Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

All The News That's Fit To Strip

Cam Gigandet of Twilight fame is slated to play the love interest of Christina Aguilera in her first movie, Burlesque. He says:

"It's about a girl from the Midwest who moves out to Los Angeles to pursue her career as a singer. Obviously, it's Christina Aguilera, so she has an amazing voice. She finds a club run by Cher, a burlesque club. And she takes it to a whole new level and, of course, meets me—the love of her life."

In other news...

The New York Burlesque Festival kicks off this week. This festival is celebrating its seventh year with four nights of dazzling burlesque. Golden Pastie awards for categories such as "Hottest Cougar," "Most Classic" and "The Biggest Schlep in Burlesque" will be presented on Sunday, Oct. 4 at the Possion Rouge in NYC.

The latest issue of Bachelor Pad Magazine celebrating "Babes, Booze and Burly-Q," is now available and it features a column from burlesque dancer, Penny Starr Jr. and pin ups of Austin-based performer, Ruby Joule.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Candy Gram: Jade Pearl

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 Tanya Cheex a line at t.cheex AT gmail DOT com. Today, say hello Jade Pearl.

What is your hometown?
League City. TX but now I'm settled into the Dallas area.

How long have you been interested in burlesque/performing?
I have been interested in performing since I was 3. I eventually received my Bachelors in Dance. As for burlesque, I've been interested in that since I saw Cabaret at the ripe old age of 10. Liza Minelli was too sexy to deny.

How many pairs of pasties do you own?
I have one pair of ruby red show pasties complete with nipple tassels and a bunch that are rejects from when I went on a pastie-making binge. If we count those, then I own “a lot.”

What are your three favorite songs to perform to?
I love to perform to Big Spender, Show Off, and Sing, Sing, Sing!

What three items could you not live without as a performer?
I couldn't live without false eyelashes with corresponding glue, blush, and super waterproof eyeliner.

Who had the biggest influence on your career?
Bob Fosse definitely inspired me to explore the more sensual side of dance. After seeing many of his movies including Cabaret and All That Jazz, I wanted to grow up and be Liza Minelli or Ann Reinking.

Who is your favorite burly queen?
My favorite old school burly queen is definitely Gypsy Rose Lee. I was even in Gypsy, the musical, when I was a kid. I was one of Baby June's newsboys. I guess I got the burly bug at a young age. My favorite neo-burly queen is probably Dita von Teese. You just can't beat her innate charm.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
I love my fishnets, all of them. I don't care if that's cheating. If I had to absolutely pick a pair, I love my tan fishnets because combined with my tan heels, they make my legs look a lot longer than they really are.

What’s the last movie you saw?
Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix. As of right now, I'm preparing for the Half Blood Prince to come out.

What’s on your must-see-TV list?
Well, I don't actually watch TV in real time, but the shows that I am addicted to right now are South Park, True Blood, and The Supersizers, which is a British food history show.

What book is on your nightstand?
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I'm slowly trying to read all the books on the BBC's The Big Read.

If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Does everywhere count as an answer? No? Alright. I would probably visit India because I love the food and the culture. Where else can you find a Wonder of the World dedicated to someone's wife? Exactly.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you want? Why?
Teleport. Hands down. Dallas and Houston traffic have destroyed me. All I want to do is get from point A to B. Then I can spend more time having fun instead of always in transit.

Satisfy your appetite for more Candy Grams: Kitten DeVille, Miss C, Immodesty Blaize, Nasty Canasta, Vivienne Vermuth, Scarlett James, Tura Santana, Tatah DuJour, Susie Caboose, Gigi La Femme, 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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

All The News That's Fit To Strip

Rita Alexander the Oyster Girl returned to her home city for the New Orleans Burlesque Festival two weeks ago to participate as a panelist and judge, but she needed a little convincing from producer Rick Delaup. She said:

"The burlesque [revival], I was like, 'Where is this going to go? Is this going to end up cheap, or tawdry, or insane?' I didn't really trust it. ... Ricky was doing the panel discussion for Exotic World, and of course when he came to Vegas, he says, 'Please let me take you to lunch.' For two years he did it, and the second year I was almost feeding him questions to ask [the panelists]. It was like we were a little team there. He [had] this dream of this thing that he's doing, and I said, 'Well Ricky, if you ever get that on, I will come, I will participate.' And damn, he got it on! I made a promise."

In other news...

Montreal launched is inaugural Burlesque Festival this past weekend. Headliners included Michelle L'amour, Dirty Martini, Roxi Dlite, and the current Reigning Queen of Burlesque, Kalani Kokonuts.

The Associated Press explores the implications of modern women performing burlesque in a recent article that focuses on the Chicago scene.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Revealing Images: The Va Va Voom Room

In Revealing Images, photographer Don Spiro dishes up sweet photographic treats and the stories behind them. Today, Don aims his lens at 2008's Miss Exotic World The Va Va Voom Room.

I did the camera work and stills for Augusta’s documentary, “The Velvet Hammer Burlesque.” In addition to spending years with the seminal Los Angeles troupe, I got to know the New York contingent, regular performers at Miss Astrid’s “Va Va Voom Room.” We traveled to New York to shoot interviews and performances at Fez, the Va Va Voom Room’s venue, with Velvet Hammer alumnae Kate Valentine (aka Miss Astrid), Dirty Martini, The World Famous *BOB*, and Julie Atlas Muz. I shot stills of each but due to scheduling *BOB* had to leave before early so I shot group shots with the other three.

We traveled light, a crew of Augusta and myself, so that meant only as much equipment as we could both carry: A video camera with microphones and tripod, a still camera with film, and lighting gear. I am a lighting technician in the film industry so I’m familiar with what equipment is most efficient, and I rented a set of Dedo lights as soon as we hit the city. They are compact but extremely powerful and use little electricity, which made them perfect for the job: shooting video in a dark club with sketchy circuit breakers.

The three wore the signature matching pink Velvet Hammer corsets, designed for the troupe by Sue Nice. They posed in front of Fez’s red velvet stage curtain and I blasted one Dedo at full power right from the front by the camera, flooding the light as wide as I could. Shooting 400 ASA color film with my Nikon, I had the lens wide open. I then put Dedos on either side of the stage as far apart as I could, and spotted them down to rake the curtains and edge light the performers, adding texture so the scene wouldn’t be flat. Kate, Dirty and Julie fooled around, playing to the camera and falling into natural yet beautiful compositions that only professional dancers seem to master (All three have years of classical training between them).

When I got back to LA I developed the film. Despite being protected in travel the X-ray machine had done some damage. This was right after 2001 so I don’t know if someone had taken the film out to x-ray it or what happened, but there were faint, green, grainy zig-zag patterns all over the roll. (Ever since, I get the film processed before I travel.) I really liked the images I got, and hated to think they were destroyed.

I don’t like to retouch, but this was an emergency. I had an early version of Photoshop and started messing with some scans of my favorite images. Directly from the negative the photos look terrible in the spots with the zig-zag, but the rest of the image look pristine. I was able to adjust, smooth, blur, and cut and paste in every which way to reduce the green and the grain, eventually making the images useable, at least at a lower resolution. I was very happy with the final result. Augusta used it to promote her documentary, “The Velvet Hammer Burlesque” ( and Sue Nice even used it to promote her corsetry (

~Don Spiro