Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hot Dog

The gruesome, stomach-turning charges against Michael Vick for dogfighting make it hard to believe dog is man's best friend. Thankfully, Fido's got his gal pals.

In 2005, a group of animal rescuers, models and photographers established Pinups For Pups with the mission "to promote responsible pet ownership." Check out the gallery of lovely ladies with their pooches and support the group by ordering the 2008 calendar, available in September. If last year's calendar, which featured Kitten DeVille, is any indication it really is a dog's life.

Monday, July 30, 2007

All the News That's Fit To Strip

Sherry Britton once donned a "Let's Go Mets" T-shirt, but the burlesque dancer is really a Chicago Cubs fan. And reminiscing about Sherry, columnist Bill Gallo confirms something we always suspected:

"The older fellows said they went to burlesque for the comics, funny men such as Red Buttons and Phil Silvers and Jackie Gleason ... After seeing our very first burlesque, we were certain, the older guys didn't come to see the comics."

In other news ...

Dita is naturally a freckle-faced blonde.

Kellita of Hot Pink Feathers explains how she found herself "bumping and grinding, shimmying and shaking."

It's ok Britney, pole dancing is hard.

Woody shares photos from Miss Exotic World.

How do you know the "stripperization" of America is complete? When the word is used to describe New Gingrich's potential presidential run.

Bostonians who are ready to take their hip swiveling professional might want to head to Rock City Body on August 26. The Boston Babydolls are holding auditions for new troupe members.

The latest issue of Shimmy Magazine is now on sale. Purchase your copy online or, if you happen to be in New York, here, here or here.

While I love a great debate, let's keep this civil. If you criticize people by name, please have the courtesy to leave your own name and affiliations. Strong opinions are welcome as long as they are backed up with reasons. The Candy Pitch's comment policy is as follows: The Candy Pitch allows anonymous comments as long as they don't contain content the administrator deems inflammatory or spam. The Candy Pitch reserves the right to delete any comment at any time for any reason.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Candy Gram: Heidi Von Haught

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 Seattle's Heidi Von Haught of The Von Foxies.

What is your hometown?
San Francisco, CA

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
It's been about four years now. But I have wanted to take my clothes off in public since I was in fourth grade, I just didn't know how to do it.

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
Wow. I don't know. I've made so many, for myself and Christmas presents for friends and family. I have really lost count. I made my dad a SF Giants pair for Christmas last year. Then we've got the pinwheels, the fezzes, the space needles, the exploding guns. Lots. I love pasties.

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
I'd really love to do a number to When The Levee Breaks by Led Zep but haven't yet. I love anything cheesy that we can add our own freakish spin to so I love mine and Elsa's conjoined twins number to Love Will Keep Us Together and mine and Pidge's fisting tutorial to Feel Like Makin' Love.

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
Nude thong, glitter and creativity.

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
I think Julie Atlas Muz probably. I did a one-on-one class with her that really turned into burlesque therapy. I told her all of my fears of failure and she told me that the best thing you can do for your performance life is fail. So I took a big leap into scary territory and it turned out wonderfully. She kind of convinced me to get out of safe territory and start making art that I was passionate about.

Who is your favorite burly queen?
See above. And Dirty Martini, Satan's Angel, and Diamondback Annie.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
Anything that makes my ass look good. Or my favorite black push up bra that gives me a rack.

What's the last movie you saw?
Mrs. Henderson Presents. It was cute.

Whats on your must-see-TV list?
CSI. I'm a forensics geek and love anything about serial killers.

What book is on your nightstand?
The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler. It about the end of cheap oil and scares the crap out of me.

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Puerto Rico, where part of my family is from.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
Oooh oooh! I used to obsess about Evie from Out of This World. She could freeze time by touching her finger tips together. I would get into trouble and then sit for hours thinking of how I could have avoided the trouble if I'd only had Evie's super power. One day...

