Archive for June, 2009

Vancouver burlesque artist wins best debut title at Vegas pageant (June 26-27 news)
June 27, 2009

Melody Mangler’s winning stage act included rose petals and butterflies.

Denise Ryan, Vancouver Sun

Published: Saturday, June 27, 2009
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Vancouver burlesque artist Melody Mangler sashayed, flirted and danced her way to win the coveted Best Debut title at the 18th annual Miss Exotic World Pageant in Las Vegas.

“It was very exciting to win this for Canada,” said Melody (a.k.a. Rebecca Franklin). “I’m so proud to have been there to represent Vancouver and my community.”

The Exotic World Pageant features burlesque and “boylesque” competitors from around the world and is considered the “Oscars” of the retro art form.

The fiery, tattooed 26-year-old has been performing for about six years. To bring home the trophy last week, she went tassel to tassel with competitors from Helsinki, London, Chicago and New York.

Melody won for a routine in which she transformed from Little Bo Peep to Venus.

To help create the fantasy of beauty and surprise in her winning number, she threw rose petals that were kept afloat by a high-powered hidden fan, and when she ripped open her corset, butterflies flew out.

Melody said “the new burlesque has a very adult drift,” but it’s also about “glamour and laughing, performing and having a good time.”

Think pasties, feather boas, fan dances, bejewelled high heels, comedy, some skin, but flirtatiously less than all-bare, and you’ve got the idea of what the highly popular “new-burlesque” is all about.

Melody, who hails originally from Brooks, Alta. said her parents are “incredibly supportive of everything I do.”

She draws inspiration from the growing burlesque scenes in Los Angeles and New York. “It’s a fantasy world, it’s women coming together to celebrate. Everybody loves the same thing. . . being glamorous, hamming it up.”

As winner of Best Debut, Melody is now eligible to compete for Miss Exotic World Reigning Queen of Burlesque in 2010.

Melody is a founding member and artistic director of the Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society. She will perform in the Taboo Revue today at the WISE Hall.

dryan@vancouversun.com

Here, Titty Titty: Strip Search burlesque competition turns up the heat (June 24 news)
June 27, 2009

Posted By: David Berke

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We’re as tired of the same old burlesque routines as everyone else. That doesn’t mean that New York dancers shouldn’t kick some feather-covered ass in an international competition however.

At the Strip Search burlesque competition at the Slipper Room this Friday, 10 aspiring burlesque dancers will compete for a spot at the Toronto Burlesque Festival. New York Press sat down with event organizer Lynn Sally, who burlesques under the stage name Lucky and teaches a class on burlesque at NYU, to get the naked truth about Strip Search.

How did these 10 finalists reach the competition?

It was a very intensive, grueling process. They had to apply. We had a panel examine their applications. The only requirements were to write a paragraph about why you want to represent New York at the Toronto Burlesque Festival and a link to their MySpace or Facebook or something like that.

Do you need a certain body type to succeed in burlesque? Are the short and stout suck stripping at home in front of their mirrors?

I think burlesque is definitely, definitely more open than that, and that’s definitely one of the appeals of burlesque to people, that you don’t have to fit into one body type. Looking at our lineup, we have a broad range of body types, ages, sizes and ethnicities. It’s going to be, if I can use the term, a well-rounded event, in every sense of the word. Burlesque allows different representations of physicality on stage, which is why it appeals to people.

What are you looking for in your winner?

We are looking for that raw edginess that represents New York City, more so than that perfectly executed performance. Burlesque is very different in New York City. It straddles, very aggressively, the line between performance art and comedy.

We’re also looking for the act that gets the best response from the audience, though we do have a panel of judges. They are going to be rating the performers on a number of variables, most importantly, who stands out as the most New York City.

Are there different events the contestants will have to compete in, like an improv challenge or something?

No, there’s not going to be that horrible bathing suit or ball gown stuff like at a beauty contest, just straight competition. If we have a tie, we’re going to have a question section of the competition.

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What kind of questions do you ask in a burlesque competition?

One question I would love to hear, and I may ask this question anyway, is ‘what part of New York City do you want to represent?’ Of course, we’ll have something really obnoxious, like ‘if you could solve one of the world’s ills, what would it be?’

