By Andrea Kennedy
During her stage days, famed burlesque dancer turned Broadway scriptwriter Gypsy Rose Lee was rumored to take 15 minutes to slip off one elegant glove. During the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, Hartford’s own Ann Corio, upon a white horse, flaunted her figure down city streets covered in what seemed to be only white feather fans. These legends of burlesque set the stage for generations of titillating stripteasers, and the art lives still today in the revival form of neo-burlesque – men and women paying homage to classic burlesque with fresh spins like pop culture satire and celebrations of positive self-image. You can read more about the art, as performed by guys and gals, in my set of stories on burlesque and its modern rendition in this month’s “Voluptuaries” issue of WAG.
My research – inspiring everything from laughter to examinations of sexual politics – also uncovered a pack of NYC clubs that feature these modern neo-burlesque performers. If twirling tassels sound like your idea of a date night – for V-Day, maybe? – try a spot like the Lower East Side’s The Slipper Room, recently featured in The New York Times. If anything, you’ll leave in the mood to shimmy.
The Slipper Room, 167 Orchard Street, (212) 253-7246; slipperroom.com. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.