Photo courtesy of Lance Wagner.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bring It Up Sexy

At this year's Miss Exotic World competition Gravity Plays Favorites shimmied and twirled around a large pole. The duo interwined themselves and slid up and down the pole with impressive acrobatic prowess. This was the image I had in mind as I met a group of friends at The P Spot in D.C. for an introductory pole dancing class.

After reading an article about the class, a friend rallied a group of us to give it a whirl. The studio, a first-floor in a brownstone, was empty except for the row of five poles strategically spaced in a long line. Over an hour we took turns learning the components to a quick routine. We swung around the pole. We slid our backs down it and pulsed low to the ground. And finally we lifted ourselves up off the ground trying to imitate how our instructor wrapped her legs around it as she slid down.

It was a sweaty, fun, hot mess -- it's hard to look or feel sexy while thinking, "Walk one, two, three. Grab the pole. Smalll step, swing it around ..." But in the end, even when you land on your podunka-dunk, if you bring it up sexy it's all good.

And if anyone ever doubted the workout part of these classes, here's what the other pole-twirling girls thought:

"I work with a personal trainer and my quadriceps have never felt a workout quite like this. ... I think I need a few more classes to test out my skills before I try some moves at home!"

"Being sexy on a pole is hard work, I have a new found respect for the profession. Shape, size and fitness level do not necessarily indicate how well someone will look dancing around a pole."

"Sore does not quite describe where I am. ... my thighs, butt, wrists, forearms, upper arms and fingertips are KILLING ME! I am so shaky! ... I can't get Michaela's arms out of my head. Her upper body was amazing! I need to swing on that pole (or get my own) if my arms can look like that!"

"Not only are my legs STILL trembling, but I am sore in every section of my arms!"

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Video of the Week

Minus the striptease, The Simpsons is a modern day burlesque. Its sketches lampoon social attitudes. It's a ribald, campy, saucy satire chock full of double entendres. So in honor of the show's big-screen debut, we bring you the Emmy-winning song in which Homer and Bart attempt to save the town burlesque house.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lindsay Mugs For the Camera

After a stint in rehab, Lindsay Lohan messed up. She ended up posing for this mugshot this morning. The sometimes red-head's latest movie, I Know Who Killed Me, in which Lohan plays a stripper, opens this Friday. She told The Daily Mail, “I've been in pole dancing lessons, every day for four hours. I have bruises all over."

Here's the trailer for the flick, which offers a tease of Lohan's dancing skills.

Burlesque 101

The music thumps and you peel off an elbow-length glove. It picks up and you give the crowd a little shimmy. Finally, down to your pasties and g-string you give a little bounce and twirl your tassels. Yes. YOU. Come on, admit it, you've always wanted to learn the art of the bump 'n' grind.

Burlesque classses and seminars around the country let you get your glitter on with help from the pros. For an intensive workshop Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque and Jo Boobs' School of Burlesque have teamed up to offer a Summer Weekend Burlesque Retreat. From August 23-26 you can learn about the history of burlesque as well as performance skills like the burlesque walk, developing a stage persona, and, of course, tassel twirling. Can't make it to Arlington, Washington for the retreat? Here are a few other spots offering classes.

In New York Jo Boobs regularly offers workshops including a Master Class at Coney Island.

Lux LaCroix teaches a five-week class called Bump & Grind 101 in the Los Angeles area.

In Montreal Velma Candyass teaches a fun-filled workshop.

In San Francisco Betty Bombshell runs several burlesque dance classes per week, plus special workshops including Pinup Posing, Pastie Making and Twirling and Corset Making.

Kitty Victorian offers a burlesque workshop in Washington, DC.

In London the Ministry of Burlesque offers Burlesque for Beginners, Boylesque and more.

In Chicago Michelle L'Amour teaches two levels of burlesque, performance-based classes.

The Candy Pitch gave burly a twirl, but this week we take our first pole-dancing lesson. Stay tuned for a report. Know of other classes? Leave 'em in the comments or e-mail me at kellydinardo AT gmail DOT com. I'll add 'em in throughout the day.