The winner of strip search heads to the Toronto burlesque festival. What happens if they win the top prize there? Could they start a career in burlesque?

Some people do make it as a performer, but, just like in any performance profession, they are few and far between.

The person who wins this competition will get lots of awards and accolades. They’ll get a spot in the Toronto festival, a crowning ceremony, an ad announcing they won at the Toronto festival and a private “tittoral” from New York School of Burlesque. They’ll get full accommodations in Toronto and a drive there with my husband and me. It’s going to be a sweet little gig. They are going to get a lot of international exposure—and of course they will get bragging rights for being the best peeler in the Big Apple.

What’s the atmosphere like at a burlesque competition? Are competitors trying to sabotage each other backstage?

It’s silly rivalry, but it’s absolutely not the type of sabotaging that you see at a beauty contest. You won’t see anyone putting itching powder in a competitor’s bathing suit. No way anybody in a burlesque competition would ever do that. The whole point is to build community as well as competition.

What’s the reaction been like to your NYU burlesque class?

The reaction has been varied. I’ve been teaching it for five years, maybe six. The students really respond to it positively. They’re not only learning the history of this form that has had a lot of influence on other types of performance, but they’re also able to see and experience its current incantations in the current neo-burlesque movement. This last semester, the class was overenrolled.

Strip Tease will be at the The Slipper Room (167 Orchard St. at Stanton St.). Doors and silent auction at 7, show at 8. $5 in advance, $10 at door

Burlesque show at charity fundraiser in Hanmer
June 24, 2009

15:47, Jun 24 2009

by Chris Smith, Whitchurch Herald

A SAUCY burlesque show will form part of the celebrations at a charity fundraiser.

The Salsa Summer Ball and Fundraiser is being held on Saturday, June 27, at the Hanmer Arms, near Whitchurch, from 8pm till late.

Highlight of the evening will be the sponsored burlesque at approximately 10pm, featuring 10 ‘French Fancies’ plus a star guest. It’s not to be missed.

The girls will dance a burlesque routine which you can sponsor by sending donations in advance to gaydancer29@yahoo.co.uk or by giving donations on the evening in the collection tins which will be passed around or by placing cash in the Fancies’ costumes.

They will also dance in costume with anyone who wishes to pay £5 for the privilege.

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The organisers have also lined-up a belly dancing demonstration at approximately 9pm by Emma from Shrewsbury, who, again, will be collecting donations in her costume.

She will also give a short belly dance lesson out on the roof terrace, weather permitting.

There will also be belly dancing with Bev and Maddy, from Oswestry, and Middle Eastern music on the roof terrace all

evening with salsa, bachata, cha and meregue in the main room.

All the money raised will go towards conservation/wildlife charities and to help to save critically endangered species.

Follow Simply Burlesque On Twitter!
June 23, 2009

Hey there, readers! Please follow Simply Burlesque on Twitter at www.twitter.com/simplyburlesque. I have to take my updates off this page because it’s screwing up the design layout.

It’s Official: Cher to Make Her Musical Movie Debut – This Is Going To Be A Hot Tranny Mess
June 23, 2009

By Bob Meadows


Cher to Make Her Musical Movie Debut

Cher is coming back to the big screen.

The Oscar-winning actress hasn’t starred in a film in a decade, but Variety reports she will join Christina Aguilera this November in a musical, Burlesque.

Aguilera, 28, will play a small-town girl from Iowa who moves to L.A. and lands work at a neo-burlesque club run by Cher. Remarkably, the film marks the first time Cher, 63, will sing onscreen in a movie that she stars in.

Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper said he has been lobbying Cher for years to return to films.

“She brings a soulfulness and gravitas to this character that will ground the story,” Culpepper said. “The only person who was more excited than I am is Christina.”

Morrisville, PA Looks to Get Into Burlesque (Sort of)
June 23, 2009

Burlesque proposal at heart of ordinance defining free speech

By PETRA CHESNER SCHLATTER
Journal Register News Service

MORRISVILLE, Pa. — The topic of sex and freedom of speech in Morrisville Borough has come up again.

