Showing posts from 2007

Picture Post: Backstage Slipper Room Christmas

Pinkie Special waiting for the show to begin. Bunny Love prepares to sing "Santa Baby" with the live band. Gal Friday straightens the star during a Classic Moves class. If you have holiday pix, please links to them in your comments! I know a certian Seattle photographer has a pic or two of Miss Indigo Blue performing her Menorah number...

Picture Post: Goats of Burlesque

Julie Atlas Muz at the Slipper Room. Photo by Jo Weldon (me). Honi Harlow at The Follies Fromage. Photo by Norman Blake. Me as a Kid. Photo by Allen Lee Here's another farm animal in addition to the goat action; my beloved Cherokee (who performed in my first-ever student showcase and who moved away to LA and just did a stint on tv teaching someone burlesque) as a lamb, backstage at Badass Burlesque. Photos by me. </a

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Some burlesque performers, both currently and of the mid-twentieth century, have identified themselves as working in the sex industry. Whether you view it as sex work or no, you may find this of interest. Above: A strippers' reunion in Times Square, 1989; photo taken from "Queen of Burlesque" by Yvette Paris. Pictured are Ann Corio, Bambi Vawn, Leola Harlow, Jennie Lee, Yvette Paris, and Annie Sprinkle. (If anybody knows of a good website on how to get quality scans, please email me at Everything I used to know about scanning seems to be not working now.) Today, Monday, Dec. 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Here in NYC, $pread Magazine, SWANK, & PONY are co-hosting a vigil from 5-7 pm on the steps of Judson Memorial Church (55 wash square south, ACE/BDFV to w. 4th or NR to 8th st). The following text is from the Swop website : Over the past year, the international sex worker community has mourned the l

News Post: Royalty Takes a Peek

'The royal siblings and 10 pals were entertained by acts including US exotic dancers the Wau Wau sisters and French performer La Galu at the Medium Rare show in Bush Hall, Shepherds Bush.' SEE VIDEO Princes William and Harry enjoy burlesque show Here's a scary picture I captured of Tanya falling off the trapeze when the Wau Wau Sisters performed at Tease-O-Rama in 2003: I used to not be able to look at it because I love her so much and I was so scared when it happened. I had the camera on multi-frame, and I don't think I have the photojournalist instinct to have taken the picture because I thought something unusual was happening. Now I love it because I remember how she jumped right back up and owned that trapeze. I love the fierce ladies of burlesque.

Ms.Tickle's Art of the Striptease

Ms. Tickle is a legend in the New York burlesque and performance art scene, a true original and a favorite of almost everyone who's ever seen one of her charming, sexy, innovative acts. She still performs but works primarily as a costumer and stylist, most recently for Marc Jacobs' holiday parties. Below are some photos of her signature act, "The Art of the Striptease," in which she strips by turning the pages of a book. As clever as that concept is, she goes even further by by adding one little detail after another, doing a whole lot more than just turning the pages! Her imagination and style have rocked my world for nearly a decade. Ms. Tickle on Myspace

Burlesque on the Subway? Not Exactly.

One of the interesting side effects of burlesque getting better and better known is that there are more and more people who know the word "burlesque" but don't know what it means. While I find some of the snarkier arguments about what burlesque really is and isn't insanely tedious and self-serving, there's no doubt in my mind that it isn't the same as pole dancing--that is, pole dancing qua pole dancing. The distinction is most important if someone wants to hire pole dancers and they think that burlesque is pole dancing and they hire burlesque dancers. Let's say they spend all this money installing poles for the dancers, and the dancers show up with a bunch of showgirl costumes and not one of them can get up the pole or whirl around it. In such a case, the distinction isn't a moral or a class issue, but an issue of fact: in order to work regularly as a burlesque dancer, you need skills, imagination, and costumes, but you don't need upper body str

Dissertation on Burlesque

Star Burlesque by Reginald Marsh. Click image to purchase the print on ebay. 'Abstract' 'This dissertation undertakes the examination and interpretation of paintings and prints of the burlesque theater produced by Reginald Marsh (1898-1954) during the 1920s, 1930s, and early 1940s. During these years, social reformers sought to have burlesque banned from New York City, the heart of the burlesque as well as the legitimate theater world. At the same time, however, popular awareness of and interest in this type of entertainment increased. The ensuing public discourse indicates that the burlesque had become a site of cultural contention, onto which broader social concerns about gender, sexuality, and class had been projected. Responding to this conflict, artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, Adolf Dehn, Caroline Duriex, Mabel Dwight, Edward Hopper, Gaston Lachaise, Reginald Marsh, and Elizabeth Olds all turned to the burlesque as a subject for their art. Of these, Reginald M

News Post: Brown Girls Burlesque at the Zipper!

