Showing posts from 2008

Interview: Dita Von Teese, Part 2

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Land of the Sweets 2008

I didn't make it to see the show this year. Thank goodness for photographers! The Land of the Sweets All photos by Chris Blakeley , used with permission.

Eartha Kitt Passes

Eartha Kitt, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, has died, a family spokesman said. She was 81. Her career spanned six decades, from her start as a dancer with the famed Katherine Dunham troupe to cabarets and acting and singing on stage, in movies and on television. She persevered through an unhappy childhood as a mixed-race daughter of the South and made headlines in the 1960s for denouncing the Vietnam War during a visit to the White House.... Eartha Kitt, Sultry 'Santa Baby' Singer, Dies I loved her so much! When I was a little girl I was crrrrazy about catwomen: My father took me to see her perform when I was a little girl, and although I was enthralled by the spectacular woman onstage in her red beaded gown, I didn't realize who she was until she came over to our table and said, "Hello, little girrrl. Your fathe

Interview: Dita Von Teese

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Tami Roche

Image courtesy of Skinnergy . When I was growing up in Atlanta, I saw the strip joint signs and old burlesque signs; I was also aware of Atlanta's burlesque star, Tami Roche. Because I started working the clubs in 1980, there were still some dancers who had done burlesque in the 50s and 60s around, some of them still dancing but most of them not interested in the full nude table dance format (and sometimes not so nice about us doing it), still working in the clubs as costumers or managers, wearing fabulous hair and nails and giving us great advice about showmanship and terrible advice about how to make money. I didn't get to meet Tami Roche but her name came up frequently as one of the last great tassel-twirlers. She appeared in Russ Meyer's Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Vixens with Kitten Natividad (one of the most lovable and darling people ever born) And she appeared in Ann Corio's revival of This Was Burlesque in 1981. Available on VHS as "Here It

Panties of the Middle East

He's got knickers with flashing fairy lights, others that glow in the dark, a bra-and-knickers set shaped like manicured women's hands enveloping the wearer's crotch and breasts. In a slightly higher price range, he's got remote-controlled bras and knickers, designed to spring open and fall to the floor with a clap of the hands or a press of a button. Sexy secrets of the Syrian souk I can't embed the video or images, so you'll have to check out the link if you want to see more. It doesn't show some of the ones I'm dying to see, but you'll get the idea. With the high level of enthusiasm of most New York burlesque audiences, the "clapper" costumes wouldn't make it through the first 20 seconds of a number! This link was sent to me by the amazing Scott Shuster of World Dance New York , the lovely people who are producing my burlesque DVDs.

Things to Do in December in New York

Do you love glamour, whimsy, and attention to detail? You must, if burlesque is one of your obsessions. The following shows aren't being advertised as burlesque, but they are precious, rare, and best seen live. If you're in the city, don't miss: Ballets Trockadero Press Image, The Seattle Times Victor Trevino , a friend of mine and brother of my very first and very beloved roommate, used to be a member of this troupe. He more recently founded Ballets Grandiva , which is also not to be missed but isn't running this Christmas. Meow to the World Image from PS 122. If you haven't seen Meow Meow, you've never seen anything like Meow Meow. I first saw her in her astonishing performances at Spiegelworld with Weimar New York and then followed her around with a camera for days, trying not to creep her out. Arias with a Twist Image: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times Joey Arias, seminal New York Performance artist and Cirque du Soleil alumnus, along with our dear a

While we're at it...Jill St John

Image Jill St John stripping out of a tiger outfit in The Oscar , 1966. Above: Another image posted in an effort to get you to visit Cool Cinema Trash .

Oops, left out a favorite

Ann-Margret doing some fierce boa work in The Swinger . Above: Image from

1960s Style

If you've spent any time around me when I'm discussing my influences, you'll have heard me talk about just how much I love the aesthetic of the 1960s. Click any of the images below for lots more 60s fun. Think about Natalie Wood in Gypsy--1962. It's not meant to be set in the 60s, but that is definitely 60s hair. Click the image above to see a fabulous site dedicated to Gypsy. See the original trailer on imdb . Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's--1961. The original movie trailer. Ursula Andress in Casino Royale, 1967 Casino Royale movie trailer Daliah Lavi in The Silencers, 1967 The Silencers movie trailer Ann Margaret in the Pleasure Seeker, 1964 Ann Margret in the film. Most of the Sonny Lester music on Striptease Classics was released (though not written) in the 1960s. Whatever year it was intended to evoke, David Rose's "The Stripper" was released in 1962, the year I was born. The 60s may not have been the golden

Vigil to End Violence Against Sex Workers in New York City

Weds, December 17th, 7-8pm in the center of Washington Square Park Carry a red umbrella or wear red. For more information and events in other cities, click the image below.

