Tuesday Tease: RIP Dixie Evans, The Godmother of Burlesque

dixie-week-poster-croppedOn August 3rd, the burlesque world lost the woman who is probably most responsible for the burlesque revival and the preservation of its history. A legendary performer in her own right and an inspiration for multiple generations of burlesque performers, the “Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque,” Miss Dixie Evans.

Born as Mary Lee Evans in Long Beach, California on August 28, 1926, Dixie started her career in the 40s as a model and chorus girl, eventually becoming a star dancer. She was a headlining burlesque performer by the early 50s, performing up and down the West Coast as part of Harold Minsky’s “burlesque wheel” touring circuit. Minsky encouraged her to adapt her stage persona to that of Marilyn Monroe, given her strong resemblance to the, then rising, film star. While resistant at first, she eventually adopted the Monroe persona and it was that act that would define her career as a burlesque dancer.

Evans developed a well-received tribute show to Monroe following her death in 1962 but eventually dropped the act after being mistaken for the dead film star. This was deeply disturbing to Evans and so she eventually adapted her stage show into a parody of Irma La Douce, Shirley MacLaine’s character in the 1963 romantic comedy of the same name.
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Tuesday Tease: Back to School

indigo+blueSummer’s quickly approaching and school will be getting out soon but that doesn’t mean you should stop studying. This is the perfect time to get out and learn something new! Burlesque classes are available all over, year round, for a variety of skill levels and interests.

I recently took a little time to track down and question two graduates of Seattle’s Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque about their experiences and where their burlesque education has taken them.

Carlotta Shakin completed The Art of the Tease, How to Strip for your Lover, and Burlesque 101 just a few weeks ago and had some useful advise for anyone thinking about getting involved with burlesque. “I think everyone should take at least a class or two.” She says, “The burlesque community is so welcoming and accepting and the classes are so empowering.” Although Carlotta doesn’t have any shows scheduled for the near future she is “currently brainstorming ideas for new acts and looking to become more involved in the burlesque world.”

Angelina Allure, who completed Burlesque 101 course in 2011 and will be attending the Academy’s Fan Dancing course next month has a similar recommendation. “DO IT! There are classes that do not require a performance at the end of it, and those are a great way to get your feet wet and start the glitter obsession.” Outside of class, Angelina can be found in the upcoming show Minxes of Middle Earth, presented by Midnight Menagerie Productions, on Thursday, May 9th and Friday, May 10th.

If you would like to jump into the world of glitter and pasties yourself We’ve compiled a list of classes and schools across the country where you can develop and hone your bumping and grinding skills.
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Tuesday Tease: The Boston Babydolls

Welcome to the Tuesday Tease, Brown Paper Tickets’ newest weekly blog feature with a focus on the burlesque community that we love so much. Each week we will talk about a historical event in burlesque, an upcoming festival, a notable scene or, as in this week’s inaugural edition, a troupe that we love. We’re extremely honored that the incredible Boston Babydolls have agreed to be the subject of our very first edition of “the Tease.”

Since the Babydolls started in 2005, they have garnered much acclaim from their fair city; they won the Boston Phoenix‘s reader’s poll for “Boston’s Sexiest Dance Troupe” in 2010 and “Boston’s Best Burlesque” in 2011 and 2012, and The Weekly Dig named them “Best Burlesque” in 2011. There’s good reason for the praise that’s being heaped upon them by the fine people of Boston. Not only do they push the envelope in each and every performance by providing a great balance between classic burlesque and modern dance, they also support the future of burlesque by teaching the skills necessary for any burlesque diva to master through the Boston Academy of Burlesque Education (B.A.B.E. for short). In addition to all this, they produce the annual Great Burlesque Exposition, a burlesque festival that’s celebrating its 7th anniversary in March of 2013 (stay tuned!).Whew!These girls (and guy) are busy! We love supporting organizations like the Babydolls who not only create powerful, original art but also actively support others to follow in their footsteps, ensuring the future of the art form.

Mr. Scratch, the Babydolls co-founder, took time from his busy schedule to talk about the history of the troupe, what they’re up to and to offer a little advice for any burlesque troupe that’s just getting started.
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Burlesque for the Holidays!

Baby, it’s cold outside. And what better way to get your blood pumping on these chilly winter nights than to take in a little burlesque? Burlesque troupes across the country are putting on holiday-themed events for those of you that can’t be bothered with anything “family friendly” and we’re proud to ticket some of the best that burlesque has to offer. Whether you’re in the mood for a sexy spin on The Nutcracker or want a little bump and grind on Christmas Eve or maybe you’re a burlesque dancer looking for a winter burlesque course to improve your chops. Whatever it is, we got you covered (or un-covered in this case).

How about a great gift idea? Take that special someone out for a night of cocktails and cabaret or treat them to a course on tassel twirling. I, personally, can’t think of a better winter warmer.

Here’s a list of our recommended events. Enjoy!
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