'Dame CuchiFrita, Lady Luscious, Miss AuroraBoobRealis and others pour a little chocolate on top of your burlesque sundae.' Burlesque in Color Get More BGB and find out about their next show on February 2.

Molly Crabapple and Me on the Morning News

There's no doubt about it, this is my month for posting video. That's what happens when a blogger gets busy offline, I suppose! If you haven't yet checked out Molly's book, you should. Of course she's my friend and all, but you've really never seen a book like this! It's not only packed with wonderful drawings and hot photos (okay, some of them are mine), it's got fantastic tips for budding entrepreneurs in any field. Dr. Sketchy's I had a blast on the show with Julie Chang, and I love that she kept on the gloves I gave her for her report. I also loved how the other female anchor showed her moves! Truly Julie

News Post: The Amazing Story of the Crazy Horse in Paris

'In 1951, le striptease was an import from America, more daring than the high-kicking kitsch of French burlesque. Bernardin loved American popular culture, loved women, and seems to have particularly liked the way their naked bodies were rendered in an almost abstract fashion by surrealist artists such as Magritte. An amateur artist and friend of Marcel Duchamp, Bernardin was, in his own way, a dirty old Dada-ist, applying an arty European gloss to a product of the fleshpots of America.' Wait until you read about their strict guidelines for their dancers! 'Tattoos and silicon implants are banned. This is now restricting the club’s traditional international recruitment policy, Deissenberg explains, because the British girls who used to make up about half of the Crazy Horse’s roster tend nowadays to have had something inked into some part of their body. No Brits currently feature in the Paris show, which is largely staffed by French former ballet dancers. When the Crazy H

Diane Lane Fan Dance

I don't post video clips often because they seem to get deleted from youtube soon afterward, but I can't resist this one! I use this in my "Exotic Dance in Contemporary Film" presentation, and this is the first time I've found it online. As you can see if you look at the video's youtube page, none of the tags are "burlesque;" sometimes I have to be very specific to find the video I'm hoping to see. In my presentation about strip tease on film, I show a lot of clips and talk about how striptease is used to establish characters, develop plots, set the tone for environments, build up or drop viewer expectations, and so on, and what it reflects about our culture that such scenes can have those effects. For performers, I discuss how, in burlesque loops of actual performers from the mid-twentieth century, it can be difficult to tell how the performers were utilising the music; due to music rights concerns, the music on the clips is often dubbed ove

Ça se brasse le zoin zoin pis c’est « hot » en titi!!!

Burlesque Submitted by Tanya Cheex!

Pretty Pictures! Dita at Erotica 2007

This article has some photos of Dita that allow you to get a real eyeful of just how detailed and fabulous her costumes really are! Dita Von Teese Promotes Book, Does Dance Below is a picture I took of her at Tease-O-Rama. You can't see as much detail, but her chair is covered with the same rhinestones that cover her gown, gloves, and shoes, as well as the spines of the feathers in her fans. Red is my favorite color and I was in heaven watching this! When I was backstage I exclaimed over the chair so much I think she thought I was kidding, but it's true...that kind of detail, even though it's not the focus of my own style, is something I really enjoy seeing when I watch Dita. It's museum-quality stuff. Just in case you don't know, most of Dita's costumes are created and designed by the fabulous two-time Miss Exotic World , Catherine D'Lish .