Tanya Cheex on Bettie Page

Photos and links added by me (Jo). Click the image above to buy it from Bettie Page Has A Secret Bent over, trussed up and in an impossibly uncomfortable position, the brunette with the shiny bangs, always looked like she was in on the funniest joke. She was my shoe-laced bondage Barbie dolls come to life. Yes, my naked Barbie Dolls enjoyed a life of flimsy Japanese rope bondage and I never quite why. I was brought up on a steady diet of my Dad's Playboys, where SM was a rare occurrence. Did I see a Olivia illustrated Bettie Page tied into a stiletto, maybe or maybe my reptilian brain was just wired that way? Bettie didn't rear up into the picture till years later when my fascination with Golden Era strippers sent me on a quest for men's old stag mag like Twitter and Wink. The girl with the stockings and the pointy bra was in on the joke and well , the others albeit lovely were doing their job. I landed a job in a secondhand bookstore that carried some old

Night Train

One of the greatest crowd-pleasing pieces of music in burlesque is Night Train . I've had people who've just attended their first burlesque show ever come up to me after a show and say, "I've always wanted to see someone dance to that song live! Thank you!" Comments like this are why I encourage students to try stripping to the tunes that originally inspired many of the neo-burlesque performers who began in the 1990s, even though some of those performers may be over and beyond Ultralounge by now. New audiences shouldn't be deprived of this amazing music. Above: Me dancing to Alvino Ray's version of Night Train at one of my first student showcases--where even the teacher stripped. Even though it's not burlesque, enjoy the following music history video, a tribute to a few of the versions of this amazing tune. What's your favorite version?

Flickr Photo Group Breaks the 1000 Mark!

We now have over 1000 members in the Flickr group I moderate with Dale Harris.I'm looking at fan dance photos while preparing to wrap up my chapter on fandancing for my book project . Miss Indigo Blue, photographed in Seattle by Chris Blakely. Gal Friday, photographed in Washington DC by Mowabby. Kira Hula-la, photographed in Sydney by Kristin Elsby. Michelle L'Amour, photographed by Phantom Kitty. Fan Dance in China, submitted by Koolpix. Thank you to all the amazing photographers and performers who make this group so beautiful. Check out the group! Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque , for .

I am Not Affiliated with This Burlesque School

They used photos and text from my site without my permission, and I do not know them in any way, and do not endorse them in any way.

Gossip Girl Promo!

NYSB Teachers on Gossip Girl! I believe the episode will air January 5.

Bettie Passes

"With deep personal sadness I must announce that my dear friend and client Bettie Page passed away at 6:41pm PST this evening [Dec 11] in a Los Angeles hospital. She died peacefully but had never regained consciousness after suffering a heart attack nine days ago. "She captured the imagination of a generation of men and women with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality. She is the embodiment of beauty." Mark Roesler, business agent for Bettie Page From Bettie's Official Website. Bettie's Story in Time Magazine. The Real Bettie Page by Richard Foster.

Camp Cathy

This is so adorable!

One More Yule A Go Go Post

A Yule-A-Go-Go Clip!

Celebrate This Holiday With 'Yule-A-Go-Go: The Burlesque Yule Log' The clip on the site shows NYSB associate Little Brooklyn talking about the DVD, as well as instructor Gal Friday doing her Yule dance. Gal runs our classes in Washington DC-- click here for more information about those classes . Above: Gal Friday at the Palace of Wonders . Photo by DC's charming burlesque photographer, Mowabby . CW11 has had burlesquers peeling in the wee hours of the morning before--here's a clip from last year's piece on Dr. Sketchy's: Truly Julie: Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art show

A Message from Kit Cat

Happy Holidays From Kit Cat Island! TOMORROW, Wednesday December 10th, Yule-A-Go-Go will be be performing LIVE on the CW Morning show, channel 11. If you're awake bright and early, our segment will air sometime between 7-9 am. I'll be shimmying and smiling with my cards, of course, introducing Lil Brooklyn and Gal Friday, all by the holiest of logs, the yule log! Thanks for all your support, I feel so humbled to be apart of the bad ass community that is NYC burlesque! The DVD was so fun to make, I'm thrilled with glee that America is enjoying it just as much as we all are! Love and Snowflakes, -Kit Cat

Christmas Present

When I was a teenager, I went to see Bette Midler's Divine Madness , and I talked about it so much that my mother got me this as a Christmas present that year: All hail to Bette! I was so bummed when I missed Clams Casino and Darlinda Just Darlinda's tribute show to Bette Midler, " The Wind Beneath my Tassels . It makes so much sense for burlesquers to be influenced by Bette. Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque , for .

Proposition 8

One of my students just sent me this: See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque , for .

Burly Con Class Photo

One of my favorite photos of all time of one of my favorite events of all time. Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque , for .

Veronica Varlow on MTV!

Above: Veronica Varlow. Photo by Greg Brophy. New York School of Burlesque's Spellbinding Burlesque creator and teacher, Veronica Varlow, will be on MTV's Made today at 1 pm! Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque , for .

Bettie Page is Ill

Ex-Pinup Bettie Page 'Critically Ill' In Hospital Above: Bettie by Greg Theakston . Sending her and her loved ones thoughts of comfort. Although Bettie was not a performer on the burlesque circuit, I find it a bit annoying when people get overly emphatic about how she wasn't in burlesque and shouldn't be considered when burlesque is discussed; clearly she's had such a huge influence on the culture and style of the tiki, fetish, and rockabilly cultures that have embraced and nurtured burlesque, she's far from irrelevant to the subject. Bettie doing an adorable dance: My friend Greg Theakston, who I met through Torchy Taboo when she was working on Tease! , produced a magazine called The Betty Pages which was hugely influential on the underground upswell of Bettie Page fans. I can't scan that for you here, but you can hear an interview with Bettie in this youtube clip: