Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Video of the Week

Get a sneak peek at Jo Weldon's new instructional video.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The State of Burlesque

The latest victim in the recession maelstrom is sexy lingerie. In a story on how Victoria's Secret is suffering, but Playtex and Maidenform are going strong, a consumer psychologist said: "Consumers are in the mood for basics - just as they're letting go of the frilly extras at the grocery store, they're also passing it up when it comes to lingerie. Practical, basic, trusted, timeless - these are the types of products that feel satisfying to consumers right now."

If sexy and frilly is out, is burlesque feeling the pinch? Have you made changes to your routines or performance schedules based on the economic downturn? Have you noticed any change in your audience or ticket sales? Let us know.

Monday, February 23, 2009

All The News That's Fit To Strip

Dita Von Teese gets around ... the gossip world. First, she chats about being a serial dater and then talks sex.

She tells tells E!, "I'm just really enjoying being single, and having fun, global affairs. I'm enjoying being free, and enjoying different men...I'm enjoying being in the moment and enjoying everyone for what they have to offer."

Dita also dishes on how she works her body and her movie-starring aspirations.

In other news ...

Coco Peru shares her recipe for a spicy burlesque treat.

Amber Ray makes a splash in Australia.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Candy Gram: Champagne Sparkles

In our ongoing Q&A series --"The Candy Gram"-- we ask the same quirky questions of burlesque's various performers. If you want to be added to the mix, drop us a line at kellydinardo AT gmail DOT com. Today, say hello to Champagne Sparkles

What is your hometown?
I am a BC girl - born in Vancouver, grew up in Winfield and am now a west coast kitten in Victoria!

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
I am a long-time producer of various types of shows (bands and DJs) but never thought of myself as a performer. My interest in burlesque began in the late 90s but it took a while to make it to the stage - I've been performing for almost 3 years.

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
Hmmmm... I've lost count, probably 30 or so.

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
Mahna Mahna - The Muppets
Coax Me A Little Bit (Remixed) - Lena Horne
Shiny Disco Balls - Who Da Funk Featuring Jessica Eve

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
Glitter, rhinestones and more glitter

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
Miss Indigo Blue has provided invaluable education and feedback, the Cheesecake Burlesque Revue ladies are a dream to work with (so may heads to brainstorm) and a wonderful sisterhood, Mr Black is burlesque mastermind and the most supportive husband a girl could have!

Who is your favorite burly queen?
Catherine D'Lish, seeing her perform at the Commodore in Vancouver is what hooked me.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
My silver platform dance shoes I covered with Swarovski crystals for my wedding. So sparkly!

What's the last movie you saw?
Lust, Caution

What's on your must-see-TV list?
I don't have cable, but I have been enjoying DVDs of Flight of the Concords.

What book is on your nightstand?
A Time Traveler's Wife

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
'Round the world - overflowing trunk in tow, champagne glass in hand!

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
Teleportation - just think of how much more time you'd have if you didn't have to travel.

Satisfy your appetite for more Candy Grams: Selia Carmichael, Pyra Sutra, Roxi Dlite, Scarlet O'Gasm, Bombshell Betty, Foxy Moxy, Bambi Galore, Mis Rosie Bitts, Sahara Dunes, Mimi Rockafellar, Baby Le Strange, Rose Darling, Satan's Angel, Ophelia Flame, Panache La Plume, Ginger Valentine, Madame Rosebud, Little Brooklyn, Victoria Veneance, Sauci Calla Horra, Penny Starr Jr., Gemma Parker, Darla DeVine, Sparkly Devil, Vivienne VaVoom, Lux LaCroix, Charlotte La Belle Araignee, Bunny Love, Amber Topaz, Amelie Soleil, Red Hot Annie, HoneyLu, Kimberlee Rose, Vicky Butterfly, Dominique Immora, Yasmine Vine, Cherry Bomb, Millie Dollar, Joanie Gyoza, Bonbon Vivant, Lola Martinet, Frankie Boudoir, Vixen Violette, Ravenna Black, Veronica Lashe, Amber Ray, Beatrix von Bourbon, Angie Pontani, Tanya Cheex, Bloody Belle, Clams Casino, Trixie Little, Michelle L'Amour, Margaret Cho, Miss Dirty Martini, Princess Farhana, Miss Delirium Tremens, Paris Green, Jo Boobs, Jack Midnight, Heidi Von Haught, Diamond Minx, The Titillation Twins, Scratch, Creamy Stevens and Gina Louise.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

How To Burlesque

In our monthly column How To Burlesque, Miss Frankie Tease, left, brings you tips and advice on a mishmash of burly topics. Today, she dishes on how to create your stage persona.