Georgia Sothern, H.L.Mencken, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Ecdysiasm

'One of the most influential critics of the 1920s and 1930s was H.L. Mencken. He created the expression Bible Belt to refer to the ultra conservative South and while bootleggers reached auspicious heights as booticians, the middle class was reduced to the booboisie. So in 1940 it was a Baltimore stripper that asked him to come up with a unique word to raise the tenor of her profession. Georgia Sothern wrote to Meneken, "I am a practitioner of the art of strip-teasing...there has been a great deal of...criticism leveled against my profession. Most of it...arises from the unfortunate word strip-teasing, which creates the wrong connotation...if you could coin a new and more palatable word to describe this art, I and my colleagues would have easier going. I hope...(you) can find time to help the...members of my profession." 'Ms Sothern was already a phenomenon all her own. Ann Corio describes her performances in the book This was Burlesque(1968):

Margaret Cho Onstage

Margaret plays so many roles in the Sensuous Woman it's hard to keep track! Here are just a few.

News Post: Miss Exotic World 2007 Goes Postal!

I love this article! It's not actually about Immodesty, but she plays a part in this woman's charming story. 'A 'PAINFULLY' shy postwoman dressed up as a burlesque artist to raise money for needy children....Through the intensive training of her two mentors, Immodesty and dancer Wayne Sleep, shy Sharon was steadily transformed into a burlesque dancer.' Postie's risque role for charity Immodesty Blaize. Photo by Mike Albov.

A Few Snaps from The Sensuous Woman

Diana Yanez Ryan Heffington Selene Luna Ian Harvie There are some more in Margaret's blog:

Gossip Girl Clip

Here's a youtube clip from the episode I worked on. The woman they flash on in the first few seconds at the club is me.

Lili's Lingerie

Kelly DiNardo just posted a link to Kara Mae's Lili Ct Cyr Gallery, which features pictures of the lingerie I mentioned in the comments in my November 5 post. The very first picture is the ad I was talking about! Click the images to see lots of great lingerie ads on Kara's site.

Gossip Girl Burlesque, Part Two: Picture Post

Peekaboo Pointe, Melody Sweets, and Angie Pontani looking over the Balcony at the Box. The dancers onstage during the shoot. Leighton and Ed on the set. Ed Westwick, very handsome and much sweeter than his character. The gorgeous, smart, and talented Miss Leighton Meester. What a doll!

Gossip Girl Burlesque, Part One

This is one of those personal posts I was talking about. Every now and then I get to do things that aren't part of my usual circuit of gigs. Recently I worked as a consultant, dance designer, and movement coach on a television show. This came about when I was approached via email by a woman who'd found my site and was working on a television show whose writers had created a storyline with a little burlesque in it. I invited her and the director to meet me at one of my favorite teahouses, Podunk (I wish I had a pic of the proprietor, she's adorable), for tea and treats. They weren't particularly interested in who I knew in their industry and who I'd worked for that they might know. They were fascinated by my descriptions of Exotic World, Tease-O-Rama, and Burlesque at the Beach. They identified with my passion for the subject. They paid for my tea and scones. (My favorite food is free food.) I liked them. I actually developed a bit of an art crush on Tony Wharmb

The Influence of Lili St. Cyr and Frank N Furter

Kelly DiNardo lists some of the effects Lili has had on other pop culture icons in her article in USA Weekly. When she asked me about her, naturally I had to talk about Rocky Horror! ( Click here to find out why.) I often suspect that when people who are just beginning to examine burlesque talk about the influence of Gypsy Rose Lee, they're really thinking of a combination of Gypsy and Lili and they don't yet know the difference. Gypsy was certainly an all-out showgirl, and she had the saucy tongue and the entrepreneurial genius, but Lili's pictures have inspired a lot of fancy props and costumes too. Do a Google image search on each of them and you'll see what I mean. Image from the Staley Wise Gallery, which exhibits many amazing collections, including the photos of Bruno Bernard (Bernard of Hollywood). Click the image for more gorgeous shots. 'In the Broadway musical Pal Joey, reporter Melba Snyder sings about meeting a Gypsy Rose Lee-esque character who ske

Big Hot Burlesque

When I said I was going to post more personal posts, I didn't mean ones like what's about to follow. This post was going to come along in my blog in one form or another no matter what. The fabulous Lady Monster , who so generously shared her pastie-adhesive tips in one of this blog's first posts, just announced a few days ago that Leonard Nimoy's book, The Full Body Project , was to be released this weekend, and she gave a presentation about being a bigger bodied model and performer at the reception at R. Michelson Gallery . Lady Monster at The Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend in Las Vegas. Photo snagged from Neon Salt Mine. The blurb on reads, 'In his provocative new book, photographer and actor Leonard Nimoy captures images of full-bodied women, some of whom are involved in what is known as the "fat acceptance" movement. "The average American woman," Nimoy writes, "weighs 25 percent more than the models selling the clothe

