Thursday, December 09, 2004

Tease Please: a guide to London burlesque

The word burlesque comes from the latin burlare- to laugh at. In the mid-nineteenth century burlesque meant the comedies that the lower classes used to put on to parody the upper classes, with the female actresses flaunting their bodies in tights to outrage Victorian society. Over time, it evolved into today’s defintion of striptease, with the girls showing more and more skin to keep pulling the punters in. Burlesque was banned in New York in the late ‘30s, the advent of television in the ‘50s then emptied the rest of the burlesque theatres around the country into their living rooms to be bewitched by their new TV sets. The revival was kickstarted in the 80s, when Dixie Evans, who was known as the Marilyn Monroe of burlesque in its heyday, collected together Jayne Mansfield’s heart-shaped couch along with Gypsy Rose Lee’s glove collection and started the Exotic World museum on Route 66, between LA and Las Vegas. Hollywood turned the spotlight on burlesque with Moulin Rouge and its Lady Marmalade video. The trend trickled over to London from America about two years with the opening of The Whoopee Club. Now, in today’s world of Abi Titmuss and Zoo magazine, burlesque suddenly feels fresh and inspiring again. It’s a strip club without silicon, with curvy body shapes. The boys get all the titillation of seeing a nearly nudie lady and the girls feel comfortable and love the glamour. Here’s our guide to the top ten burlesque nights in London. Just remember, the unspoken rule is that the audience is just as interesting to look at as the performers, so dress up. And if your going to try and twirl your nipple tassles, the trick is not to look down.


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November 5, 2005 at 7:24 PM  

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