Showing posts from May, 2010

I'm trying to learn more about the neo burlesque movement, are there any books you would recommend?

There are a few. Michelle Baldwin's Burlesque and the New Bump N Grind is a book I would be honored to consider a companion piece to my own book. Dita Von Teese's book, Burlesque and the Art of the Teese, is a fantastic resource for understanding glamourous showgirl burlesque for our times. The Velvet Hammer by Michelle Carr is spectacular, and Chris Blakeley's book Tassels and Emerald's will give you a great sense of why I think Seattle's burlesque scene is one of the most beautiful in the world. I also recommend videos. The Velvet Hammer DVD from and A Wink and a Smile on netflix are both amazing. Gary Beeber's Dirty Martini and the New Burlesque is intensely gratifying and gorgeous, and Immodesty Blaize's Burlesque Undressed is uber glam. You should be able to find these on,, and! Other folks, feel free to make recommendations. I always accidentally leave out something I love! See the trailer for Dirty Martini

Brian Smith, Photographer and Burlesque Fan

Brian Smith is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning photographer whose photographs of celebtrities and personalities have graced the pages of uncountable newspapers and magazines, including his picture of Pope John Paul II on the cover of Newsweek. So it should come as no surprise that for years he has been traveling to a goat farm in Helendale and later to hotel showrooms in Las Vegas to photographs burlesque queens of the 1950s for the annual Striptease Reunion of the Burlesque Hall of Fame. What? It's true. We at the Burlesque Hall of Fame have been honored by many of the people who have taken an interest in the organization, its personalities, and its events. But it's fair to say that Brian, with his talent, his reputation, his kindness, and his appreciation, ranks uber high in those honors! I met Brian on a photo shoot for which I'd been hired to bring burlesque models for a promotional project for photographic equipment. I was so charmed, really touched, by his enthusiasm and

I saw where you recommended Polly-O shoes but I am curious if you have any other tips on shoes for burlesque performances, especially when its a dancey number.

If your shoes are comfortable, you'll dance better, simple as that! Rehearse your number in the shoes you'll be wearing onstage, not in your practice shoes. You need to know how the shoes and your costume will interact--will rhinestones or buckle catch on the hem of your gown? Will you be able to pivot and twist in the shoes you want to wear? If you're removing them to take off stockings, do they slip easily on and off, and is it any harder to keep them on once you're wearing the stockings? If you rehearse in them, you won't have any surprises. I will say that I expect to see shoes in good condition, and I love it when they have been decorated to match the costume. In addition to my love of Pollys, which you can purchase at Betsey Johnson and Patricia Field's stores, I am shameless about my acrylic stripper heels. They make everything easy! <a href=" ; title="My Shoes by Jo Weldon, on Flickr&

Do you think it impacts how a dancer is viewed by producers, MCs, other dancers if their spouse shows up for every gig?

It depends on how that spouse behaves, of course! Generally speaking, burlesque is a community, and we definitely expect to see each others' partners and spouses at events at least occasionally. Ask me anything about Burlesque!

I'm a budding photographer and a fan of burlesque. What does it take to have a performer pose for me to help expand my portfolio and in turn, provide photos?

Performers get approached by photographers frequently. If you want to shoot them, you should be ready to provide samples of your work, and arrange how you will compensate them for their time. For newer performers, simply getting shots they can use for promotion is often excellent compensation; for experienced performers who have already built their own portfolios, they may need to charge a modeling fee. Every shoot is a different set of circumstances, but you should have an idea what you're willing to offer. Keep your appointments to shoot and always be ready with releases, and get images to them quickly. Usually if you are reliable and you understand that the photos have to flattering to them as well as to your skills as a photographer, you have a good chance of doing some shoots! Check out the website of one of my favorite photographers of burlesque, Don Spiro, to see some shots we all love! / Ask me anything about Burlesque!

What's the greatest compliment a viewer can give to a performer?

"I don't want to be on the list, I want to pay to get in and support the show." Just kidding! Actually, the best compliment is always a straightforward expression of appreciation--"I loved your number" or "I was really moved by your number." And of course my favorite compliment in the world is, "Watching you made me want to do burlesque too!" Occasionally people accidentally insult me or one of my friends when they are complimenting; they'll say, "That was so much better than that skanky pole dancing" (I love to watch pole dancing), or some compliment about liking my number better than a number someone else did. Any comparison should be left out, it's just not necessary! Just say what you like. I performed a burlesque fan dance number at the 2009 Pole Dancing Championship, after which Carmit Bachar of the Pussycat Dolls came up to me and said how lovely my number was. The pole dancer and the fan dancer should be friends!

