A couple weekends ago, I had the pleasure of hitting I-5 South for a visit to Seattle’s southern neighbour Portland, Oregon. My intention was to check out the burlesque scene, see a few shows, meet with a couple folks and enjoy the funky vibe of the Rose City. I’ve always loved Portland. It’s a beautiful city that has done a great job of keeping a down-home feel despite massive growth. The music culture’s great, the food culture is incredible and, as I found out on my trip, the burlesque scene is thriving.
I got to town on a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon. After a wonderful feast of oysters and clams within the vintage, nautically-themed confines of Dan and Louis’ Oyster Bar and Spanish Coffees at Huber’s, my friends and I headed over the Crush Bar, a nondescript bar in the Belmont area of Southeast Portland.
I was anxious to check out their monthly burlesque revue Burlesque S’il Vous Plait which is produced and hosted by the incomparable Zora Phoenix. Zora had us all rolling in our seats with her incredible musical bits and off-color humor, reminding my friends and I of a raunchy, drag version of Vicki Lawrence. Portland burlesque fans know Zora well. She won Willamette Week‘s 2011 “Best of Portland” award and hosts two other monthly burlesque revues, the Phoenix Variety Revue and Burlescape. Zora was definitely the glue that held this show together, as she introduced performances by Brown Paper Ticket’s producer and performer Miss Kennedy, who did an amazing Frida Kahlo-inspired routine, Zora Von Pavonine, Stilletta Maraschino and, for me and my friends, the star of the show: Angelique DeVil.
Miss DeVil did a great “bee” routine which started with her in a nerdy bee outfit dancing to Blind Lemon and ended with her popping and locking to a hip-hop number. She pretty much stole the show for us with her quirky, high-energy, yet still incredibly sexy stage presence. We were sure to write down her name because this was one dancer we wanted to keep our eyes on. It was a great night and a perfect sampler of some of the great burlesque talent that is currently gracing stages in the Rose City.