Monday, July 23, 2007

All the News That's Fit To Strip

Margaret Cho gets saucy with The Sensuous Woman, a burlesque-inspired variety show. Cho told Playbill, "The Sensuous Woman is an evening of comedy, dance and music celebrating women's bodies. I have suffered from eating disorders and a horrendously distorted body image for my entire life, and I think the biggest reason is a lack of images of real women's bodies. Where are they? We don't see them in movies, on TV, in magazines. Instead, we are force-fed a steady diet of unattainable ideals, a tyranny of slenderness and youth, goals we can't even aspire to, they are so far out of reach. When we see dancers who enjoy their bodies, who are sexy and having fun, it gives us permission to enjoy our bodies and to enjoy ourselves in the process. We are presented with a new ideal, not one that is about dieting ourselves down to a smaller size, but expanding our notion of what is beautiful and to allow ourselves to be included there too."

In other news ...

Julie Atlas Muz shares her New York Diet.

SexTV's fall lineup includes Bump & Grind: The Making Of A Burlesque Diva, a documentary that follows four burlesque dancers to the Miss Exotic World competition.

Trixie Little makes a splash with water ballet.

Tessa Thompson shimmies into Make It Happen.

Dita Von Teese loves Madonna and porn.

Will DC's strip clubs start bumpin' underground?

Playboy reports Elvira Mistress of the Dark returns to TV this fall to put “the boob back into the boob tube.”

Mr. Skin bares the cinematic nude scenes for you.

E!'s favorite "bald dingbat" does a beachy striptease. So does a "wild-child in recovery."

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Candy Gram: Diamond Minx

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 Vancouver's Diamond Minx.

What is your hometown?
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
I've been dancing since I was two and a half, I have been a professional performer for 12 years - doing Stilts and Fire mostly. I became aware of burlesque about 10 years ago and thought "hmm... that looks like fun!" and finally got into it about three years ago. Dancing is just about as important as breathing in my books!

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
Considering I have an Ebay store where I sell pasties, that varies from day to day! Shameless self promotion!

I wear the rhinestone pasties I made quite a lot (I'm always dripping in bling ... hence my name), but have about six pairs for different burlettas, including a PVC pair with chain tassels.

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
Almost Blue. It's a lovely jazz ballad, originally written by Elvis Costello. The version I have is sung by Gwen Stefani and I absolutely love it!
When You've Got It, Flaunt It from the 2001 Broadway Album of The Producers.
Feeling Good by Michael Buble. I like vintage inspired contemporary songs.

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
Rhinestones, Feathers, and Peroxide!

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
My mother! She was a radio singer and actress in the Canadian Maritimes in the 1940's and 1950's, and I'm a chip off the old block. Although she says i'm much more confident than she ever was -- usually while she laughs and shakes her head. I got to perform for her recently, and she's very proud of me.

Funny story. I was showing her the pictures of my performance at the Beauty Bar for the Miss Exotic World opening gala, and had modified the costume from the last time she'd seen images of it (it's skimpier). She's not fazed by pictures of pulchritudinous ladies, but I guess a picture of her daughter in pasties, a g-string and feathers was a bit of a shock. She called me a couple days later to ask if I could bring the pictures over again, because "I didn't look up as far as your head to see what your headdress looked like!"

Who is your favorite burly queen?
Ooh, that's a tough one. Satan's Angel. What great stage presence! And Sally Rand. She truly transcended burlesque into pure beauty.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
I can only pick one?!?!? Darling I brought three suitcases to MEW and that was roughing it!!! I'm very fickle with my clothing, and hate being seen in the same thing too often. Right now one of my faves is a vintage early 1950's green and blue brocade evening gown that had been worn by my mum.

What's the last movie you saw?
Chronicles of Narnia on DVD

What's on your must-see-TV list?
Not much at the moment.

What book is on your nightstand?
I'm reading two books right now - Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (an old favorite), and Deception Point by Dan Brown.

