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Arts & Culture

Hide the children (but not the women), burlesque is in town

Photo: Photos by Christopher L. Combs, License: N/A

Photos by Christopher L. Combs

Clockwise from top: Jasper St. James, Kassy Luvjoy, Gaige, Vixy Van Hellen.

Photo: Christopher L. Combs, License: N/A

Christopher L. Combs

Jasper St. James, Camille Toe, Kassy Luvjoy, Vixy Van Hellen, Gaige, Suki Jones

Photo: Jeffrey Millies Photography, Chicago, License: N/A

Jeffrey Millies Photography, Chicago

Coco Lectric

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Perle Noire (the Black Pearl), from Dallas now based in New Orleans, has traveled the world and performed in many festivals doing her tribute to expatriate American dancer Josephine Baker, whose banana dance scandalized Paris in the 1920s. Baker took the exoticism that black performers were cast with at the time, flipped it upside down, and just owned everything. Though not striptease, her dance was thought to be highly risqué — perhaps more for her sheer sexual exuberance, rather than the lack of dress. More than paying homage, Perle Noire's performances are acclaimed as the very embodiment of Baker's genius. "Dita Von Teese is a great artist who has really mastered the art of tease," says Perle Noire, "whereas my fans really enjoy my act because I am the complete opposite. I just come out there bursting with energy and passion, and I just dance."

Coco Lectric has also toured the world to much acclaim. Here is Coco's bottom line: "Burlesque, the art itself, is sort of jabbing at, poking fun at something — social norms, for example. Even in classic burlesque, we are often winking and smiling at how seriously people take the idea of sexuality, or teasing; how serious people are about how women are supposed to be when taking their clothes off. Are we supposed to be shy, and coquettish? It can be a dialogue about, 'Let me show you something.' ... Even at its simplest, it reads almost like a short story. You climax at a certain point, and then you just enjoy the fruits of your labor and are happy that everyone's happy. Or happy that you've maybe opened up a couple of neural pathways with someone in the audience. They're just like, 'Ahh, I don't know just what to think about that right now,' You know? It is good to think about. What we are bringing is positive: What we believe in, and what we want to share. ...If somebody looks terrified, that is that one person who I am going to blow kisses to, and look right at while I am doing a peel.

Absolutely. Because I want that person to feel a little bit more comfortable. I want them to know that I am inviting them to watch my show."

San Antonio Burlesque Festival

Friday Night Teaser
9 pm, Aug 3
The Korova
107 E Martin
Saturday Night Spectacular
8 pm, doors open at 7pm, Aug 4
Woodlawn Theatre
1920 Fredericksburg

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