Innocence Lost

When I was a kid my dad always promised to take me to a burlesque show on my 21st birthday. Sadly, by the time that rolled around there were no such places left.

What got me thinking about this was the movie meme I posted earlier in the morning. The list so far is of actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood, Deni's addition being James Cagney. That got me thinking about Vaudeville, and then burlesque came into my thoughts.

There are a few women who perform genuine burlesque, but none so well as Vienna La Rouge. Her act is pure vintage--from the 18th century to 1940s Hollywood--and she never loses her ladylike quality. Sure, she strips, but there's pasties and a thong beneath those big feather fans. In an age when Britney Spears flashes her bare wowzer just getting out of a car, and women in strip clubs bend over and shake their booty four inches from a man's face, Ms. La Rouge's act might seem pretty tame. What she understands though is that the most powerful sexual attraction begins in the imagination, and that there is an art that appeals on more levels than just the mere physical. Today's strippers lack art; Vienna La Rouge is an artist.

My grandfather, who was a Vaudeville performer from childhood used to say, "A woman standing bare naked is okay, but put a wisp of fabric on her and yowza! That's something!"


  1. Burlesque is becoming big again. At least in CA and NY.

  2. that's a euphemism I've never heard before. I agree that alot of pop culture is so vulgar nowadays. I came by your blog through willow.

  3. I suppose the teasing nature of the strip tease as opposed to the blatant nude dancers and "wowzer-flashing" is somewhat akin to Hitchcock's never putting a murder on screen. It's so much more effective to fire someone's imagination than just to lay it all out.

  4. bb mcclain: I learned "wowzer" from a guy I used to work with about 15 years ago.

    Deni: Absolutely!

  5. We had one of the last burlesque theaters open in the country. I think I was 20 or 21 when a guy I know talked me into going to see it. It was fun!!! I think that it closed in 1969 or 1970.

    LOL Yes, I had a mispent youth and lordy, lordy, it was fun!

  6. Hehe....what I meant to say was: this post was entertaining! Thank you Steph! Good point JPDeni!

    Clayrn Darrow

  7. The wisp of fabric has been replaced by the digital blur...

    I haven't heard wowzer in a long time even my browser's spell check doesn't recognize the word lol.

  8. Your grandfather had it right!

    There's little or no art or romance to the kind of nudity that's thrown in our faces these days! One needs both imagination and subtlety to tantalize! Some of today's sitcoms are the worst offenders. Banal to the point of sickening, in my opinion. All those stupid, brash, belabored, and repeat sexual inuendoes!

    I have distant relatives who grew up doing vaudeville.

  9. Kay: It seems the vaudeville/burlesque thing hung on in the Midwest long after it was gone elsewhere. I guess this only stands to reason because that's where the most important leg of "the circuit" was. My family was always talking about "the circuit" that covered theaters in that part of the country. New York was considered "the Big Time".

    Clay: You're welcome!

    Tommy: The blur just doesn't do it for me. It feels more like censorship than enticement. And it's imposed by the "authorities" rather than by the dancer.

    I'm surprised "wowzer" is out tere at all. I thought that guy in my office made it

    Lynda: Another vaudeville legacy -- Welcome!

  10. "Wowzer", LOL!

    Aww, Thanks so much for such a kind review ;-)
    A friend of mine pointed this post out to me.
    While I still consider what I do "stripping", and would even call myself a stripper, I do agree that there is a difference between the strip club style and the classic (or Neoclassic) burlesque style we saw then, and are seeing again today.
    I don't; however, think I'm somehow better or holier than thou when it comes to comparing myself to club strippers.
    After all, that style is what evolved from old school burlesque and vaudeville.

  11. Wonderful post. Keep in mind there is a difference between exotic dancer and stripper. ;) Wonderful short!

  12. Wonderful post. Keep in mind there is a difference between exotic dancer and stripper. ;) Wonderful short!


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