Monday, April 27, 2009

All The News That's Fit To Strip

Sauci Calla Horra, a member of Toronto's Skin Tight Outta Sight, is on a mission to shimmy, shake and spread the love of burlesque clear across the country.

"I was always a bit of a showboat. I had a fantasy of wanting to be a glamorous lady. I had this image of a very exotic-looking woman in a fur coat and high heels and an evening gown," she said. "But I don't think I ever imagined I'd be going across the country and taking off my clothes."

In other news ...

The New York Times chats with the last surviving Ziegfeld Girl.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal looks at Peepshow, the city's newest girlie show, which Lindsay Lohan is apparently in talks about.

Monday, April 20, 2009

All The News That's Fit To Strip

Rumor has it that Christina Aguilera might shimmy onto the big screen with Burlesque, a film about a modern-day striptease dancer. According to MTV, Steve Antin, whose sister is Pussycat Dolls creator Robin Antin, wrote the script and is reportedly going to direct. Screen Gems, the studio behind the project, has confirmed the movie is in development and is aiming for a January 2010 production start.

In other news ...

Variety artist Scot Nery polishes his craft last week between striptease acts.

Tony-winning choreographer and director Jerry Mitchell unveiled his new Las Vegas spectacle Peepshow this weekend. Former Spice Girl Mel B. portrays "The Peep Diva," who serves as the evening's emcee, and guides "Bo Peep" (portrayed by Dancing with the Stars contestant Kelly Monaco on her search for love.

Rachel Shteir celebrated her birthday and the launch of Gypsy on Friday. Jo Boobs led the affair, which included performances by Dr. Lucky and Catherine D'Lish.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Candy Gram: Red Snapper

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 Red Snapper.

What is your hometown?
Born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, but Los Angeles has been home for 7 1/2 years now.

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
I've been acting since I was five. I got into pole dancing classes about three years ago. I caught wind of burlesque two years ago, started studying and was performing six months later.

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
17

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
Everlong by Foo Fighters, Do Nothin' Til You Hear From Me by Lena Horne and You Never Can Tell by Chuck Berry. The last one is great fun because Mr. Snapper and I re-enact Jack Rabbit Slim's Twist Contest from Pulp Fiction, and he strips with me.

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
Safety panties, fake eyelashes and bottled water.

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
Yikes. I've had so many incredible teachers that this is hard to answer, and every one of them has helped shape me into the performer I am today. Jo Boobs was the one who set me on the right path. I wanted to know how to twirl tassels, Googled it and found her website and e-book. I started attending classes with various teachers from there.

Who is your favorite burly queen?
Tigger! He popped out to Los Angeles earlier this year and I had the joy of doing three shows and a class with him while he was here. He's so unapologetically himself, very bold in his performances, and an all-around good time.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
My John Mayer hoodie. I have fifteen John Mayer shirts, four of which are hoodies.

What’s the last movie you saw?
In the theater - The Reader. I watched M in film class.

What’s on your must-see-TV list?
I'm a rabid Lost fan. I'm also addicted to The Office. Not a day passes that I don't say "That's what she said." I try to catch Gossip Girl when I can.

What book is on your nightstand?
Walter the Farting Dog and Watchmen. Real high brow stuff.

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
I'd love to go back to Paris. It's beautiful there. My husband and I were there many years ago, and we really want to go back.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
I'd want to be self-healing like Wolverine or Claire on Heroes. I'd probably take gymnastics classes if I could heal anything I broke within a matter of seconds.

Satisfy your appetite for more Candy Grams: Kitten on the Keys, Virginia D'Vine, Tamara the Trapeze Lady, Champagne Sparkles, 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.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Zip! It's Gypsy

Much has been written, imagined and sung about Gypsy Rose Lee. Most of if has focused on how Mama Rose pushed Gypsy from a child performer on the vaudeville circuit to "gotta get a gimmick" burlesque star. Now, Rachel Shteir, who wrote a fabulous history of Striptease and the foreword to Gilded Lili, undresses the Gypsy mystery with Gypsy: The Art of the Tease. Shteir's biography follows Gypsy's start, but also looks at her time as a stripper, her botched trip to Hollywood, her transformation into "The Striptease Intellectual" and how she used striptease to sell, well, everything. I can't wait to peel open the book and find out what's revealed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Revealing Images: Bubbles La Rue

In Revealing Images, photographer Don Spiro dishes up sweet photographic treats and the stories behind them. Today, Don aims his lens at Bubbles La Rue.



This still is a promo shot that was used in the Velvet Hammer Burlesque’s program for it’s winter of 2001 show, which was my first burlesque photo shoot in a studio. Each shot in the program had it’s own style, and we chose to shoot this one like an old promotional photo of a mid century burlesque star that you might find in an old men’s magazine.

