There are a lot of things to do in New York any given day. Things that suit the easy-going and the finicky, the poor and the rich, the dabbler and the artiste. Last week, I decided to go see a Burlesque show.
"So what", I hear you say, "lots of people like Burlesque"
Naturally. However I went to one having an idea how it would be, when I really hadn't seen a Burlesque show before.
It started when my friend offered me tickets to one of the best groups in the city- called Pinchbottom NYC. He had seen their shows before and asked if my wife and I would be interested. What the heck, it was for art. My wife's first (wise) question was "what's Burlesque?"
me: "Its a form of theatre. Its sort of titillating and risque. Very vaudeville."
me: rolling eyes "Vaudeville" I had actually no idea what vaudeville is/was "Its like the Lido"
Now my wife is a culture vulture and has travelled the world over long weekends like a woman on a mission. She has actually been able to afford to see a Lido show.
wife: "wow, that should be good. And the tickets are only 15 bucks? We should definitely go"
So we took the tickets and like any conscious person with typing skills, immediately typed 'Burlesque' in Google. We saw a YouTube video by this particular group. The story was rather interesting The show did have a striptease, but the strategic areas were concealed with a smiley face and two cute sunflowers.
wife: "so no nudity?"
me: "of course not. I am sure they have to apply for a license for that."
So came the day and we dressed up and went into a converted studio at the corner of Broadway and Canal Street. Both of us were very happy that a lot of couples came. Not the shady crowd of unsatisfied pervs that go to strip clubs. But obviously, because there is no nudity.
The show starts. The storyline is pretty cliched and vaguely funny in parts. The first lady comes up, dances a bit, starts to strip. Catcalls everywhere. The tease stops with her clothes flung around the stage. No biggie- she has a thong and two dangly things from her whaddyacallems. We knew that.
Then comes the second performer. She starts dancing behind a lit screen so we can only see her shadow. Very nice. Suddenly she tears through the screen.
wife raises an eyebrow: "she looks naked to me"
me: trying to see if its an ingenious disguise on her privates. Nope. "Gak!"
And then more and more women come up dancing, not particularly well or within rhythm. They are a mix of young and old, slim and cellulitey, big and small. Most of them wobble. There facial expressions are perfect. Then one by one they do the striptease and pretty soon all of them are wearing nothing but makeup.
wife whispering: "this is not like the Lido"
I should mention that it was a great performance, if you are a Burlesque enthusiast. We were certainly exposed (groan!) to an artform that was totally unknown to us. I admire the courage and motivation it takes to perform where you have to stand naked in front of dozens of strangers. I also have a friend who does Burlesque shows on the side (scientists are interesting people!). And to all Burlesque artists- I applaud you. But I must admit I was sort of distracted by the en-masse nudity. For me it felt out of context (unlike in a strip club) and sort of uncomfortable. Maybe we need to see more Burlesque shows.