The most important thing about your name, and persona, is that it fits you with ease and the second is that it's catchy and easy to remember. To get started on creating your stage persona, answer a few of my questions below.

~ What is memorable about you at a glance? For example, are you long, tall, short, fat, well endowed up top or bottom? Do you have big round eyes? Do you have a tiny waist? Use what your Momma gave you to be remembered.

~ What will you do for a party trick? Do you sing or do acrobatics, balancing acts or shimmy tricks. If you can produce the same trick every time, it could be part of your long term act.

~ Write your name out. Do you like how it looks? Imagine signing it 1000 times. Imagine it as embroidery. Imagine it as a website. Is it workable? Changing names is a bit of a dreary prospect, because of the confusion and the energy to get your name out. My advice? Think long and hard and pick a winner the first time if possible.

Finally, ask friends. Often the best names are given to us whimsically as a friend tries to put who we are in a nutshell.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Things That Go Bump 'N Grind In the Night

I loved Neil Gaiman's Coraline, which I reviewed when it first came out, so I've been excited to see the film version. Now, there's added incentive. Little Brooklyn reports the movie tips a hat to burlesque -- Coraline's neighbors are two aging burlesque dancers and the film includes a burlesque-inspired routine. On the film's site, you can even download vintage burlesque posters from when the women performed, left.

Of course, not everyone loves the burly moment. Some religious and parental groups think that makes it off-limits for kids. Clearly that's up to each parent, but I found this bit in Crosswalk's review an interesting, and probably unintended, comment on sexuality:

"[They] perform a circus stage show in which one barely has anything on. Granted, she’s older and overweight so it’s not a sexually alluring image (it’s meant for comic effect)..."

Monday, February 16, 2009

All The News That's Fit To Strip

Dita Von Teese isn't afraid to take it off. The burlesque queen, who has been teasing Paris, commented on the burlesque-style pop acts and Hollywood stars who make guest appearances in burlesque acts without taking their clothes off.

"The striptease aspect is vital to burlesque. I'm very offended by sanitized, commercialized ‘faux-lesque’ as I like to call it," said Von Teese. "Burlesque was about the striptease. End of Story. The great burlesque stars - Gypsy Rose Lee, Lili St. Cyr, Sally Rand - they took off their clothes. It's important to me because it's disrespectful to the history of it, and those women who made it famous, to discount what they did."

In other news ...

The Porcelain Twinz filed a lawsuit saying they were forced to perform sex acts with their New York employer and with each other to keep their jobs.

Minsky's, the big, brash musical tale of Depression-era burlesque is Broadway-bound.

Shirley Jean Rickert, who starred in Our Gang and later worked as a burlesque dancer, died.

Richmond takes a turn for the risque.

Shameless Women chats with Sauci Calla Horra.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Candy Gram: Selia Carmichael

In our ongoing Q&A series --"The Candy Gram"-- we ask the same quirky questions of burlesque's various performers. If you want to be added to the mix, drop us a line at kellydinardo AT gmail DOT com. Today, say hello to Selia Carmichael

What is your hometown?
Smallsville, NC, but family is more properly from the Carpathian Mountains along the Ukraine and Slovakia.

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
Hmmmm, since I used to do 'shadow-dancing' using a nightlight as I was supposed to be going to sleep as a tweenie. This, of course, was after seeing clips of Gypsy Rose Lee and watching Marilyn Monroe when I would sneak out of bed and peek around the corner into the den as the grown-ups would be socializing.

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
About 10 or 15. I tend to get comfortable with my faves, but they don't always play out with a particular show or costume.

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
I did a Psycho skit to the Beatle's Oh Darling and I felt amazing performing to that. I also like Esquivel's Mucha Muchacha. It's very, very fun and a fun costume. Honey Rock by Barney Kessel is also one of my faves as well, it's so silly and cute!

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
Fishnets, but that may be more of a personal fetish thing! Shoes, again, fetish, but also very functional. And bobby-pins. They can be used for anything.

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
I have to say my friends. They are all so fabulously supportive and have helped my progress enormously.

Who is your favorite burly queen?
I'm not a 'favorite' picking type of gal, but Gypsy Rose Lee is phenomenal.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
Depends what I'm doing. If I'm showing off, I really like binding items. It just really feels sexy to me! Otherwise, I can't do without my comfy clothes. You will see me in sweats, yoga pants, terry shorts, jeans, leggings and the like all of the time. Hope that doesn't ruin my image.

What's the last movie you saw?
Well, I found some great movies cheap cheap cheap, in a bin. I picked up John Hurston's Moulin Rouge, Dames with Dick Powel and Rubey Keeler and On the Town with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.

