Burlesque troupe Skin Tight Outta Sight puts on its fourth Biblical Burlesque show this weekend. "Think of it as a church pageant gone wrong," troupe member Sauci Calla Horra told the Toronto Star. Not surprisingly, the article ignited a firestorm of responses.
Jo Boobs points out that religion often serves as inspiration burly-q performers and offers up several neo-burlesque examples. It's not a new trend.
Lili St. Cyr staged a short dance based on Oscar Wilde’s Salome, a tale of the woman who dances to encourage King Herod to behead John the Baptist. One reviewer described the performance as a “barbaric portrayal [that] shows her gloating over the head of the prophet and [ending] in a wild, frenzied dance." And a routine she called "Eve," in which she danced around a large apple, inspired a Montreal priest to start a crusade to run her out of town. “Who’s ignoring the repugnant obscenity of the shows presented in Montreal by Lili St. Cyr,” he wrote. “All affirm that a stench of sexual frenzy plagues the theater the whole time this dancer’s exhibition lasts.” The priest caused such a brouhaha that Lili was arrested, but the trial lasted less than two hours and she was acquitted.
Montreal’s business owners fully recognized Lili’s bottom line appeal and in their newsletter wrote: "One must never have seen the chaste and statuesque Lili to be able to decry her thus. She is the ideal woman incarnate . . . she has us experience the entire spectrum of emotion, by a gradation of personal pleasures, by all degrees of hope, desire, and enjoyment. . . . With a sparkling light she executes the most fantastic dances of eternal theme. . . . She gives a wake-up to adolescence, a stimulant to the young man, comfort to the middle-aged man, sweet memory to the old man. . . . Lili is the goddess of love reincarnate . . . She is at the same time immortal desire, and immortal enjoyment. Bravo to all those who refuse to let themselves be moved by these false cries of conscience. . . . We’d be a city dead to love and to pleasure."