The Return of the Return of Burlesque

There is an article about burlesque in the New York Times today:
'Burlesque, that fabled if slightly soiled fantasy realm whose heraldic totem was the twirling pasty and whose undisputed queen was Gypsy Rose Lee, has returned to New York, dripping with rhinestones and trailing clouds of glitter. Under the rubric neo-burlesque, a Depression-era genre whose hallmarks were smut with attitude, bargain-barn glamour, rock-bottom ticket prices and a proudly stuck-out tongue is reasserting itself, flourishing in unexpected corners around the city.'
The Almost Naked City

This one, also from the Times, circa 2003:
'It is not surprising that there is an old-time burlesque revival in New York. Like tiki bars and the jitterbug, the striptease had to come back sometime. What is impressive, though, is that it has come back with such a vengeance. Suddenly, women in very scanty clothing are everywhere, or at least on every bijou stage in every hipster neighborhood, introduced by languid gay M.C.'s instead of the straight male impresarios of the 40's and 50's. You can see a burlesque revue, or two, on almost any night of the week: Mondays in Williamsburg; Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in the East Village; Fridays on Coney Island; Saturdays on the Lower East Side. In May, the Knitting Factory staged a sold-out show during a burlesque festival.' (Not) For His Eyes Only

I'm thrilled that they're interested enough in burlesque to write about it, and thrilled about the awesome folks in the article, but I confess I get a little bit baffled that it's still being treated like it's "back" when it's clearly, simply, HERE.

New York School of Burlesque in Grand Central Station
Above: The NY School of Burlesque Arrives in Grand Central Station.

Edit--if it sounds like I don't like the article, that's not the case! I love seeing my peeps in the papes!


Anonymous said…
It never went away.


It has not ever gone mainstream.


fashionable people keep "finding" it.

They discover it like
Columbus "found" the Americas. How nice of them to share their find...buahahaha
oh well, just shrug and enjoy the free publicity.
Oh, I thought the article had lots of great stuff in it and was fabulous for burlesque and for many of my friends in burlesque and indirectly for me for sure. I'm just thinking that it might be interesting to frame it as being more than just a revival, but an actual new phase of burlesque--as being not a reference to or a recreation of burlesque, but as it is, itself, actual burlesque.
I want to add that I really enjoyed the closing paragraph: 'Whatever the venue, 21st-century burlesque is where Weimar meets Coney Island. You can never be sure whether you’re a cutting-edge cultural mandarin basking in the irony, or a classic pigeon, ogling the flesh and shedding your cash as if it were feathers in molting season.'

Considering that the roots of the word "ecdysiast" have to do with molting, this is particularly charming to me.

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