What's on your must-see-TV list?
I'm pretty much a nerd. I don't watch TV, only when I'm on the road in a hotel, and then I get addicted to the embarrassing shows that come on MTV and VH1. Oh, I'm so ashamed!

What book is on your nightstand?
The Sound of One Hand Clapping by Richard Flanagan, a novel which "chronicles the insidious effects of war...[and] how the fragmented can be made whole again." Told you I'm kind of a nerd.

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Well, I'm in love with California so I go there any chance I get, though I cry when I leave. Other than that, Greece just for the laid-back factor and to Eastern Europe, to check out my lineage.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
I've never thought about this. I guess I would make time freeze sometimes, some moments are incredible too short!

Satisfy your appetite for more Candy Grams: Pyra Sutra, Roxi Dlite, Scarlet O'Gasm, Bombshell Betty, Foxy Moxy, Bambi Galore, Mis Rosie Bitts, Sahara Dunes, Mimi Rockafellar, Baby Le Strange, Rose Darling, Satan's Angel, Ophelia Flame, Panache La Plume, Ginger Valentine, Madame Rosebud, Little Brooklyn, Victoria Veneance, Sauci Calla Horra, Penny Starr Jr., Gemma Parker, Darla DeVine, Sparkly Devil, Vivienne VaVoom, Lux LaCroix, Charlotte La Belle Araignee, Bunny Love, Amber Topaz, Amelie Soleil, Red Hot Annie, HoneyLu, Kimberlee Rose, Vicky Butterfly, Dominique Immora, Yasmine Vine, Cherry Bomb, Millie Dollar, Joanie Gyoza, Bonbon Vivant, Lola Martinet, Frankie Boudoir, Vixen Violette, Ravenna Black, Veronica Lashe, Amber Ray, Beatrix von Bourbon, Angie Pontani, Tanya Cheex, Bloody Belle, Clams Casino, Trixie Little, Michelle L'Amour, Margaret Cho, Miss Dirty Martini, Princess Farhana, Miss Delirium Tremens, Paris Green, Jo Boobs, Jack Midnight, Heidi Von Haught, Diamond Minx, The Titillation Twins, Scratch, Creamy Stevens and Gina Louise.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cupid Aims At Burlesque

Valentine's Day gets a whole lot sexier with a little burlesque in the mix. For those who want to stay in, don't miss Lili’s Burlesque Revue, left, on the Sexy Food episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel.

If you're in Chicago, check out Paris Green and the Belmont Burlesque Revue.

Burlesque-A-Pades with The Pontani Sisters returns to Washington, DC.

Madame Trixie and her Dolls Burlesque spice things up in Utica.

Rev. Spooky LeStrange and Her Billion Dollar Baby Dolls get saucy in New Orleans.

Seattle gets Rockabilly and Burlesque.

Where else can you catch burlesque this weekend? Leave details about your show in the comments.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Revealing Images: The Velvet Hammer

In Revealing Images, photographer Don Spiro dishes up sweet photographic treats and the stories behind them. Today, Don aims his lens at The Velvet Hammer.



The first burlesque photo shoot I ever did was for the Velvet Hammer back in 2001. Each year the producers would ask a new photographer to shoot images to keep a consistent appearance throughout their program. In 2001, however, several performers from the Velvet Hammer’s “sister troupe,” the Va Va Voom Room of New York, would be joining the LA show and they each had promo shots from other photographers. To keep their photos from seeming out of place, the producers decided to give each promo shot a unique look, and asked me to shoot them. I am experienced in old photographic techniques and work in the film industry, where we are constantly working in different styles, so I was perfectly suited for the job. I asked each performer how he or she wanted to look and to bring visual materials that inspired them.

The shoot took place at what would become my studio on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, the “Studio With No Name,” identified by my handwritten sign in the window. The Velvet Hammer rehearsed there and Princess Farhana held classes in belly dance, and size and hardwood floors influenced my preference for shooting in dance spaces.

The very first subject of my very first burlesque shoot was the bandleader, the Millionaire, leader of the Velvet Hammer house band “The Millionaire and his Maharajahs of Melody.” I had been a fan of his from the first time I saw his former band, Combustible Edison. He is a seminal influence in reviving cocktail culture, and coined the term “cocktail nation.”

He wanted a mysterious, moody image that would invoke Orientalist kitsch and memories of early Korla Pandit. I knew exactly what he meant, I even had a Korla Pandit autograph.

