Saturday, July 6, 2013
Strip Strip Hooray: My Review
Illustration by David Downton
I spent Friday June 28th in the beautiful city of San Francisco with one of my best gal pal's. After a 3 hour marathon shop for fabulous Vintage we went to the Fillmore to see the Variety show: Strip Strip Hooray! Featuring Burlesque beauty and Style Maven Dita Von Teese.
I was not sure what to expect as it was my first show. I have to say it was indeed a show full of variety and a real feast for the eyes.
First a quick history lesson about Burlesque:
"Bon Ton Burlesquers - 365 days ahead of them all." Poster of U.S. burlesque show, 1898, showing a woman in outfit with low neckline and short skirts holding a number of upper-class men "On the string". Color lithograph (wiki)
Victorian Burlesque: "Victorian burlesque, sometimes known as "travesty" or "extravaganza",was popular in London theatres between the 1830s and the 1890s. It took the form of musical theatre parody in which a well-known opera, play or ballet was adapted into a broad comic play, usually a musical play, often risqué in style, mocking the theatrical and musical conventions and styles of the original work, and quoting or pastiching text or music from the original work." (wiki)
American Burlesque: American burlesque shows were simply a version of Victorian Burlesque, in the beginning. The transition from the Victorian version to the strip tease was gradual. By the 1930's the burlesque shows would have up to 6 strippers, an MC and comic acts. There were also 'strip stars' like Gypsy Rose Lee and famous names who graced the burlesque stage in a comedic capacity early in their careers like Mae West, Abbot and Costello, Sophie Tucker and Red Skelton.
Where does Dita come in? She started this resurgence of Burlesque in 1992 (Neo-Burlesque). Since then she has been the driving force behind the "Neo-Burlesque" movement, the face of Cointreau, a muse of the worlds top fashion/shoe designers and a designer in her own right. She has several products from books, lingerie, perfume and much more. Visit her website
What I love about Dita is that she seems to be an authentic artist. There is no "team" driving her image, she's got her Louboutin clad foot on the gas with respect to her hair,makeup, and personal styling. There is no glam squad or stylist, she does it all on her own. No one does GLAMOUR like Dita anymore, which I simply ADORE.
People have a strong reaction to Dita, one way or the other. I went to the show with high expectations and they were actually exceeded. The venue (Fillmore, SF) was a perfect setting for this show. The stage was GORGEOUS draped in cobalt Velvet curtains and the ceilings dripping with crystal chandeliers.
Our view of the stage
The host for the variety show is NYC based entertainer MC Murry Hill who was the evening's king of wit and ad lib. A hilarious guide through the pasty parade.
The cast included:
Miss Dirty Martini , a voluptuous vixen who rocked the stage from NYC and boy can she twirl her tassels. Prince Poppycock is a powdered rock-operatic dandy who had a fabulous wig,
Catherine D'Lish in her sassy spiderweb
Lada Nikolska the ravishing Russian rocked the stage on a rouge velvet lip couch.
A studly gent named 'Romeo' who ended up in a fedora and fishnets.
The lil Selene Luna who at 3'10" is a RockNRoll pasty powerhouse.
Dita's Vontourage(Erica Holland & Donna Hood)- two blond babes attending to Dita and her discarded wardrobe during her acts.
Last but not least the grande dame of Burlesque, DVT.
I LOVED the costumes, props and acts. It is sincerely hard to pick a favourite but I loved the Bird Cage act with the feathered fan dance and the Asian inspired "Opium Den" acts the best. Each act was amazing with something that would appeal to every taste.
Her acts are each set to amazing music, new takes on old sexy favourites including one song Dita recorded/performed which was a May West ditty for her famous Martini Glass routine.
It was a true variety show in all senses of the word. I felt transported back in time too, back to the days of feathers and fishnets, whiskey, jazz and a good ole fashioned strip tease, well, strip Teese in this case. I was not surprised to see the audience was primarily made up of women, stylish ones. I chuckled to think of what a difference time has made, the old burlesque shows from days gone by where men were the ONLY occupants of shows 'like these'. Maybe these women were there to soak up the overall glitz and glamour that is missing in our society? or to be inspired to slap on the jeweled pasties and give the tassels a whirl? or they came out simply to be entertained. Regardless of the reason they came, I sure left inspired and excited to take my husband to the next show.
Bravo Dita, for not only making women proud to showcase their sexuality, regardless of their size or shape but for keeping what was fabulous from our cultures past, current and present.
Strip Strip Hooray!!!
Dita & I post show (Thanks to the House of Kat Swank for the Fab Feathers)
See the show in CHICAGO JULY 11-13