Me at the Mothers of Burlesque Show in AMNY!

Click the image to view larger.

I recently bought a pair of feather fans from and have to assemble them myself. Do you have any tips for assembling them? I have read the instructions and it looks a little tough. I don't want to screw up since the feathers are kinda spendy

Just go for it. The feathers are tougher than you think! Assemble it without the glue, though, because you never know when you'll want to change or add feathers. Take your time to make sure all the feathers curve in the same direction--lay it out without attaching the feathers before you begin. And I usually leave the lengths of string knotted between the staves to be about 2.5-3 inches. Check my facebook page, under the name Jo Weldon, to see if other folks have added other helpful tips to this post. I love the collapsible fans! The fans I'm using in this photo are Junior Sally Rand fans: / Ask me anything about Burlesque!

Hi Jo, I'll be visiting New York City for the summer from LA! I've never been to a burlesque show in the city, so where can I find out about all the latest happenings?

Whatever you do, don't miss the shows at Coney Island! To find shows, I recommend Brooklyn Ed's burlesque calendar: And check out the Burlesque/Variety listings in Timeout NY, which has both a print and online magazine: Ask me anything about Burlesque!

Is it possible to copyright an act? How is it done? Do you think it is important? If a performer seems to be appropriating work, is it best to confront or ignore? Defend idea.. or take as compliment??

I've answered this question before, so this time I'll give the short version. My tone is going to be a bit brusque, not towards you, but towards people who feel entitled to use whatever they see to choreograph, teach, or perform others' material. 1) In the US, we copyright numbers like so: If you don't have it in you to research the equivalent in your own locale, that's too bad. Added note, the only legal advice with any value whatsoever comes from legal professionals. Backstage discussions don't count unless the people involved in them are legal professionals. 2) Most performers would rather be attributed and hired and paid than have their work "complimented" by "appropriation." 3) If you're thinking about doing a tribute to someone, the best person to ask is--BIG SHOCK--the person themselves! 4) Acts you think may be classic reproductions may not be. Acts you think may be original may not be. Peop

Once in a Lifetime Burlesque Show in NYC!

Mother’s Day Burlesque Brunch A Salute To The Mothers Of Burlesque Featuring Legendary Burlesque Queens DIXIE EVANS TONI ELLING DEE MILO Performances by ANGIE PONTANI JO BOOBS MSTICKLE PERLE NOIRE DR. LUCKY THE WORLD FAMOUS *BOB* RUBY VALENTINE DJ MOMOTARO May 9,2010 Show starts @ 1:30PM Doors open @ 12:30PM Tickets and More Information The World Famous *BOB* and Jo Weldon of The New York School of Burlesque will co-host this landmark event featuring The Mother’s of Burlesque, Dixie Evans, Dee Milo and Toni Elling. The event will feature a question and answer panel with these legendary Burlesque Queens, select performance and tribute numbers by Angie Pontani, Mstickle, Jo Boobs, Perle Noire, Dr Lucky, The World Famous *BOB*, Ruby Valentine and DJ Momotaro. This is the first time in over a quarter of a century that these legends of burlesque are being showcased in New York City. This is truly a one of a kind event, not to be missed. THE CAST: DIXIE EVANS - Nob

As a budding burlesque beauty how does one promote themselves? I just graduated from Trixie Little Burlesque Bootcamp and had my first performance. I live in the Washington D.C. area. Any tips?

Congratulations on graduation! It depends on what you want to promote yourself to do! If you want to perform, put together a facebook page, create a few more acts, develop them as much as possible, film them any old way you can (rehearsal space is fine), and offer to help at other shows in order to get to know producers, performers, and venues. For many shows in smaller venues, people hire performers first because they are good performers, but also because they are reliable and easy to get along with, and this offers a chance to let them get to know you that way. If you see auditions, go to them! Even if you don't get the gig, again, you'll develop a reputation for being reliable and easy to get along with. Various cities are different, too, so this is just a brief answer. Never offer to perform for free for gigs for which other performers are getting paid. Most producers are also performers, and will feel you're undercutting them. Plus, you'll be lowering the price for