pictures, my beloved friend and business partner Whitney Ward, who is my regular annual date for the Miss Exotic World/Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, took lots of pictures and put them on my computer for me to blog at will. Possibly my favorite of her captures is this sequence from the show at the Sunday pool party.

Burlesque Hall of Fame Pool Party 2008
Burlesque Hall of Fame Pool Party 2008
Burlesque Hall of Fame Pool Party 2008

Red Rooster Revue

Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Miss Exotic World Pageant Winners!

Did I really think I was going to have time to blog on this wild trip???

I just have to make this post happen, though. Thanks to all the performers, the producers, volunteers, and audience of the show, and congratulations to the winners!

Best Debut

Perle Noire
Image from Perle's myspace

Best Duo

Jewel of Denial and Kat Bardot
Image from Jewel's myspace

Best Boylesque
sinjinbydanielrkane
Sin Jyn
Photo by Daniel R. Kane

Best Troupe

Peak-a-boo Revue
Photo from the Revue's myspace

2nd Runner Up for Miss Exotic World
Trixie Little Debones Her Mermaid Tail at the Miss Coney Island Pageant
Trixie Little
Photo by me

1st Runner Up for Miss Exotic World

Lux La Croix
Image from Lux's myspace

Miss Exotic World 2008
Angie Pontani, Miss Exotic World 2008!
Angie Pontani
Photo by Whitney Ward

And thanks to our judges, Catherine D'Lish, Lily Burana, Lisa Kereszi, Grant Philipo, and Viva La Fever! The performers were all outstanding and they had quite a task.

When I get home I'll post more photos. In the meantime, search on flickr for "exotic world" and "burlesque hall of fame," and you should see some fabulous shots!

Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

Friday, June 6, 2008

My Bust by Liz McGrath in the Breast Defense Show

Jo Weldon by Liz McGrath
This is waaaay better than even what I fantasized about!

I'll be posting many more pictures from this and the rest of the weekend in my flickr photostream, which you can access by clicking on the photo.

Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Kids These Days! A Report from Alpha Psi Ecdysia

Some of my students from upstate are performing in Manhattan Thursday night! Here's a report on how this came about. I wanted to edit their workshop feedback because I got shy reading it, it was too sweet. But I'm not going to censor the piece because it's too complimentary, that's for sure.

Article by Lucida Sans

Most college Greek societies require creepy hazing rituals or at least four kegs for anyone to take their top off; Alpha Psi Ecdysia needs only to schedule a meeting. That's because Alpha Psi Ecdysia is not a sorority, but the official burlesque troupe of SUNY New Paltz—one of only three burlesque troupes on an American college campus and the only one to operate out of a public university. A.P.E. was born this Spring, when new-girl-in-town Lucida Sans (that’s me—hi!) realized that her sexy and talented classmates--including a champion hula hooper, a fire dancer, a girl with a sexy lobster costume and nowhere to wear it, and some of the most badass coeds you'll ever know--had no outlet for their fabulosity.

Alpha Psi Ecdysia had a few events and field trips during the early part of the semester, but it didn’t really exist until Jo Weldon came to teach an all day workshop on campus.

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“Jo made a bunch of young women feel totally comfortable about jumping around topless in front of full length mirrors, and that's pretty remarkable. I couldn't stop saying, ‘JO IS LIKE, MY HERO. WHEN SHE SAID (insert Jo quote here), I WAS LIKE, I LOVE YOU.’ I'm still more excited about what I did Saturday than anything I've done in a while."-- -Gemma Stone, SUNY New Paltz ‘09

"Thank you so much Jo for taking time out of you exciting, busy life to do this workshop for us! I want to personally thank you for letting me be comfortable and feel sexy in my own body without feeling dirty or guilty. I never really truly embrace my body because by society's standards I am not the ideal picture of sexiness, I'm considered fat and out of shape. You let me embrace the inner ‘me’ and finally feel 100% comfortable in my own body. I felt sexy and desirable for the first time in my life. I by the way, was dying to tell you that when I was a little girl, I also wanted to be a stripper. I thought that it would have allowed me to be sexually validated. Like, men would always desire me if I was a stripper. But, being introduced to burlesque made me desire me. I honestly did not want to keep my shirt on after it came off. I was proud of my body and I was proud of the sexy me. I was in Catholic school my entire life and I would never have even considered doing anything like this, my stripper thoughts alone were scandalous, but I am really happy that I had the opportunity to participate in this. For the first time, I felt at home and in touch with who I truly am.” -- -Virago Sadine, SUNY New Paltz ‘11

The founding troupe and its corresponding debut show formulated organically after the workshop, and by the following month we were papering the town with flyers for our upcoming show. Though we’d experienced no prior opposition to our work, things got a little “The Night They Raided Minsky’s” once we began advertising. A well-meaning theatre professor began pulling individual performers aside to urge them to reconsider their involvement, explaining that she worried they would be viewed as “stripper-trash” and that she was uncomfortably seeing “[her] girls” in this manner. Other professors expressed concern about the performers’ safety and reputation, and were shocked to find that every “what if?” scenario they envisioned had already been considered by the troupe; most were relieved and impressed to find we had already planned precautions for such scenarios—others remained adamant in their opposition.