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Egypt. It's been my dream for years to make it there.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
I would want to be able to read and influence peoples' thoughts. I'm a very "what you see is what you get" girl and nothing perplexes me more than a person being two-faced, so I'd love to be able to know when it's happening and be able to perhaps re-direct that person's motives.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Mad" About Burlesque

Tonight AMC premieres its new show about the smoky, saucy world of advertising executives in the Sixties -- Mad Men. The show's garnered lots of buzz, but there's another reason to tune in -- Miss Ruby Valentine. The burlesque dancer makes a brief appearance in the show, performing at a NY nightclub. Catch a glimpse of the siren in the trailer.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Video of the Week

The Candy Pitch typically celebrates hump day with a video. News from Playboy gives us an excuse for an extra dose today: Amber Lee Ettinger, more popularly known as Obama Girl, will appear in the October issue. Wonder if she'll strip or just tease?

UPDATE: Playboy tells us Ettinger will appear as the "Babe of the Month." It's a non-nude, bikini shot.

Here's the video that made her famous and the follow up where she takes on Giuliani girl.

Video of the Week

No spoiler alerts here, but a different kind of tease in honor of all the Pottermania.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Burlypedia: Ballyhoo

Today's burlypedia is brought to you by the apologetic Senator Vitter, his Bobbitt-threatening wife and the DC Madam because apparently the culture wars just aren't the same.

In burlesque, the ballyhoo was the spiel used to advertise the show by the pitchman outside the theater. The word has come to mean blatant advertising or a clamour or outcry. According to Wikipedia, "The term Ballyhoo is used to indicate that one is using any means necessary to inflate an object or idea to a status to which it does not rise."

Monday, July 16, 2007

All the News That's Fit To Strip

Apparently writer Duane Adler is working on a dance trifecta. After bringing us Save the Last Dance and Step Up he scores his hat trick with Make It Happen, a film about a small-town girl who moves to Chicago with dreams of entering the Chicago School of Dance but winds up shimmying through a burlesque club. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who most recently starred in Live Free or Die Hard, told Trailer Park:

"I feel like a lot of the dance movies that have come out in the last 10 years, not all, but some of them have been airy, sweet and simple. I’m just hoping to bring a more realistic edge to the character and show the more real-life…things that happen when you’re trying to become a dancer ... I just want to show the less sweet side to it even though it will be a classic dance movie, a feel good girl movie. But I think we give it a little more interesting edge to it as well. It’s a challenge I’m taking on and I’ll see whether I can run with it."

Winstead, by the way, is No. 92 on Maxim's Hot List.

In other news:

According to the Daily Briefing Ohio Dem Chair Chris Redfern called off a meeting because Dems were "distracted" by a local "spat" involving flashing strippers on a golf course.

Are striptease-inspired classes "a healthy reawakening of the seductress innate in every female" OR "further evidence of the ... 'stripperization' of American girls and women."

Broadway's Legally Blonde director and choreogrpaher Jerry Mitchell's career "took a major turn when he performed a striptease at the gay bar Splash for the AIDS charity Broadway Cares."

A Vermont town "famous for its strip-and-let-strip attitude" is considering banning public nudity.

Learn how to make a corset-style t-shirt.

Forget Britney and Top 40 sounds, burlesque rocks out to punk.

Fleshbot fills us in on good news for Scottsdale City residents and bad news for Vegas.

Missy Malone, one of Scotland's top burlesque dancers, is all about "secrets and teasing."

The world's best candy bars? Try this Candy Barr.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Candy Gram: The Titillation Twins

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 Seattle's Elke and Audra, the Titillation Twins, who are big fans of this week's scandalicious siren.

What is your hometown?
Laurel, Maryland

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
Audra: In 1998 I first heard about the Shim Shamettes in New Orleans while I was living there and they have since gone on to become the Atomic Bombshells. I had an audition set up with them back then but moved before I could meet with them. Now, in 2005 I finally started doing my own burlesque performing with Divinitease here in Seattle
Elke: I joined her about a year later when I moved up from LA. We've both been performing in a variety of capacities our whole lives though and are really happy to be together again and performing after living apart for about 7 years.

