Tuesday Tease: Portland’s All That Glitters Burlesque Academy

DSC_3544-e1384568325700Exciting news! Portland, Oregon’s getting a brand new burlesque school!

I recently got an e-mail from Holly Dai, who used to be with the Frim Fram Foxies, (who we did a feature on back in July of 2012) among other troupes, and she told me about her exciting new venture: the All That Glitters Burlesque Academy. Her partner in this new venture is Tana the Tattooed Lady, who is a veteran of the Seattle burlesque scene and a former member of one of the pioneering Northwest burlesque troupes, the Atomic Bombshells.

It’s always an exciting time when you see burlesque schools start to pop up in towns like Portland because it’s a sign that the scene is growing and certainly, will continue to grow as students leave to produce their own shows and form their own troupes. I’ve certainly seen the Portland burlesque community grow significantly over the last three years. While the scene still remains relatively small, I think in a couple years, Portland’s burlesque scene will rival that of Seattle or San Francisco. I also have a feeling that All That Glitters will be, in no small part, responsible for that growth.

Holly also teased (how appropriate!) some exciting news. Oregon may be getting its very first burlesque festival! They aren’t saying much at this point but we’ll be waiting with bated breath to hear more news on this exciting development.

We sure appreciate Holly and Tana taking time out of their busy lives to chat with us about All That Glitters, their influences, their history, the Portland scene and more. They even offer a little advice to those of you out there that’d like to start your own burlesque academy.

So, without further ado, I give you Holly Dai and Tana the Tatooed Lady!
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“Life is a Cabaret, Old Chum!”

Cabaret” the musical had its Broadway debut at the Broadhurst Theatre on November 20, 1966. The show opened to rave reviews and became such a hit that it inspired a 1972 film and countless productions across the globe. It won the 1966 Tony Award for Best Musical and Best Original Score and continues to win awards to this day. In 1998, the Broadway revival won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical and in 2007 the London revival of the show won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production. Certainly one can’t think of Liza Minelli without thinking of her Academy Award winning role as Sally Bowles and the 1968 London production helped launch the career of dame Judi Dench, in her role as Sally.

The story is set in Berlin in 1931, the late period of Weimar Germany, a period of flourishing artistic creativity, following Germany’s defeat in World War I in 1918 and preceding Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. During this time, Germany became a center of intellectual thought and artistic innovation as documented in the paintings of Otto Dix, the films of Fritz Lang, the music of Kurt Weil and the sexually-progressive cabaret culture that spawned Christopher Isherwood’s novel “Goodbye to Berlin” which would later be adapted into the musical “Cabaret.”
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Happy Birthday Dita Von Teese! Celebrate With Your Local Burlesque Troupe.

Today is neo-burlesque icon Dita Von Teese‘s birthday. A prominent figure in the neo-burlesque movement since the early 90s, Von Teese, is in no small part responsible for the burlesque revival that continues to this day. Inspired by the films and musicals of the 30s and 40s, Von Teese helped define the performance style and aesthetic that has become de riguer with modern burlesque performers. Von Teese’s look is inspired by classic cinema and retro style, particularly elaborate lingerie such as basques, corsets and stockings, and her live shows often feature props such as a giant powder compact and a giant martini glass. She’s also known for a fan dance which features the world’s largest feather fans. Von Teese has been featured in Playboy, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Elle and has also recently designed a new lingerie range with Wonderbra (see video below).

While Von Teese is the public face of the neo-burlesque movement, there are girls (and guys!) all over the country that are taking what Von Teese popularized and adding their own, unique twists and shimmies. Brown Paper Tickets has long been a supporter of the burlesque movement and we ticket hundreds, possibly even thousands, of burlesque events year round.
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