Researching Burlesque (Burlesque History)

BHoF #MuseumAtHome: Discover Your Local Burlesque History from Burlesque Hall of Fame on Vimeo.

During the lockdown, many performers have started creating new media projects, and many burlesque historians have been working on new projects.

It's obviously the perfect time to support those and other initiatives, so I'm developing a list of resources for researchers, from library collections to blogs to podcasts!

This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I'll keep adding to and editing this post.

In addition to providing other resources, The Burlesque Hall of Fame has been producing videos and articles:

There are archives of old Yahoo groups related to burlesque, such as The Miss Exotic World Group:

Bob Debris has been taking photographs of neo-burlesque for over 20 years:

There's an online exhibition at Ohio State University:

Lucas Bensley produced a video on Chicago burlesque history from 1870-1938:

BurlyQ Nell has been collecting images and tracing history for over a decade:

Because so much burlesque history has been white washed, performers of color have been writing researching their own burlesque history:

Performer and librarian Bebe Bardot has been researching Black burlesque history with a special interest in shake dancers of the 20th century. She's also hosting the NYSB Book Club on August 5, 2020, when the guest will be Leslie Cunningham, author of Brown Skin Showgirls:


Angie Pontani has been producing a podcast related to the history of the neo-burlesque movement:

Siomai Moore has been producing a podcast about neo-burlesque:

Victor Devonne has been producing a podcast about entertainers including burlesque performers:

There are many burlesque podcasts:

Find books and scholarly articles about burlesque and go through their bibliographies. When you look at the resources the author used, you may find topics that didn't make it into their book that may be of particular interest to you.

Mina Murray has a blog and list of books:
See also:
The Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance From Burlesque To Clubs:

You can search through The Library of Congress, museum collections, and newspaper and magazine archives for burlesque. Just remember that you may need to use terms you normally wouldn't use, because burlesque has been called a lot of things!

This blog, Burlesque Daily, is over a decade old, and you can search it for people and topics of interest -- everything from Legends of burlesque to how to choose burlesque music.

Remember that, depending on who writes or produces a book or documentary, you can get drastically different impressions of what there is to study. For instance, two documentaries on burlesque in NYC in the 21st century, Exposed and PlayMe, portray two different sides of burlesque happening in the same neighborhoods at the same time, but the focus of one is very different from the other.



An even more recent documentary about the NY burlesque scene:

Feel free to add resources and research tips in the comments!


Bebe Bardot has updated her youtube burlesque history feed:
Passcode: F3eZ+.Nu
Sigh. That was my video on how history gets made. Here's Bebe Bardot's history links:

Here's Intelexual Media's video essay
A Black Women's History of Pinup and Burlesque

Here's Leslie Cunningham's project
Harlem in Havana:

Let me know if you have any issues with the links!
Here's an interview with Leslie Cunningham, author of Brown Skin Showgirls:
Burlesque legend panel transcripts:


A burlesque legends panel:
Leslie Zemeckis's Behind the BurlyQ:

Popular posts from this blog

Girls in Giant Champagne Glasses

How to Get Started as a Performer in Burlesque

Tami Roche