Nancy Sherlock, president of the Morrisville Borough Council, said that some corrections need to be made to Chapter 27 of the Morrisville Borough Zoning Code of Ordinances.

The code “needs certain corrections to comply” with state laws, she said.

The ordinance is not new, and only a few minor changes were made, according to Sherlock, who said, “‘Adult Oriented Establishments’ will now be known as ‘Adult Entertainment Establishments.’”

The borough council’s executive session on Jan. 20 dealt with the litigation regarding the constitutional right to operate a gentleman’s club in Morrisville.

Todd Colarusso, a principal in the New Jersey-based Stockham Interests LLC, is suing the borough and contends Morrisville zoning ordinances “impose restrictions and prohibitions on First Amendment protected expression.”

The developer wants to put in a burlesque-style theater with topless women in the building. Other proposed uses in the building would be a health club and a restaurant.

Colarusso’s application for a strip club was unanimously rejected in May 2008 by the Morrisville Zoning Hearing Board.

Sherlock said the ordinance “is only being altered to be more flexible” as a way to not turn a blind eye to traffic congestion, parking issues, neighborhood blight and crime that might arise near proposed sex locations.

James Downey, borough council solicitor, said he is working on changes to the ordinance and that the decision to revise the ordinance came because the borough needs to “have better defense for the federal court case.”

He cited the pending court case with Stockham Interests, which wants to use the historic Stockham building for its burlesque club.

The matter was sent to the Bucks County Planning Commission. Next, the Morrisville Borough Planning Committee must review the changes. A public hearing must be held before anything is considered for adoption.

Top 10 Best Burlesque Blogs
June 19, 2009

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This was a hard list to compile, maybe even more so than the Top 25 Best Burlesque Web Sites list. Where the latter would’ve been a Top 10 list if it hadn’t been for the ridiculous amount of amazing sites, this one almost became a Top 5 list because of the lack of burlesque blogs. Where are the bloggers for this wonderful artform? It boggles the mind that more people interested in entertainment in general, but especially dance aficionados, aren’t clamoring to preserve this genre. With that in mind, here are some of the best blogs Simply Burlesque could find on the fabulousness that’s burlesque:

10) Blue Morris Swing  & Jazz Guitar (http://www.bluemorris.com/music-and-jazz): this blog is not only a haven for jazz and swing music lovers, but it also has a nice blogging section for burlesque news. Also, this site is great for aspiring performers or established striptease acts to get inspiration for songs to use in their performances.

9) The Burlesque Forum (http://burlesqueforum.blogspot.com/): it hasn’t been updated since 2007, sure, but the quality of the burlesque news and commentary is stellar. This is a great place for burlesque journalists and historians. Great videos and an easy to navigate design can also be found here.

8) Tiara The Merch Girl (http://blog.themerchgirl.net/): a Brisbane-based blog run by a self-proclaimed “burlesque apprentice, improv rookie, circus trainee, [and] all around creative chick.”  Sometimes witty (her Dita Von Teese rant is comical because it’s true), sometimes whimsical, but always stocked full of interesting burlesque tidbits, this blog is an interesting look into the mind of an up and coming burlesque entertainer.

7) ShakeItDoll.com (http://www.shakeitdoll.com/): the layout and design of this blog could be better, but ShakeItDoll’s a must see blogging site for UK burlesque enthusiasts. The blog has everything from event listings in different countries to casting calls, interviews, modeling, and fetish links.

6) Ava-May Hemme (http://avamayhemme.com/): started in April 2008, this is another blog created by burlesque act and alternative model Hemme. The layout and design of the blog is ultra-girlie, contrasting nicely with the performer’s edgy style. Her posts are insightful, though they oftentimes veer from the topic of burlesque. However, she’s a very active blogger who keeps her page relatively updated and she responds to most posts.

5) Cherry Bomb: The Queen of Cream (http://cherrybombnyc.blogspot.com/): at first I was confused because I’m working with a Philly based burly troupe and one of the dancer’s names is Cherry Bomb so I thought this was her. It’s not. Even still, this New York City based performer’s blog is packed with musings on her life and career and features enticing photography.