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
Audra: We actually don't own too many because we like to use alternatives to spice things up whenever we can.
Elke: Black electrical tape has been a big hit!
Audra: Also stickers, Christmas bows and those bra petals with rhinestones glued on!

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
Elke: Feel Like Breakin' Up Somebody's Home by Etta James. We sing in all our numbers and it's such a sexy, powerful song I love performing it.
Audra: I love singing Hanky Panky and Material Girl both by Madonna. We grew up listening to her stuff in the '80's and we like to add a modern edge to the retro in our act.

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
Audra: Hairbrush! Even though we wear wigs. We've forgotten one several times and that always causes problems. Double-sided tape (a great alternative to spirit gum) gotta keep the pasties under control!
Elke: And the most commonly loved burlesque item...glitter. I'm definitely in it for the love of glitter when it comes down to it!

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
Audra: Strangely enough, our mom. She always taught us to be proud of our bodies, not ashamed and to be ok with who we are as people. Can you tell she was a hippie?

Who is your favorite burly queen?
Elke & Audra: Blaze Starr!!
Audra: We're from Maryland and have spent a lot of time in the South so we have a particular affinity for those areas and the things connected to them.
Elke: Also, we read her biography when we were 13 or 14 and thought she was the coolest person and what a great career!

What is your favorite item of clothing?
Audra: Black silk & lace half skirts that have garter attachments and a thong back.
Elke: It shows off the especially good part of our figures!

What's the last movie you saw?
Elke: I saw Stranger than Fiction with Will Ferrell, Maggie Gylenhall and Emma Thompson and I loved it so much that I told Audra she had to see it too.
Audra: I loved it too, it was completely different from what the previews lead you to believe but in an incredible way.

What's on your must-see-TV list?
Elke: I love pretty much all the HBO shows, definitely big on Entourage after having lived in LA for 5 years. Also I'm addicted to the Travel Channel. Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations is a must see!"

What book is on your nightstand?
Audra: American Gods by Neil Gaman, best book ever.

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Elke & Audra: Amsterdam!
Elke: Especially if we could perform while we were there.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
Audra: It would have to be reading people's minds.
Elke: Yeah, then we would always know what the audience wanted!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Maxim-um Hotness

In a careful study of Maxim's Hot 100 list I realize several of the sirens have a sizzling striptease connection. Sure, sometimes it's just a subtle tie to the strip -- Hottie No. 56, Michele Merkin's name says it all. But several have turned up the heat with a shimmy of their pasties or a twirl around a pole. Here's how the list stacks up in the world of burlesque.

Kim Kardashian Hottie No. 97 purrs as the latest Pussycat Doll.

Hometown Hottie No. 84 Kerry strips online.

She's recreated Lili St. Cyr's bubble bath routine, danced in a champagne glass and ridden a life-size lipstick, but more importantly Hottie No. 82 Dita Von Teese teased burlesque out into the mainstream again.

Carmen Electra, Hottie No. 28, performed with the Pussycat Dolls and has taught plenty of women the art of the lap dance through her cardio striptease workouts.

You can't get Don't Cha out of your head and that's gotta make Hottie No. 22 Nicole Scherzinger smile. And while Nicole's Pussycat Doll days seem to be over, I'm betting she'll still be bumpin' and grindin' through her videos.

Hottie No. 19 Cameron Diaz and No. 9 Eva Longoria each took a spin as a guest with the Pussycat Dolls. And Diaz recreated Dita Von Teese's burlesque routine in Charlie's Angels.

As Maxim put it Hottie No. 6 Ali Larter is "spectacular as Niki Sanders, the Webcam tease with a superhuman alter ego on Heroes."

Perched atop the Hot List is Lindsay Lohan, who stars as a stripper in her latest movie I Know Who Killed Me, went through vigorous training for the role. The fiery red-head told The Daily Mail, “I've been in pole dancing lessons, every day for four hours. I have bruises all over.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Video of the Week

Everyone -- even Larry Flynt -- is chattering about Senator Vitter's connection to the DC Madam and wondering who else will show up on Deborah Jeane Palfrey's phone list. A New Orleans madam told the AP, "It wasn't all about dirty, raunchy, crazy sex." Since when?

