Scene spotlight: Take Back the ’80s Burlesque

Relive the decade that refuses to disappear at Take Back the ’80s Burlesque

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Photograph: Filip Wolak

Take Back the ’80s Burlesque

Ginger Twist, 29; burlesque performer, Westchester County
“I’m obsessed with the ’80s because I was born in ’84, and Madonna’s Blonde Ambition was my first concert. I was five. Others love it because it was a fun, free time when you could be really expressive. It was the first era where people were doing what they wanted, not what they should. And there was really bad-good fashion! The best of the best."

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Photograph: Filip Wolak

Take Back the ’80s Burlesque

Minnie d’Moocha, “child of the ’80s”; burlesque performer and producer; “Dirty Jerz”; left
“The ’80s was one of the last eras when pop icons were bigger than life. There is so much to draw on for inspiration. It’s a lot of fun, and I think people enjoy the fun.”

Francine “The Lucid Dream,” “forever 21”; burlesque producer and singer, East Village; right
“People love nostalgia. Those of us with a connection from our childhood are especially connected to the ’80s. There’s a huge cheese factor in that decade that’s right for burlesque. The burlesque resurgence started in the ’90s, so there’s nothing specifically ’80s about burlesque—but it’s fun to imagine what that would look like. Silly fun!”

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Take Back the ’80s Burlesque

BB Heart, age: “I stopped counting”; burlesque dancer and one-woman ensemble cast; Crown Heights, Brooklyn
“Wasn’t the ’80s the Me Generation? I think people are attracted to that because we’re really self-centered. I know I am. I loved all of the ’80s cartoons—Monchhichi, The Get Along Gang, Thundercats, Gummi Bears—and they were all on Saturday morning. Nothing is on Saturday mornings anymore.”

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Photograph: Filip Wolak

Take Back the ’80s Burlesque

Anja Keister, 29; burlesque performer; Crown Heights, Brooklyn
“I think people are into the ’80s because everyone loves nostalgia, and a lot of people born in the ’80s are in charge of media now. And the ’80s were when technology grew by leaps and bounds. We’re so obsessed with technology because we’ve continued that streak ever since. I love that rap and R&B got mainstream attention, and it was also the beginning of video-game culture.”

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Vito Guttilla, 33; hardware-store clerk; Hamilton Heights
"The ’80s had the best music, movies, everything. It's the definition of pop culture. People still admire pop icons from the ’80s—Ghostbusters, Michael Jackson—and people are still watching and listening. Nothing today will have that staying power. Big hair, big clothes, good fun…the ’80s was it."

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When: Friday, April 12
The Scene: Take Back the ’80s Burlesque at the Parkside Lounge
It was all big hair and big ideas at the latest edition of Take Back the ’80s Burlesque, produced by Minnie d’Moocha and Francine “The Lucid Dream”. The show mixes the free-spirited, brightly colored, awesome ’80s prom you probably never had with the titillating talents of some of burlesque’s hottest gals, who irreverently cite the era of Reaganomics as a major inspiration for their work.

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