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Thursday, June 26, 2003
While I don't usually review specific events I've attended, every once in a while something comes down the pike that's worthy of mention. Written in a style that harkens back to the days of 'burlesque' ("It's a Review! It's a Journalistic Period Piece!") a 'translation' guide to the archaic slang I use can be found by doing a search of "1920s+slang" &/or "1930s+slang" on google.com. Remarkably, being an aficionado of the period culture, I actually use some of these words in everyday conversation. But you might not...


The dames of "Burlesquefest 2003" had pitched their tent in my town for one night - and one night only - so a friend and I put our glad rags on and took the tin can on the road to have a look-see.

The show promised to be a real hum-dinger and it didn't disappoint.

Inspired by the burlesque/vaudeville days of yore, this touring company is just one of a growing number making tracks nowadays, livening up joints in pure sockdollager fashion.

Burlesque is back, guys and dolls, and it's dripping with irony and sex appeal.

At the show, the audience was a variety of hipsters (both straight & lesbian couples), with a smattering of much older (65+) couples that, perhaps, were nostalgic for the tease.

Yesiree, Bob, it was fun for all ages.

Then there were the single guys who just wanted to see some bodacious bubs and curvy cans. Woof! Woof!

The show began with the Oracle Dance trio, kicking up their heels chorus-line style, before stripping down to their skivvies. These skirts were regular Oliver Twists. And not a bug-eyed betty among them!

The crowd hooped and hollered and, as the lights went down at the conclusion of this opening number, some palooka in the audience shouted, "Bring on the whores!"

What a dindy pill he was. Some fellas have no manners whatever, being so full of booshwash as they are.

The rest of the evening - over two hours long - alternated between bump and grind set-pieces (sometimes backed by pre-recorded musical standards circa the first half of the 20th century, others featuring a live band) all teased out by the gaggle of janes of Burlesquefest.

When the vampy dolls did a costume change (or, more accurately, went backstage to redress), the hall was filled by the tight musical stylings of DeVotchKa - a band with an eastern European/punk hybrid vibe - that was nothing short of hot socks.

Highlights included a scantily clad Catherine D'Lish twirling on the catbird's seat in a giant birdcage, while water from a showerhead splashed down over her.

Suffering succotash, puddy tat! That bird has a gorgeous set of gams, believe you me. Betty Grable had nothing on her.

The Mae Westesque Miss Kitty Crimson came out hard-boiled, wearing baggy black pants and a gray trench coat, then proceeded to strip down to sequined panties and strategically placed tassels in time to a live rendition of "The Theme to 'The Pink Panther'".

Jeepers creepers, I blew my wig!

The evening was held together by the double-entendred banter of MC Kitten on the Keys , who also shared a few musical selections of her own. A brief off the cob dialog with a cat hand puppet segued into the song "My Friend's Pussy", which was followed later by "Grandma Sells My Panties on eBay" (no explanation necessary for that one.)

The swanky fun ended with Miss D'Lish taking a swish in a giant champagne glass, nearly splashing some rubes in the front row, before striking that archetypal Girl-In-Large-Champagne-Glass pose. The crowd went from percolating to panic by the end of this showstopper.

A little naughty, definitely bawdy, and not a dead hoofer or cement mixer in the bunch - Burlesquefest featured a little song, a little dance and a little seltzer in the pants.

With the twist of an ankle, or the shake of a hip, the troupe succeeded in returning burlesque to its roots - when "stripping" was still an art form, one that took talent, practice, and subtlety of detail.

Not like nowadays, when pretty much any hard-bodied chick that can find the pole can call herself a stripper. Whether she has style or finesse -- or not.

Maybe I'm a little jaded. One too many ex-girlfriends who were strippers.

However, I found Burlesquefest to be "ironically refreshing". If nothing else, it reaffirmed what I've long suspected. I was born about 50 years too late.

If you didn't catch its show during the summer tour then heads up, pally -- another, slightly different, U.S. tour starts this fall. So shake a leg!

(For info, copy/paste URL: http://www.burlesquefest.com/ )


[ The preceding was originally published on blogcritics.org ]

posted by Pete 4:14 AM
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