Interview: Sparky Lobo, Purveyor of Burlesque Memorabilia

I first found out about "Sparky Lobo's Burlesque Emporium" when the owner contacted me to find out if I do banner exchanges. Although I don't have a banner, I'm always happy to find out more about people who are interested in burlesque, whether they are motivated by art, commerce, or something entirely other. Sparky sells prints and merchandise featuring vintage burlesque performers, and some of the images were quite new to me. I could tell from the way she talked about the products that she's developed a certain fondness for the women in them and the world they represented. All the images in this article are courtesy of Sparky Lobo's Burlesque Emporium. How did you come across these pictures, and what did you think when you first saw them? I went to a friend's home, to buy some other antiques from an estate he was clearing out for his Uncle, and saw several big file boxes marked photos. Being addicted to "old paper" (postcards,

Question for Readers of This Blog

Originally I was trying to make this blog not-too personal. Recently, however, I've had some experiences that I think might make interesting posts--for instance, serving as creative director and dance coach for an episode of the television series Gossip Girl, taking pictures backstage at Margaret Cho's Sensuous Woman show, moving the School of Burlesque into a new venue, etc. Would you be interested in reading those posts here, or would you rather it be kept as it has been for the past 70 or so posts? Do you want some of the backstage stories? There are times when I don't have time to produce the interviews and such because of projects I've been working on, but maybe those projects have some interest themselves. I have no plans to post ads for my events here, but some of these articles would indeed have the effect of making some of my projects more widely known. How do you feel about that? This isn't meant to be a question of journalism ethics--I'm too invol

Why Haven't I Been Blogging More Frequently?

As a rule, I don't intend to use this blog as a vehicle for promoting my stuff. I've got a webpage, a myspace, several yahoo groups, a livejournal, and craiglist for all that. This is intended to be a resource for people who like the kind of burlesque I like and are inspired by the things that inspire me, and to foster a sense of community among us. However, I just posted my events update to my email list and I thought it might give a sense of why I've gotten behind on updating this blog. I just had an unusually busy month! But this blog is as important to me as it was when I started, and I intend to continue to interview, photograph, write, and post as my schedule permits. Tomorrow: 7:30 pm, free reading Barnes & Noble 396 Sixth Ave., New York, NY 10014 at 8th St. 212-674-8780 Kelly DiNardo reads passages from her biography Gilded Lili: Lili St. Cyr and the Striptease Mystique. Be one of the first to get your hands on this biography of a hugely influential bu

Texas Burlesque Festival News

My friend Susan Wayward has posted about The Texas Burlesque Festival! 'There is one image that will endure as a defining moment for the Texas Burlesque Festival: A voluptuous, pale Black Mariah, clad in Presidential Seal pasties, a sash emblazoned with "Decider," and a rubber George W Bush mask that seemed to have more expressiveness and personality than the president himself. Walking out on stage in her presidential drag, the crowd played along, booing and hissing. “Welcome to Austin!,” I said to my companion, “We hate the president here.” It was a perfect combination of vaudeville, striptease, and commentary that makes up burlesque in Austin.' Texas Burlesque Festival Roundup Susan and I originally got acquainted through mutual appreciation of this photo of the Hot Mess performing in NYC:

Bouffants in Burlesque

While there is no doubt that the first half of the 20th century was the golden age of striptease burlesque, and that's the era I have the deepest appreciation for, I have a sneaky little passion for the late 1960s. It could be because that's about the time I was old enough to perceive glamour and aspire to it. I had an amazing Barbie doll--a Stacie, actually--that looked like Marilyn Monroe with quite the bouff. One of the movies that influenced my taste in glamourous women was the 1967 version of Casino Royale , for instance. Natalie Wood with what I consider a small but significant bouff: Ann-Margret, always a worthy idol, in "The Swinger": One of my all-time favorites (sadly, not embeddable, but not to be missed, and yes I've ordered a boa like that and a wig like that, I'm such a drag queen): The Silencers For more on the style my next number will be tributing, visit this amazing site: Beauty and the Bouffant A little style from;