Showing posts from 2011

Signs of Scott Ewalt; Interview, Part One

Burlesque signs have always rocked my world. As a child, every time I saw a burlesque sign on a lounge I got an illicit thrill, imagining women of impossible repute removing stockings with a knowing wink. I could picture the heavy lashes, the big hair, the chiffon robes. I was mesmerized. As a teenager, I was excited by the signs on strip joints in Atlanta. I knew that the Domino Lounge was one of the last of the old school burlesque venues in town, but the contemporary signs got me riled up with promise—one day I’d be of age, and I’d know where to go by the signs. A favorite was the sign for Tattletale’s, of “Girls, Girls, Girls” fame—a delicate outline of a nude woman’s hip drawn from the back, her weight on one leg, her hand relaxed at her side, based on this line drawing by Picasso: Later they had to take it down, since it incorporated Picasso’s drawing without permission. Bad strip joint! But good taste. In the early 1980s I had started working in those clubs. One of the

Breast Cancer Survivors Performing This Sunday

Pink Light Burlesque is a program to provide free classes for breast cancer patients and survivors, provided by The New York School of Burlesque. December 4th is our first-ever showcase, featuring students and instructors of this program. The show will be dedicated to our friend Diane Naegel, who was hoping to perform as part of the project but lost her battle with breast cancer due to complications on September 25. Our hearts go out to her and her friends and family, and to all others experiencing the same struggle. The proceeds of the show will benefit You Can Thrive , Sloan Kettering, and the operation of Pink Light Burlesque . Sunday, December 4, 8-10.30 pm. The Wild Project 195 East 3rd Street New York, NY 10009 Contact Jo Weldon at School of Burlesque Phone 212.561.1456 Wild Project Phone 212.228.1195 Buy General Admission Tickets Tickets are $10, $15, and $20. Visibility is perfect from all seats; lower prices are furthest

Interview with Veronica Varlow

I've had this interview for awhile and have been trying to write the perfect intro for it, and I give up. She's just too awesome. I am so thrilled to have this woman as an instructor at The New York School of Burlesque, and that's that. Above: Veronica Varlow and me with David Byrne at the Bowery Hotel. Why not? How did you learn to do burlesque? When I first saw burlesque, it was as if I was spying on an ancient and secret rite of women to claim the power in their own sensuality. I was awe-struck that first night I stumbled upon this world of burlesque in 2000 at the Slipper Room. That little corner of Orchard and Stanton became my version of church which I visited weekly to worship the power and beauty of the performers there. At that point, I was learning. I was an eager pupil to learn the movement of confidence, to learn the slowness of sensuality, to learn the power of being unafraid. I was a bystander for 3 years. A witness to the world I longed for.

Interview with Kitty Hartl, the producer of Cabaret New Burlesque.

Kitty Hartl is one of the loveliest people you'd ever want to meet, but sometimes I get so darn mad at her. My roommate is Julie Atlas Muz, and Kitty is always stealing her away to perform overseas! So I decided to pry into the motivations of this woman who deprives me of staying up late nights with my roomie. "Forget the Follies Bergere, this is the Cabaret New Burlesque. Nude girls galore, but no porcelain dolls. Ferociously funny, extremely rock n roll, spicy, accomplished singers, and heirs to a long and rich American tradition, the savvy performers of the Cabaret New Burlesque are among the best in the business who, through sauciness and excess (in language and body), know how to find elegance and poetry in the absurd. Mezmerized spectators won't soon forget the grace and charm of [these performers]." On Tour Now! See tour dates. What is your background in the entertainment industry? I have worked as a music and performance curator in a cultural center

Four Nights of Glitter and Glamour in Gotham!

September 29-October 2 The New York Burlesque Festival It was the first burlesque festival of its kind in the world, and people come from all over the world to be in it! Thursday September 29th THE TEASER PARTY Hosted By: The World Famous *BOB* The Bell House 149 7th Street (between 2nd & 3rd), Brooklyn Doors 7:00pm | Show 8:00pm $10 advance, $15 at the door Friday September 30th THE PREMIERE PARTY Hosted By: Scotty the Blue Bunny Brooklyn Bowl 61 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn Doors 8:00 pm | Show 9:00pm $10 at the door Saturday October 1st THE SATURDAY SPECTACULAR Hosted By: Murray Hill BB King's 237 West 42nd Street, Manhatten Doors 6:30 pm | Show 7:30 pm $25 advanced, $30 at the door $65 VIP advanced SATURDAY NIGHT OFFICIAL NYBF AFTER PARTY Featuring DJ Bill Coleman, GOGOs, & More! 11pm - 1am @ Lucille's Bar (Next door to BB King's and free for all Saturday ticket

Unleashed with Garo Sparo Premieres Tonight!

Yahoo! AM New York's photo of me performing my Sherry Britton Tribute number at the Mother's Day Show at the Highline Ballroom. Above: Me in the suit Garo made for my "Show Business" number, performing in my Striptease How-to video . In honor of the premiere of Garo's show, I'm rereleasing this interview, which was also published in Alarm Press magazine. In a recent post , I described how many burlesque performers collaborate very closely with designers, and named corsetier Garo Sparo as one of our favorite collaborators. Happily, Garo consented to an interview and allowed me the honor of taking some photos in his studio while he fit me for the "Parade of Muses" in his Sparkle and Cinch Fashion Show coming up on February 6. Can you give me a little history about Garo Sparo? How did you begin designing? What do you like most about it? I grew up around design. My grandparents were experts in bead-work and lace making. We always h

Heat Wave Burlesque!

