Cyndi Freeman, 47; burlesque artist, storyteller and part-time bartender; Sunset Park, Brooklyn
“Theme shows add the excitement of who’s going to be who and how they’ll send it up. We were sitting there, coming up with so many bits, we had to figure out which to cut! It’s fun to write, and doubly fun to watch audiences get it.
I think part of the attraction is how Mad Men looks. I tend to occasionally dress vintage, and it’s not as comfortable as a pair of jeans. The thing about Mad Men is we all wish we could look like that, and do that all the time —but we’re too addicted to comfort.
The show presents ideas about relationships, sex and the hierarchy of male and female that were real, but have changed. Looking back in 2012 lets us register our own thoughts on those topics, and question our own points of view and think about why they changed and why we have our opinions.”
Handsome Brad Lawrence, 39; burlesque host, storyteller and writer; Sunset Park, Queens; left
“Mad Men is as well-written as any novel has attempted to be. They’ve created a mythology so deep that it’s ripe for homage and parody. We had so many jokes and details from the show to throw in. A large part is a love of the characters, and audiences spend a lot of time falling in love with the characters. So to get a burlesque spin on something you love, to laugh at something you’re emotionally invested in… It’s a deeper laugh.”
Ginger Twist, 28; burlesque artist; Upper East Side
“I think Mad Men is real; I don’t think it’s cookie-cutter like other shows about the ’60s. I think it shows us what was really happening, and that’s what’s so attractive about it.”
Little Motown, 24; burlesque artist; Brooklyn
“Mad Men struck a chord with me, because I’m in advertising; and it’s great, knowing the history, to see it played out.
Trixie Little; burlesque performer; Prospect Heights, Brooklyn; front
“I think the quality of Mad Men’s aesthetic is something you don’t get on TV a lot. The attention to detail is so sumptuous, and the characters are so amazing. It’s a standard of quality you don’t often see. Everyone’s so sexy, and the lingerie… It’s obvious to blend it with burlesque. And it’s set in an era when burlesque was popular in American culture—they even shot some burlesque scenes at the old Slipper Room!”
Vada James, 27; burlesque performer; Astoria, Queens
“There’s a lot of nostalgia for a bygone era right now.”
The scene: Hotsy Totsy Burlesque Does Mad Men at R Bar
Mad Men has captured our fancy with its blend of strong characters, nostalgia and garter-belted sex appeal—not to mention one very curvy redhead. If you think those qualities sound pretty familiar, you’re right. It’s what we love about burlesque, too, a point not lost on the folks at Hotsy Totsy. Big fans of the show when the they’re offstage, yjrtroupe members blended their passion for Mad Men with some in-jokes—and Cherry Pitz’s trademark pink wig—to create an evening that embraced devotees and novices alike. Backstage, the crew shared some opinions on Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s cult appeal, and its influence on their peel.