As the story gets as hot and steamy as the weather, we honor a few of yesterday's scandalicious couples with the video of the week, which features two of the burlesque babes matched up with politicos.

Want more? Tempest Storm was last week's video star.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Politico Passions

Yesterday, the DC Madam posted her phone records online and revealed that Senator David Vitter was among her clients. So far, this sex scandal lacks the steamy, tawdry details of previous political debauchery. It did get me thinking about the tassel-twirling interests of past politicians.

Margie Hart, a 1930s burlesque queen known for her fast, hot dance routines, married L.A. Councilman John Ferraro.
Scandal Factor: One Tassel. The two married in the Seventies, long after Margie had retired. She'd separated herself from the burlesque world and if the marriage raised eyebrows it was only privately.

In her autobiography The Lady is a Vamp Tempest Storm claimed to have had an affair with JFK.
Scandal Factor: Two Tassels. After being linked with the century's top sex symbol, a buxom, red-headed burlesque dancer hardly seems scandalicious.

In the late Fifties, Blaze Starr began a long-term affair with Louisiana Governor Earl Long. The affair lasted until his death. It was rumored that Long left her $50,000 in his will, which Starr refused to accept. But in 1989, Paul Newman and Lolita Davidovich starred in Blaze, a film about the Starr-Long affair and Blaze made a cameo appearance.
Scandal Factor: Four Tassels. When an Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor and director stars in a movie about your affair, you know it's steamy.

In the Seventies, Arkansas Congressman Wilbur Mills was caught in his car with a stripper known as Fanne Foxe, the "Argentine Firecracker." She lept from the car and jumped into the Tidal Basin. He acknowledged his alcoholism and sought treatment. Despite the scandal he was re-elected, but then drunkenly staggered onstage at a Boston strip club where Foxe was performing. Mills then stepped down as chair of the Ways and Means Committee and did not seek re-election. Foxe began performing as "The Tidal Basin Bombshell."
Scandal Factor: Three Tassels. From controlling the government spending to being tawdry tittle-tattle definitely qualifies as sordid.

Monday, July 9, 2007

All the News That's Fit To Strip

The Daily Bulletin looks at how Dixie Evans went from precocious child performing at family functions to pin-up girl to "Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque" to grand dame of the Burlesque Hall of Fame. And in a separate piece the paper explores burlesque's Renaissance.

Dita Von Teese loves the word stripper.

Patti Lupone and Arthur Laurents kiss and make up so Patti can take on Gypsy's Mamma Rose.

The newest Pussycat Doll Kim Kardashian opens Washington D.C.'s nightclub Ibzia.

In London, cabaret clubs pop up on the heels of burlesque.

Another burlesque blog joins the Interwebs and kicks it off with a definition of burlyq.

The Miss Exotic World pageant is still earning buzz. And check out pix from Don Spiro.

In Washington D.C., the new restaurant Proof gives a nod to burlesque in the bathrooms.

One of my favorite bloggers is having hook problems. Any regular corset wearers have a solution?

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Candy Gram: Scratch

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 Scratch who performs as the M.C. of The Boston Babydolls.

What's your hometown?
Born and raised in New York City; live and perform in Boston.

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
I was in my first show (a light opera) when I was seven.

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
None ... but I own six fedoras.

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
I'm going to jumble that up. My favorite song that The Boston Babydolls perform to (as a group) is Save My Soul by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. It's a rich, dark, tribute to New Orleans. My theme music is The Beast as performed by Milt Buckner.

It's hard for me to say what my favorite Boston Babydoll piece is; it varies from show to show. Betty Blaize's "Geek Love" routine to Night Train is hysterical; Dominique Immora does a routine to In These Shoes by Kirsty MacColl whichis amazing; Miss Mina's Mackie Messer evokes this incredible rathskeller vibe (it'sMack the Knife in German).

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
A decent tailor, the other members of The Boston Babydolls, and, you, our wonderful audience.