The number Bubbles did was a wild-west burlesque, and she wore the same costume in the photo that she wore on stage. She stood with one foot on a box that was lying in the studio, with one hand by the gun on her hip, the other holding the gun with her elbow on her raised knee. A pale grey paper seamless provided the backdrop, just like many of those old photos.

Looking through old magazines I noticed the photographers used a lot of hard light and didn’t care much about keeping shadows to a minimum. I love using hard light, and enjoy manipulating it by choosing the intensity and direction of the shadow. For this shot I wanted to shoot in the vintage style, but keep the light and shadows interesting. I decided to use old Hollywood glamour three point lighting, and see where the shadows fell.

I started with one hard light as a key off to the left side of camera, somewhat high, aimed down across her body, avoiding the background. You can see the shadows it makes from her nose across her cheek, from her head onto her camera-right shoulder, and from her legs off to frame right. I set a second light just above head level to the right of camera as a fill light, softening all the shadows on her body and on the ground, but creating a dark shadow on the background just behind her. This light kept her face from becoming too dark and gave me little glints on the metal parts of her guns and belt buckles.

Last, I put a light on a book pole and aimed it far over her head, just over the top of the seamless. This lit the top of her hat and her shoulders while throwing asoft, third shadow on the ground. The two lights creating shadows on the floor helped cancel each other and wash out each other’s shadows, but didn’t light the back of the seamless, so that shadow stayed dark.

I shot this with black and white film and my trusty Nikon with its 50mm lens. I like the moodiness of this piece and was extremely happy with how it was printed. To me, it really evokes the old time classic quality of those old magazines and publicity photos. I’m just as proud of it today as I was when I first shot it.

~Don Spiro

Monday, April 6, 2009

All The News That's Fit To Strip

Dixie Evans, known as the Frisco Flash and the Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque, believes the industry never received the credit it deserved for its contributions.

"We saved America in the '30s," she told The Los Angeles Times. "It was the Depression, a sad time. But men could come into the theater and see a flamboyant, gaudy show with a wild sense of humor, and we put smiles on their faces. It wasn't just the dancers. There were comics, jugglers."

Evans hopes Exotic World will give burlesque its due.

In other news ...

The Scottish Ballet adds some burlesque sass.

Pop Eater dishes on the best movie strippers.

Jessica Biel strips down.

Amateur burly dancers can practice their tassel twirling at the Palace of Wonders.

Cirque Noir takes burlesque upscale.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Candy Gram: Kitten on the Keys

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 Kitten on the Keys.

What is your hometown?
San Francisco, California

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
Wow. I started out singing in church and acting in plays at age three. Community theater and high school bands followed. I was always in rock and punk bands as a teen and in the dorms at San Francisco State. I started my whole cabaret underground burlesque stuff in the late 1990s. I started by playing and singing for San Francisco’s first neo-burlesque troupe - The Cantankerous Lollies. I played piano and sang in their orchestra. We went on tour to LA and Exotic World and won best troupe.
It was at Exotic World that I met so many cool like-minded folks and POOF! My life’s calling was found. I am an insecure attention whore and like to be naughty!

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
30! Or more. I make super silly pasties and put my poor boobs and nips through the ringer changing them all the time at shows! My faves are tiny accordions, stuffed piggies, vodka bottles with straws, tiny ukuleles and teeth! The wackier the better. I am always looking at light weight objects to make pasties out of.

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
Original Material: You Bring Out The Savage In Me - I get to scream and yell at the audience like a mad woman and fondle bones.

Lady by Styx with my fab partners in crime the Scenic Sisters. We have nine Viking gals on stage at the same time in our fantasy novel come true.

Good Ship Lollipop by Shirley Temple.

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
Glitter
Eyelashes and eyelash glue
My Glue Gun

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
Freddie Mercury, Liberace, Alice Cooper, Mae West, Betty Boop, Little Rascals, Shirley Temple, Dixie Evans, Holiday O Hara, Satans Angel, Faye Richmond

Who is your favorite burly queen?
Dirty Martini and Catherine D’Lish

What is your favorite item of clothing?
I love my black and hot pinked striped hoodie that I got in Scotland while doing the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It has little kittie ears on the hoodie that I put pipe cleaners in so they stick up. Meowalicious

What's the last movie you saw?
Happiness by Todd Soldoz. Amazing dysfunction

What's on your must-see-TV list?
Nip/Tuck, Weeds, Six Feet Under, Dexter, Law and Order and any true crime forensic stuff.

What book is on your nightstand?
DSM 4 and rhyming dictionaries.

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Czech Republic or back to Maui to strum my ukulele.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
I would like magic socks that could transport me places where people need help and then I could cure them AIDS crisis, orphans, war, breast cancer, help the elderly, etc. I really like to help people and believe in the curing magic of music.

Satisfy your appetite for more Candy Grams: Virginia D'Vine, Tamara the Trapeze Lady, Champagne Sparkles, 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.