The biggest shock to the troupe’s system occurred less than 24-hours before the show, when I received a call from the venue telling me that local authorities had ‘gotten hold of’ our posters and were trying to scare them into canceling the show. In spite of the venue’s cabaret license, the police department was looking for loopholes within the local law with which to persecute the company and venue. I received threats that I would be arrested and the venue would lose its liquor license, should the show go on as planned. The venue stuck behind us and vowed not to cancel the show, but asked that we tame the show by wearing no less than full-back panties and bras at all times.

While stage manager extraordinaire Shari Griswold contacted the performers to tell them to be prepared for such changes, I went to Village Hall to petition the issue. After lengthy meetings with various authorities and tireless efforts from myself and others, it was good ol’ Gypsy that saved the day. As soon as the building inspector realized that we were talking “burlesque, like in the musical Gypsy” and not lord-only-knows-what-she-had-imagined, the issue was dropped entirely. The show went on the following night—pasties and all.

The troupe performed its debut show—Alpha Psi Ecdysia: Touched for the Very First Time—at a local piano bar on Friday, May 2nd. Amazingly, the only nervous person backstage was me. The performers remained professionally calm in spite of technical and house management difficulties that turned me into an utter wreck in the minutes before showtime. 120 people squeezed into the 70-seat venue, and 100 others were turned away. In spite of some technical difficulties, the show—which featured fifteen soloists, two group numbers, four go-go dancers, and live music by Anton Jackov and The Threesomesters—was pretty fucking fantastic.
Alpha Psi Ecdysia Alpha Psi Ecdysia Alpha Psi Ecdysia
At the show’s end, the place erupted with sexual joy, devolving into a fabulous dance party that lasted until the bar kicked us out. The audience response was incredible, and gained APE a bevy of beautiful new performers (far more than we could ever book in a single show!). Most fulfilling was receiving emails from students like Lizz Guzman, who wrote: “Each and every woman (and man) who took the stage embodied beauty, sexuality, femininity and a great sense of feline fun. I was so excited to see so many different types of bodies, types of acts...you all really captured the beauty of the female form. […] I think that every woman in the audience learned an important lesson about being sexy and being confident from all of you.”

Performing burlesque has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for the women and men of APE; everyone loves finding new ways to experience music, experimenting with performative sexuality, feeling beautiful and sexy, laughing at the sacred, bonding over bedazzling, and so much more; the same stuff every burlesque performer loves. Unique to APE is the excitement of seeing performers courageously claiming and expressing sexual identities they’ve only begun to explore, and sharing that exploration with the audience; or the thrill of seeing a girl who has never undressed for anyone—even a lover—removing her bra onstage to delighted screams; or a performer’s mother—trepidatious since day one—crying with pride by the end of her daughter’s act; or a performer changing her thesis topic to account for her newfound passion.

As founding members perfect their acts in out-of-troupe performances throughout New York State, new performers have joined the group and begun their exploration. APE has existed for less than four months, and already I can spend a morning teaching incoming freshmen about burlesque and the troupe, the afternoon rehearsing new acts with first-time performers, and the night seeing seasoned APEcdysiasts perform in Hudson, Albany, Brooklyn, and more. SUNY New Paltz is learning that burlesque is an exciting and vital performance form, academic pursuit and tool for personal growth. With six themed, full-length shows planned for the coming academic year, thirty six student participants, and continued support from the university, Alpha Psi Ecdysia plans to continue its productivity as long as there is interest.

Alpha Psi Ecdysia will reprise Touched for the Very First Time at Rififi (332 E. 11th) on Thursday, June 5th at 10pm. Learn more about the gang at http://www.myspace.com/AlphaPsiEcdysia

End of Lucida's Article! Go to the show and see what all the excitement is about!

I am amazed by this story, the way I was amazed when I was on the Sex Workers' Art Show Tour and I saw all the different groups that brought us to the campuses. When I was in college there weren't groups like this. Of course I went to business school and I might have missed something that was going on around me, but I don't think so. I think there really is a lot more openness to this kind of playfulness and exploration than there was when I was their age. I'm so happy to see it!

In just a few hours I'll be leaving for the Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend in Las Vegas. Many of my students will be there. I was thinking about this last year--many of them are the age they'd be if I'd had kids in my twenties, and many of the legends performing and speaking at the show are of the age to have had me in their twenties. That makes me just about the definition of a middle-aged stripper. Who would ever have thought being a middle-aged stripper would make for such a great life?

Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for burlesquedaily.blogspot.com.