Video: Burlesque stars of the nerdlesque scene

We profile five mainstays of nerdlesque, a geeky subgenre of burlesque. Plus, watch a burlesque video or two of their nerdiest numbers.

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  • Nasty Canasta, producer of Naked Girls Reading NYC and Sweet and Nasty Burlesque

  • Photograph: Linus Gelber

    Nasty Canasta, producer of Naked Girls Reading NYC and Sweet and Nasty Burlesque

  • Nasty Canasta, producer of Naked Girls Reading NYC and Sweet and Nasty Burlesque

Nasty Canasta, producer of Naked Girls Reading NYC and Sweet and Nasty Burlesque


Nasty Canasta, producer of Naked Girls Reading NYC and Sweet and Nasty Burlesque (nastycanasta.com)

The reigning “Cheese Queen of Coney Island” is no stranger to pop culture—she calls Doctor Who’s TARDIS “the great and enduring love of my life”—but her nerdiness extends to high art: She produces the monthly nude literary salon Naked Girls Reading NYC. The veteran neoburlesque star is philosophical about the new nerdlesque sub-scene. “What does it encompass: Is it just sci-fi and comic books? What about zombies? An Abraham Lincoln burlesque number isn’t geeklesque, but an Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter act is?” A sought-after performer who’s appeared in almost every major burlesque show in town, Canasta built her reputation by creating thoughtful acts that include gorgeous costumes and clever narratives. She calls nerdlesque “an entire subgenre based on other people’s ideas. To me the most successful and inspiring performers are ones who draw inspiration from specific sources, but transcend those references and transform them into something new, unexpected and very much their own.” Next event: Naked Girls Reading, UNDER St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Pl between First Ave and Ave A (212-777-6088, horsetrade.info/infounderstmarks.html).Wed 16 at 9pm; $20.

Her nerdiest numbers: Flash Gordon (based on the 1980 film, of course), Poison Ivy from Batman and multiple Doctor Who numbers.



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