Top weekly burlesque shows
Tue Jan 18 2011
Brian Newman After Dark and the Sweets Shop
Experience "old New York" nightclub entertainment with dinner and a show at Duane Park. Fridays are hosted by jazz trumpeter (and Lady Gaga chum) Brian Newman; the show combines burlesque with live music and often draws celebrity guests. On Saturdays, chanteuse Melody Sweets and her band, the Candy Shop Boys, perform burlesque, vaudeville and cabaret in the rococo-style dining room. Duane Park, 157 Duane St between Hudson St and West Broadway (212-732-5555, duaneparknyc.com). Fri 10:30pm; Sat 8, 10:30pm. $60 (includes dinner).
This free show is a combination burlesque revue and dance party, with Trash's DJ Jess in charge of the ones and twos. Hosts Runaround Sue and Scooter Pie, of the Sugar Shack Burlesque troupe (sugarshackburlesque.com), present sets at 10 and 11pm; each week features a special guest, such as Ginger Brown, Melody Sweets or Darlinda Just Darlinda. The Delancey, 168 Delancey St between Attorney and Clinton Sts (212-254-9920, thedelancey.com). Wed 9:30pm; free.
Bonnie Dunn, the MC-chanteuse behind this burlesque-circuit stalwart, presides over a lively mix of stand-up, magic, acrobatics and high-concept strip. The city's longest-running girlie revue, Le Scandal remains one of the most accessible shows for burlesque first-timers; unfortunately, this makes it popular with bachelor and bachelorette groups as well. Laurie Beechman Theatre (at the West Bank Caf), 407 W 42nd St between Ninth and Tenth Aves (212-868-4444, lescandal.com). Sat 10:30pm; $25 plus $15 minimum.
The '50s-pinup-inspired bote Nurse Bettie (named for the notorious Bettie Page) is a natural setting for burlesque performers, who appear there twice a week. The shows are produced by Honi Harlow and "Asian sexsation" Calamity Chang, and usually include six or seven acts, as well as preshow go-go dancers. Prepare to get up close and personal in the small, intimate bar space. Nurse Bettie, 106 Norfolk St between Delancey and Rivington Sts (917-434-9072, nursebettieles.com). Wed, Thu 10pm; free.
The Rhinestone Follies trio performs classic rather than neoburlesque, meaning its members favor the beautiful over the shocking, wear lots of feathers and rhinestones, and won't use post-1960s music in their act. Their bimonthly show combines Vegas-showgirl-style performances, special guests and circus sideshow acts—often courtesy of their host, who doubles as a magician. R Bar, 218 Bowery between Prince and Spring Sts (212-334-0484, rhinestonefollies.com). Every other Fri 8pm; $15, with password via Facebook group $10.
After extensive renovations, that longtime nexus of burlesque on the Lower East Side, the Slipper Room, is set to reopen in March (though you might want to check the website for verification when the time comes), with live shows almost every night of the week. 167 Orchard St at Stanton St (212-253-7246, slipperroom.com)