Mil wore a shiny turban and had large rings on his fingers. I believe the previous owner of his jacket was Sammy Davis Jr. I stood him in front of a black backdrop and decided under-lighting would give me the best picture.

In those days I shot old school: I shot on black and white film with film/video lights, which strobe-light photographers call “hot lights” or “continuous lights.” I used a 1000 watt open face light on a very short stand directly underneath him, pointing up at a sharp angle. This lit his face and gave me the moody look I desired. I added a 650 watt light on a very tall stand behind and boomed over the backdrop, angled onto his back and shoulders to separate him from the background. I adjusted the barndoors to keep the light from flaring the lens, making sure just enough hit him to create a sharp edge of light on his shoulders and turban. He gave me his best mystic pose and I captured my first burlesque studio shot.

~Don Spiro

Monday, February 9, 2009

All The News That's Fit To Strip

Burlesque queen Ava Garter, a teacher at the Black Glove School of Seduction, dishes up romance tips for Valentine's Day.

"It's always very sexy to go with a pretty black bra, black garter belt, black panties with a bow and a nude sheer stocking," she told the L.A. Times. "Black is slimming, and a nude stocking makes your legs look much longer. I can't do without heels. Women should have a very deadly walk; you should glide without making a fool of yourself."

In other news ...

The new musical Minsky's, with Rachel Dratch gets reviewed.

There are a half-dozen or more erotic performance troupes teasing Tucson.

Check out pix from the first-ever Dallas Burlesque Festival here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Candy Gram: Pyra Sutra

In our ongoing Q&A series --"The Candy Gram"-- we ask the same quirky questions of burlesque's various performers. If you want to be added to the mix, drop us a line at kellydinardo AT gmail DOT com. Today, say hello to Pyra Sutra, Queen of the Blazing Bustier.

What is your hometown?
Phoenix, Arizona

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
Since childhood.

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
I run a burlesque troupe called Scandalesque, having to cover their nips and mine for various routines, so too many paisties to count.

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
Combi Christs My Rifle
Nancy Sinatra's Boots
My Life w/ the TKK's Dirty Little Secrets

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
Lips, lashes and glitter.

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
Madonna and Marlene Dietrich.

Who is your favorite burly queen?
Satan's Angel and May West

What is your favorite item of clothing?
Pasties and G-strings!

What's the last movie you saw?
Rocky Horror Picture Show.

What's on your must-see-TV list?
I don't watch TV.

What book is on your nightstand?
101 Nights.

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Paris.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
World Peace because that's what we need right now.

Satisfy your appetite for more Candy Grams: Roxi Dlite, Scarlet O'Gasm, Bombshell Betty, Foxy Moxy, Bambi Galore, Mis Rosie Bitts, Sahara Dunes, Mimi Rockafellar, Baby Le Strange, Rose Darling, Satan's Angel, Ophelia Flame, Panache La Plume, Ginger Valentine, Madame Rosebud, Little Brooklyn, Victoria Veneance, Sauci Calla Horra, Penny Starr Jr., Gemma Parker, Darla DeVine, Sparkly Devil, Vivienne VaVoom, Lux LaCroix, Charlotte La Belle Araignee, Bunny Love, Amber Topaz, Amelie Soleil, Red Hot Annie, HoneyLu, Kimberlee Rose, Vicky Butterfly, Dominique Immora, Yasmine Vine, Cherry Bomb, Millie Dollar, Joanie Gyoza, Bonbon Vivant, Lola Martinet, Frankie Boudoir, Vixen Violette, Ravenna Black, Veronica Lashe, Amber Ray, Beatrix von Bourbon, Angie Pontani, Tanya Cheex, Bloody Belle, Clams Casino, Trixie Little, Michelle L'Amour, Margaret Cho, Miss Dirty Martini, Princess Farhana, Miss Delirium Tremens, Paris Green, Jo Boobs, Jack Midnight, Heidi Von Haught, Diamond Minx, The Titillation Twins, Scratch, Creamy Stevens and Gina Louise.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Video of the Week

Inspired by a previous Video, Little Brooklyn sent us this one. For the eager, she duly noted that, "stripping shoe starts at 5:21 for those who like to cut to the chase."



On the video section of the Starshine you'll find a collection of burlesque references in Tex Avery cartoons.

Monday, February 2, 2009

All The News That's Fit To Strip

Dita Von Teese shimmies into the Crazy Horse tonight. Can't make it to Paris? BlackBook offers up a virtual tease with a fantastic gallery of the burlesque queen and more.

In other news ...

Minskys, the New York burlesque powerhouse, is open for business again. A musical inspired by its history, is at the Ahmanson Theatre.

Burlesque booms as economy falters.