4) Michelle L’Amour (http://michellelamour.wordpress.com/): a sexy, but classy, layout gives this blog a leg up over other performer-based blogs. Ms. L’Amour gives regular updates on burlesque happenings around the globe and pulls back the veil of some aspects of her life. With tease tips, fun facts, a boutique, and stunning pictures, this blog is sure to engage fans of the performer and gain her new ones.

3) Burlesque Baby Blog (http://burlesquebaby.blogspot.com/): looking for burlesque reviews, guides, movies, music and news? This is the place to get your fix.

2) 21st Century Pinups (http://www.pinup.me.uk/): a UK-based blog that’s set up more like an e-zine than a blogging site. It features wonderful columns written by burlesque performers and pin-up girls, interviews with some of the biggest names in the industry, events and reviews, guides and tutorials, and anything else a burlesque fan could want. Journalists can submit work to the blog by filling out an easy to manage contact sheet.

1) Burlesque Babes (http://www.burlesquebabesshop.com/): the quintessential blog for all things vintage burlesque. It spotlights striptease artists from The Golden Age of Burlesque with promo photos and bio/histories. You can also purchase memorabilia of these talented women from the site. The blog’s creator is incredibly nice and couldn’t be a better burlesque historian. This is a must see blog for everyone interested in the art of the tease.

June 19 News
June 19, 2009

Cirque Berzerk Opens to LA Audiences

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Cirque Berzerk’s extended run at the Big Top in the park opened last night to ooh’s and ahh’s from the 1,750 circus-goers in attendance.

This year’s show, under a 45-foot tall big top, benefits from a $650,000 budget and a dynamically talented cast of 150 aerial daredevils, firethrowers, burlesque dancers, all in elaborate costume (and body paint)! All that and the music stylings of Vaud & the Villains! One reader summed it all up in this tweet: “Mind blowing, original show last night by @cirqueberzerk. Fellini meets Teatro Zinzanni in the red light district of the dead. GO SEE IT.” Cirque Berzerk runs through July 4th.

By Andy Sternberg in Arts & Events on June 19, 2009 11:45 AM

Name That Dancer
June 16, 2009

Who is this lovely lady?

Top 15 Classic Burlesque Queens
June 16, 2009

The ’30s, ’40s,  ’50s and ’60s were exceptional times for striptease artists. Hundreds of theaters and clubs across the country catered to burlesque and even Hollywood came calling. Hundreds of  extraordinarily beautiful women made careers teasing  eager audiences with carefully planned and, by today’s standards, modest displays of flesh. What makes a classic burlesque queen? Here at Simply Burlesque the criteria is simple:

  • beauty: the performer had to be easy on the eyes with a stunning figure to match
  • dance ability: the best burlesque strippers could easily glide across a stage and keep a beat
  • striptease ability: since burlesque is about the art of teasing, the queens of this field were the ones who could be seductive without being lewd
  • gimmicks: whether she used a fan, her stockings, an animal or balloons, classic burlesque queens always had a little something extra to captivate the audience
  • performance: song choice and costumes play a part in whether a performer was memorable, but a real queen knew how to engage the crowd, had sex appeal, and could keep all eyes on her at all times

After exhaustive archival research on over 50 burlesque dancers spanning over four decades, the following 15 ladies were ranked accordingly. There were so many wonderful performers during that era, but these divas ruled supreme.

15) Faith Bacon: an ex-Broadway star (she was in Earl Carroll’s Vanities, Fioretta, Earl Carroll’s Sketch Book, and the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931), Bacon turned to burlesque when she couldn’t get anymore work on The Great White Way. Sadly, she committed suicide in 1956.

14) Lilly Christine “The Cat Girl”: this blonde bombshell got her nickname from a routine she originated in New Orleans’ clubs where she stalked around like a cat. She eventually took the act to Broadway and had a burlesque career spanning two decades, starting in the late ’40s. When not stripping, she posed as a pin-up girl for various men’s magazines. Christine’s career was cut short in 1965 when she died of peritonitis at age 41.

lilly christine

13) Dee Milo “The Venus of Dance”: “‘Sentimental Journey’ was my signature act. The music and the words tell the story. I’d come out in street clothes carrying a suitcase, take a negligee and gown out of the case, and then have the gown drop from under the negligee. If we had a young man in from the audience I would get on his lap and “claim” him. Then I would then place myself on the bed, the man would walk over, and they’d wipe the lights. It was a very well-liked number, and the women in the audience would comment on how nice it was that I left the stage dressed. I would do this number in every show I did, and if I did a nightclub gig I would do just this number. You could always push the envelope more in nightclubs’,” Milo said (Quote source)

Dee

12) Rosita Royce: known for stripping with doves, this raven-haired beauty brought both the funny AND the sexy in her routines.

