Showing posts from August, 2007

Interview with Kelly DiNardo

If you haven't yet visited Kelly Di Nardo's Blog, you must. Any fan of burlesque and exotic dance is sure to be thrilled with her articles, links, and interviews.

We decided to interview each other some time ago, and I'm just now in town long enough to start editing all the interviews I've done in the past month. I'm pleased to start my return to blogging with this interview!

First, the adorable Kelly:

How did you get interested in burlesque?
I was working for Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan on their biography of Frank Sinatra. One of their research requests for me involved Lili St. Cyr. I became fascinated and started reading a lot about her and the other women of burlesque. I was surprised to learn how the men of burlesque were still well-known names -- Abbott and Costello, Jackie Gleason -- but that for the most part the general public didn't know much about the women of burlesque.

What does burlesque mean to you?
There's so much to it. It can be cam…

Burlesque In Galway

'When bellydance teacher Lisa Collins called a few venues in the city for a burlesque dance workshop for her students and the general public, given by a guest teacher, one establishment told her straight out on the telephone that they “didn’t facilitate stripping”.'

The Art of Burlesque

I facilitate stripping, happily.

Picture Post: Backstage at the Slipper Room


A Few Flyers

I love flyers and I collect them--they're all over my house. You can expect a few more posts of flyers! I have some from all over the world, but I'm starting with a few favorites from New York:

I love this image of Lady Ace, Julie Atlas Muz, Amber Ray, and Ms. Tickle! I think this flyer is about five years old.

Burlesque in Charlotte, NC!

Big Mamma D. Photo by Angus Lamond.

'With less than three hours until the curtain goes up, Big Mamma has a lot on her mind; so much in fact, that she's forgotten her music and has had to send someone home to fetch it. It's a minor snafu, which the chanteuse takes in stride, but there's a lot riding on tonight's performance. In addition to attending to all the last-minute details of the show for which she functions as producer, director, press agent, seamstress and wardrobe mistress, Big Mamma has planned a very special finale in which she will wed long-time beau and fellow cast member, emcee Johnny Anonymous (David Pendragon) in a real-life, onstage ceremony. "I got so fed up with, 'We'll do it later.' And it was me putting it off. It finally hit me that I'd never have time to plan a wedding when I was planning a show, so it only made sense to do it as part of the show," she says.'

Kitsch 'N' Confidential

Interview: Margaret Cho

Burlesque performers are my superheroes. The legends with their wild pasts and graceful moves, the newbies gathering their nerves to fling themselves onto a stage for the first time, the performers of my generation who have been christened neo-burlesque, all my heroes. When I see them get onstage I'm starstruck by their beauty and abandon and skill.

When I first learned that Margaret Cho was MCing the Miss Exotic World Pageant in 2006, it made perfect sense. She has every quality I want in a hero: nerve, honesty, gender inquisitiveness, sexiness, talent, and a brilliant sense of humor. That she has achieved fame and success just goes to show that the world in general is going my way.

Gorgeous Margaret in burlesque regalia. Photo by Austin Young.

When I met her backstage she had the qualities that always, for me, cement hero status: she was gracious, friendly, and warm. I couldn't have been more starstruck.

I was even more grateful and stricken when, not long after MEW, she …

Texas Burlesque Festival!

The Texas Burlesque Festival is a two-day hoedown and showdown celebrating the raucous revival of burlesque, vaudeville and the accompanying et cetera.

Aimed at (but not exclusive to) the growing Southern community of ecdysiasts, this weekend overflows with opportunities to refine your bump and grind including parties, a panel discussion, and performances. So pack your pistols and your pasties—it's gonna be wild ride!

This post was contributed by Susan Wayward.

You're Never Too Old to Bump It With A Trumpet!

' Former exotic dancer, champion of the arts and seven-time D.C. mayoral candidate Faith is recovering at George Washington Hospital from a case of pneumonia -- brought on, says her husband, when the 83-year-old performer was denied her chance for a Broadway comeback. Faith Dane was 36 years old when she landed the role of Mazeppa in the legendary 1959 Broadway musical "Gypsy," starring Ethel Merman....Last month, Faith filed an age discrimination complaint against the theater and casting company with New York State's Division of Human Rights. '
Faith: Broadway Has No You-Know-What in Me.