Rock Stars of Burlesque Performing in New York City August 27, 2011 7-10 pm Prepare yourself for record heat when sizzling West Coat Burlesque joins forces with the hottest Burlesque performers of the East Coast for a show that can’t be missed. It’s a rare and sultry opportunity to see a spectacular cast of New York’s biggest stars with some of Los Angeles’ most celebrated talent. It’s all about the clothes—and about taking them off! Pinup Girl Clothing, the most popular retro and alternative clothing company in the US, joins forces with Jo Boobs Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, to present an irresistible show of sexy striptease, amazing acrobatics, and fabulous fashion at the gorgeous Highline Ballroom. “Watch ‘em dress. Watch ‘em undress. It’s a hell of a show!” says Weldon. Featuring your host from the West Coast, the inimitable Lucky Day; Miss Viva Las Vegas, La Cholita, known for her relentless shimmies and Latin fire; Laura Byrnes, famous pinup sta

"Keep Playing Till She's Naked" --An Interview with Ronnie Magri

[This article was originally published March 5, 2009.] I have been extremely lucky to work with some of the best musicians in burlesque. I've been performing, or at least dancing, to live music all my life, including one glorious night with Spinal Tap, but most of the time I was just dancing along to the music. In burlesque with live music, there's real collaboration. The dancers rehearse their numbers with the bands, and the musicians watch the dancers to see if they need to give them a drum hit when a glove drops to the floor, if the music needs to be sped up or slowed down, or if they need to repeat a form until the dancer is ready to finish her number. In New York we have live music at the Slipper Room every Wednesday night with amazing musicians including Brian Fisherman, with whom I've been performing for over 10 years, Le Scandal has featured The New York City Blues Devils and the Le Scandal Orchestra, Big Apple Burlesque features a live band every week, Brian Newm

A Quickie with Gal Friday

I don't know what I would do without the aptly named Gal Friday, burlesque star, pinup model, and Miss Coney Island 2009. She's a great girl in a pinch (and to pinch). You can take her anywhere and she can handle anything. She's charming, beautiful, and hilarious. And she's a fabulous performer with some fine, fine moves. She's saved my sanity in the middle of the night many a time, and I'm extremely fortunate to have her teaching at NYSB! I wish this was a longee instead of a quickie... Gal in the private NYSB space at the Slipper Room . How did you learn to do burlesque? I'm still learning to do Burlesque! That's the best part... I keep learning and evolving. I never want to grow up, I just want to keep growing up ! When did you start teaching within the burlesque community? About 3 years ago, at NYSB. What are some of your favorite acts to perform? This changes frequently. But at the moment I'd say Conquistadores, a newer act

Stage Kitten Guidelines

Hey folks! A lot of my students are asking about stage kitten duties. I'm creating a handout, and one of our former students will be conducting a workshop. I'd appreciate your thoughts on what I've written. Most of the shows I produce are workshop showcases, so I've gotten input from regular producers and kittens who work for them. Ray Ray Sunshine kittening after my Godzilla act at Michelle L'Amour's Speakeasy in Chicago. FOR THE KITTENS It’s crucial to understand first of all that each producer will have their own guidelines, some of which may be different than these. However, these will let you know some of the things stage kittens need to think about, with the questions they most frequently ask. Q: What is a stage kitten? A: A stage kitten is the person who picks up the costume pieces and props after a burlesque number. They get lots of stage time! When you're kittening, be sure to watch the performers undress to help you know what to

Memorabilia: Dorothy Dorne

Last winter I spent some time going through paper archives in the Burlesque Hall of Fame collection in Las Vegas, with the help of Laura Herbert and Brian Newman . I was particularly interested in the sheet music and the notations on it. I intend to share more about the sheet music project later, but I got to see something so unexpected and charming and lovely that I want to share it with you. It's a collection of scrapbooks from an early 20th-century burlesque and cabaret performer who went by various names, among them Dorothy Dorne. I spent hours going through them, taken to another world, amused and enchanted by the way her scrapbooks brought her to life, and took a few snaps. At the time I was too busy dealing with the publication of my book and lost track of all the work I had in mind for those archives, but I did take some pictures of this gorgeous find and want to give you a glimpse. Be sure to click on them to view them larger and read some of the texts. This is

Interview: 21st Century Burlesque Founder Holli-Mae Johnson

About ten years ago I began a website called G-Strings Forever!, a tribute website to both strip joint strippers and burlesque. I was posting fuzzy digital photos of the scene I knew and setting up links and writing articles without the benefit of much site programming ability, and without blogging technology, flickr, or youtube. Inspired by the original Velvet Hammer website, I interviewed curfnt performers and burlesque legends. I wanted desperately to convey what was amazing and inspiring about these art forms and the people in them. Fortunately, as the School of Burlesque and The Burlesque Handbook have begun to keep me busier and busier, other, more able people have picked up that job, and one of the most inspiring is Holli-Mae Johnson, Editor-In-Chief of 21st Century Burlesque. Above: Holli-Mae, The Editor-In-Chief. How did you become interested in burlesque? Well, I suppose it was likely that, as a performer and with the friends and interests that I had, I would come across

New York School of Burlesque on Tour!

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