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Leigh Witchel

Gia Kourlas on Burlesque and the New Vaudeville in NYC

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http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/25/arts/dan...nce/25KOUR.html

I admit a bias here; I know a lot of people connected with this movement. Kourlas' article is interesting (and one of a series of recent ones in the Times, Voice and other papers)

Burlesque is not going to be to everyone's taste, but having watched what's going on there for several years (and seeing burlesque and non-burlesque performances by Ms. Muz, Dirty Martini and others) the creative energy and exuberance of what's happening in the vaudeville scene is impressive. We could use a breath of it in ballet again. These aren't just strippers; they all have strong dance training credentials, but almost like squatters, they found a near-abandoned form and decided to move in and set up house.

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While the new burlesque is just a rumor out here in the heartland, one has been aware of it.

From the article--one from Dirty Martini: "I liked burlesque because it was this weird, underground thing..."

She probably knows a lot more about the history of her art form than do I and sometimes quotes are not contextual, but my understanding is that burlesque was, at least during post World War II period and into the 50s, more a mainstream form of entertainment she would indicate. Earlier than that might have been even more so--Sally Rand and her bubble dance at the Worlds Fair in Chicago in 1933, for example.

Also from the article--from Kate Valentine: "I've been the producer of a show for five years; that I can still fill a room and pay people to do it is good. "

A wonderful point and one very much worth making. The New Burlesque has enough staying power (or legs, if you will) to allow someone to be creative, true to her muse and also to make enough money doing it to continue.

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We didn't lose vaudeville totally, either. Well within the memories of many of our posters is the "Ed Sullivan Show" and "Hollywood Palace" and others which were variety shows in the vaudeville tradition, and did the things that vaudeville did. Sometimes you might have performing chimps, followed immediately by a "Class Act" which might have been the equivalent of Paderewski or Pavlova! It's my opinion that there's still an audience for this kind of show.

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Originally posted by Mel Johnson

Well within the memories of many of our posters is the "Ed Sullivan Show" and "Hollywood Palace"

The plate spinner followed by Senor Wences followed by Tebaldi and Tucker in the first act duet from "La Boheme".

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