I have to say, if she was in the production, I would certainly be more determined to see the show!

Sugar Baby blows it Mazeppa Style at Fisherman and Bambi's Love Luau at Coney Island.

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

Book Review: The American Burlesque Show

The American Burlesque Show
Irving Zeidman
Hawthorne Books, New York, Ny 1967

"The trouble with the American burlesque show, from beginning to end, is either that is has been too dirty--or else that it hasn't been dirty enough."

The first sentence of Irving Zeidman's history of burlesque in the United States (primarily New York) cites a dilemma that continues to haunt burlesque even now, when burlesque is serving in most venues as a couples' or women's alternative to the more commercial, more directly sexual environment of strip clubs (although in New York we have a few venues that are decidedly more hardcore than any burlesque shows of the past--and my story on that is upcoming). Zeidman quotes Sime Silverman saying, "Were there no women in burlesque, how many men would attend?" in 1909. He descibes the history of American burlesque as "the history of its producers' endless efforts to please both the censors and the audience."


The Girl Who Touches My Underwear (And My Heart)

True Confessions of a Pick-Up Artist!

Beginning burlesque performer Fleur de Lis talks about what it takes to help burlesque performers keep track of their unmentionables.

What does a pickup artist/stage kitten do?
It's pretty simple. You basically show up looking cute and help out the producer, emcee, and dancers. You introduce yourself to each dancer and find out if they have any special needs for their act such as props that need to be set or special pieces to look for. After they come off the stage you pick up all of their costume elements from the stage. You may have some time to interact with the emcee but mostly you just want to make sure that the dancers don't have anything to worry about except what they do on stage. It's not a difficult job but an important one and if you do it right they will call you back.

How did you come to be a pickup artist?
I came to NYC a year ago this week from New Orleans. I had lost a whole lot in the storm and spent a year trying…

Torchy Taboo in the News!

This article is a couple of months old, but Torchy just now told me about it, and I have to share it. Torchy and I went to school together--we were in the same film classes in college, and we also worked together at the Cheetah. I'll spare you the photos of us in the 80s!

' She's armed with a host of other facial expressions that play perfectly into the campy element of burlesque. One is pure elation — somewhere between cheerleader enthusiasm and porn star orgasmic — and it accompanies some of the simplest moves, like a sharp thrust of the hip. Sheer joy plays out in her Cupid's-bow lips as Torchy slowly plucks each finger of an elbow-length glove, then drags the satin garment off her arm and slaps it in the air to the beat of "New Orleans," which Elvis crooned for the black-and-white movie King Creole. Another look is conspiratorial, like when Torchy glances over a shoulder, her back to the crowd, as she slips down a shirtsleeve. '

Torchy's on Fire!


Picture Post: The World Famous BOB





World Famous BOB

Interview with Burlesque Legend Toni Elling

Toni Elling made quite a splash at the Exotic World Striptease Reunion in 2006 when she was interviewed by Lottie the Body, and another strong impression when she performed at the 2007 Reunion. She is a wonderful, graceful, energetic performer, and I can listen to her stories endlessly. She was good enough to give me a full two hours of her time, which is very generous--I have yet to interview one of these ladies who wasn't incredibly busy. I couldn't use all the material here. I certainly hope she writes a book!

When did you get into burlesque?

Photo courtesy Toni Elling.

How did you begin?
My friend Rita Revere was a stripper here in Detroit and would talk to me about it. I was working for the telephone company. I had an idea, though--I wanted to buy a four family flat so that my brother, sister, parents and I could each have one of the apartments. Rita said I could do it if I went on the road and I knew I'd never get that far ahead at the telephone company. I was d…

Burlesque in Salt Lake City!

More Burlesque in the hometown of Burlesque Legend Dee Milo!

' Since their inception last year, response to the Slippery Kittens has been phenomenal, including a November fund-raiser at Club Suede. Most interesting has been the audience it has drawn to their shows. “Over half our audience has been women coming to our shows,”Mona Moore says, “and the response to our shows has been extremely positive.” '

From the Salt Lake City Weekly.

Photo Courtesy Slippery Kittens.