The new new burlesque in NYC
Where to get hot under the collar this summer.
Mon Jul 19 2010
With 15 or so years under its garter belt, the neoburlesque scene has proved that it's no flash in the panties. However, with the closing of the Slipper Room last month (the Lower East Side club isn't just getting a lift—it's slated to be completely rebuilt), there's no longer a sure-thing NYCB-spot outside of Coney Island. But there are still plenty of grinding delights to be enjoyed this summer. Kitty Nights is the old showgirl of the bunch: For nearly four years, it's crammed its gleefully gritty performances into the tiny Bar on A (170 Ave A at 11th St, kittynights.com; Sun 9pm; $5). The swankiest of the newbies is The Sweets' Shop, hosted by Melody Sweets and her band, the Candy Shop Boys, at classy Tribeca eatery Duane Park (157 Duane St between West Broadway and Hudson St, duaneparknyc.com/liveshows/sweet.html; Sat 10:30pm), where you have to buy dinner or at least two drinks to get a table. But you'll want to be sitting down when the fire balancers and other vaudeville acts start. "It's always very glamorous," says Sweets, "but risqu!"
At the other end of the spectrum is Epic Win Burlesque (The Tank, 354 W 45th between Eighth and Ninth Aves, epicwinburlesque.com; September 10, 11; $15), a nerd-themed night that started as a goof in 2009. "Magdalena Fox told us about a Lara Croft number she was planning," remembers coproducer Nelson Lugo, who launched this sporadic show with Schffer the Darklord. "I jokingly said we'd produce a video-game burlesque show just to feature this one act." Fox is now one of their regulars, and she is also part of the group of rising scenesters who launched the whimsical Storybook Burlesque in 2009. So far, the lit chicks have tackled tabloid magazines and the Bible, and on July 29 they'll present A Midsummer Night's Dream (Galapagos Art Space, 16 Main St at Water St, Dumbo, Brooklyn; July 29 at 8pm). "We wanted to make it enjoyable to everyone, even those not familiar with the play," explains Lefty Lucy. "And if you miss anything, we end with a hoedown that summarizes the story."
Finally, don't miss the more regular and more rocking Beatles Burlesque night (Public Assembly, 70 North 6th St between Kent and Wythe Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; beatlesburlesque.com; second Monday of every month 10pm; $10). One of four ongoing shows produced and hosted by overachieving ecdysiast Calamity Chang, this monthly show debuted in April and quickly became a hit, due to its live band (Ticket to Ride, fronted by burly-Q belter Broadway Brassy), top-notch talent (Darlinda Just Darlinda, Nasty Canasta) and occasional free cookies.
Raven Snook occasionally performs in and hosts burlesque shows. For a comprehensive calendar of NYC burlesque shows, visit edbarnas.com/Burlesque/calendar/index.htm.
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