Burlesque and Variety

After a hiatus of a number of years, Burlesque is back in New York along with an upsurge in variety and sideshow acts. I started to follow the new Burlesque movement with the First New York Burlesque Festival sponsored by the Pontani Sisters in the spring of 2003 but it has been blossoming since the mid-90’s across the United States and Canada. I have seen quite a variety of shows since then - the Burlesque scene in New York is very active with a number of groups playing weekly or monthly.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN NY: If you’re interested in checking out the New York Burlesque scene, take a look at my CALENDAR page for a listing of some of the regular events around town (weekly/monthly). There is a great set of links to performers websites at the Exotic World website which is organized by geographic area.

IMAGES: I have had the privilege to document a number of performances and have mounted some in the BURLESQUE PHOTO GALLERY section of my website. Current galleries include photos from Burlesque at the Beach, the New York Burlesque Festival, Tease-O-Rama, and This or That, America’s Favorite Burlesque Game Show. 

BACKGROUND & READING MATERIALS: If you want to learn more about the history of Burlesque, you can check out online resources such as the Musicals 101 entry by John Kenrick or groups such as the Exotic World Burlesque Museum or The Golden Days of Burlesque Historical Society.  Robert G. Allen has written an excellent cultural study of the history of Burlesque entitled Horrible Prettiness: Burlesque and American Culture (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1991) but it stops short of the current revival. 

For a good overview of the recent scene, check out Michelle Baldwin’s Burlesque {and the new Bump-n-Grind} (Speck Press, Denver, 2004) and also Katharina Bosse’s New Burlesque (Filigranes Editions, Trézélan, 2003) for photos of current performers.


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Page updated 15 February 2006