11) Sandra Storm: another funny lady with a sometimes manic style of dance, Storm had an inate ability to bring a certain air of naivete to her sassy performances. She can be seen in director Charles Keating’s Vintage Erotica (Burlesque Edition) Vol. 2 (Buy now)

10) Ann Corio: after failing to make it as a bigtime Hollywood film star, Corio moved back East to perform in summer stock theaters. She played sultry characters like Maggie in Tennesse Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Princess Kakilima in The Barker. Theater director (and Corio’s eventual third and final husband) Michael Iannucci persuaded her to perform in a burlesque revival show This Was Burlesque, which premiered in Boston in 1961. The show would go on for more than 30 years, appearing on Broadway twice, touring across America, spawning countless television specials and being filmed twice by HBO.

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9) Josephine Baker: Ernest Hemigway allegedly called her “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw” and it’s no wonder. This singer/dancer/actress was known for appearing practically nude onstage, dancing around with bikinis made of bananas, and combining African and European dance styles to create energetic performances that few could match. Though she never quite had the same success here in the states that she had in France, Baker was one of the pioneers for black women in burlesque.

8) Betty Rowland “Ball of Fire”: Rowland’s nickname came from her long red hair that would whip around as she bumped and shimmied across a stage. She was elegant and playful, modest yet alluring, and always a class act.

7) Zorita: this burlesque legend was known for snake routines and other avant-garde routines (including a half-man/half-woman number) as well as her preference for female companionship. She can be seen in HBO’s 2005 documentary, Pretty Things.

zorita

6) Blaze Starr: while she wasn’t the most graceful striptease artist to break out in the Golden Age of Burlesque, Starr was certainly one of the most beautiful women to ever hit the scene. With a killer body and a sweet smile, this living legend of burlesque became the fantasy of men and women alike in the ’50s. Today, she owns the Two O’Clock Club in Baltimore, Maryland and still does burly conventions today.

5) Sally Rand: known for her infamous fan dance and balloon bubble dance, this artist was one of the most talented and regal performers on the scene. The blonde beauty defined precision and glamour, quickly becoming one of the biggest names in the business. She died in 1979 at the age of 75.

4) Gypsy Rose Lee: movies and musicals have been written about this iconic figure’s life. Everyone from Bette Midler to Angela Lansbury have paid tribute to her stunning career. But Lee will always be remembered as the “intellectual stripper” – a woman who took it off while reciting poetry and whatever else she happened to be reading at the time. Not only was it funny and enticing, but it was also innovative for the time and something that hasn’t really been seen since.

3) Jennie Lee “The Bazoom Girl”: an incredible bustline that seemed to defy the laws of nature cemented this curvy blonde’s status as a sex symbol for the ages. Lee worked burlesque stages all across the U.S., Canada, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Manila for over 30 years. Swinging her tassels like nobody’s business was her signature, but she remained one of the classiest ladies in showbusiness. “I had a natural rhythm and a nonchalant way of working – a smile and a little bounce,” she said to Jane Briggeman. “I was always sexy, but never vulgar.” (Read Lee’s Bio here)

2) Lili St. Cyr: Those eyes. Those lips. Those fabulous legs. Lili St. Cyr was an actress and burlesque performer like no other. This video honoring the late statuesque diva pretty much says it all.

1) Dixie Evans: dubbed “The  Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque” by Harold Minsky, Evans made her mark on the striptease circuit parodying the Hollywood icon until Monroe’s death in 1962. The 82-year-old Las Vegas resident is still as active and zany as she was in her heyday, working with such notable photographers as David LaChappelle and hobnobbing with current burlesque queen, Dita Von Teese.  To get in touch with this supreme burlesque legend, visit her MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/dixieevans.