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
I learned to tell stories from Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer prize winning author and playwright. He was my high school English teacher and I adore him to this day.

Who is your favorite burly queen?
I'll give you my favorite burly court, instead: Billy Minsky and his brothers.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
My custom made red zoot suit.

What's the last movie you saw?
Ocean's 13.

What's on your must-see-TV list?
I don't watch a lot, but Jericho (so, so good) and Top Chef (I love to cook).

What book is on your nightstand?
The Best Burlesque Sketches: As Adapted for Sugar Babies and Other Entertainments by Ralph Allen and a stack of comic books.

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
New York City ... in 1928.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
Time travel, baby. I'd love to visit the golden age of burlesque instead of just re-creating it!

Photo courtesy of Ama Lea Imagery

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Bikini and the Tease

Today the bikini turns 61. As Slate reveals the bathing suit made an international splash, but was considered too risque for most Americans. It wasn't until the early Sixties that the bikini became popular at American pools.

Then another fashion designer pushed bareness even further with a topless bathing suit -- Rudi Gernreich’s monokini, a bathing suit bottom held up by thin suspender-like straps that ran between the breasts. In June 1964, exotic dancer Carol Doda donned the monokini for her performance at San Francisco’s Condor Club and transformed striptease into topless dancing. Doda, who started and ended her routine in the bathing suit, never undressed. She simply presented nakedness without any pretense or story and without any concealment or peek-a-boo beforehand. It was a huge hit; lines for Doda’s show stretched down the block and topless bars popped up around the country.

Doda’s brand of dancing began the move from striptease to stripping. Eventually, the changes gave rise to gentleman’s clubs, lap dancing, pole dancing, and strip joints as we know them today. “In one evening, the formula that had defined the striptease for half a century became irrelevant,” wrote Rachel Shteir in Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show.

Just a little something to think about next time you pull on your bikini and head to the beach.

While we're celebrating birthdays today, pop over to Metrocurean and wish our pal a happy blogiversary.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Betty Crocker vs. Centerfold

This morning, Cynthia Cotts got me thinking about Paris Hilton. The Bloomberg reporter reviewed Wendy Shalit's book Girls Gone Mild and pointed out that Shalit believes Paris' post-arrest makeover -- from near-naked vixen writhing atop a car to mommy-needing, innocent-looking school-girl -- is "further proof of her contention that modest women triumph over sluts." We've come along way baby, but apparently there are still just two categories of women: Madonna and Whore.

Shalit, who writes that she was a virgin when she married, suggests women gain attention by baking pies rather than flashing 'em. But Cotts makes a great point -- Shalit "never answers the big question: After saving up her virginity for all those years, how's her sex life?"

Maybe Shalit's inner Betty Crocker knows how to heat things up outside of the kitchen, but it seems to me that both Shalit and Paris could take a lesson from burlesque. Paris, honey, remember the tease. And Wendy, don't forget the strip.

Monday, July 2, 2007

All the News That's Fit To Strip

Dita Von Teese rode a giant, bucking lipstick as she tossed her sequinned cowgirl hat in the air and peeled off her costume during her striptease at the Mac Viva Glam party in London last week. People's Off the Rack blog gives the pink-crystaled scoop on what Dita was wearing. In more Dita news ...

Who's gotta a stopwatch? Dita Von Teese calls herself the "Houdini of burlesque" because of the speed with which she can strip.

Sting & Bowie are under pressure from some about their plans to open a 40 Deuce in NY.

Scratch of the Boston Babydolls explains the difference between stripping and burlesque.

Playboy talks to a former stripper who buys lap dances in order to preach the word of God to girls still working in the clubs.

One blogger profiles Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls

The Blog Prince gives a quick review of the Palace of Wonders anniversary show, which included performances by Trixie Little and a new take on chocolate-covered strawberries.

Impact Theatre celebrates a "Season of Sin."

Female foodies strip off the chef's whites, because according to Simon Doonan, "Everyone has to have a little bit of hootchy."

A fashion trend for men: flashing a little ankle with the manpri. Is it a do or don't?