A peek into Baltimore's burlesque scene
When Midnight Sun reader Aaron Bush offered to write a guest column about Baltimore's burlesque scene, I couldn't resist. Here goes:
A few weeks ago, Alexis and I dragged our friend Bill to his first burlesque show.
Bill bartends in Fells and the three of us had been drinking all day and were pretty much hammered at that point. He didn't want to go but it was a choice between drinking by himself or pasties. Pasties won.
Almost no one goes to a burlesque show for the first time without being dragged. I don’t know why. I was bribed with the lure of a trip to the pub afterward and a covered tab.
From what I recall, I was expecting a high-school talent show put on by a drunk phys ed teacher crossed with a college production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
It's not like that.
Except when it is, and then it's hysterical -- unless you paid to get in ...
If you haven't been to a show before, picture a room packed to the rafters with fold-up chairs (if there are chairs), a forest of Natty-Bos and plastic wine glasses perched precariously by everyone's feet, probably more women than men (all of which have the best lingerie drawers in the city), and a woman or man up on stage doing the smartest, funniest, striptease shimmy you’ll ever see.
There's a danger in over-analyzing it, cause you'll sound like an ass, but burlesque is for folks who want some banter with their sexy. The performers are there because they want to be, most don't make any real money, and during the day are typically retail clerks, lawyers, and office drones like the rest of us.
Until recently Baltimore only had one burlesque troupe, Gilded Lily, and a few independent performers like Trixie Little and Evil Hate Monkey (pictured), but for whatever reason, business is booming and they’re multiplying like rabbits. Not just here either but all over the country.Any show you go to will most certainly sell out. The show we dragged Bill to was in the Creative Alliance while an apartment building next door dramatically burned to the ground. The lobby filled up with smoke and breathing was like wrapping your lips around a car exhaust. No one left the line even when the fire hoses started rolling past the doors.
(Photo by Steve Parke, courtesy of Trixielittle.com)