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This past fall, Hollaback was invited to help participate in Smash Presents…Burlesque Review and we had a really fantastic time! This time we’ve been invited again to table and help with Smash Presents: The Heartbreakers and Betties Burlesque show at Eyeclopes Studios, Saturday, Feb 15, 7-10 p.m.
For some, it may seem confusing as to why a anti sexual harassment collective like Hollaback would be at an event that features an art form that essentially requires the audience to watch as a woman or man undresses. But actually, Burlesque has a long history, and a recent revitalization that really aims to empower the performer, and provide commentary on the way we view and experience bodies.
Burlesque first began in the mid 1800’s as a branch of vaudeville theater. Burlesque usually features comical satires of current events, often poking fun at social mores of the time. Towards the end of the 1800’s, Burlesque began to incorporate more of a “peepshow” attitude to it’s act, that featured carefully choreographed strip-teases or dances. In the early 1900’s many cities only allowed the nudity if the performer was standing still. The 30’s-50’s were a golden age for burlesque, featuring performers (such as the legendary Gypsy Rose Lee) giving performances that put the focus on the “illusion” of sexiness, often revealing very little skin (by today’s standards), and featuring jokes, songs, and dance. However, with opening social expectations in the sixties, burlesque fell out of fashion.
In the last 25 years there has been a massive resurgence in the Burlesque scene, often coming from female and male performers with a background thoroughly rooted in feminist ideals. Many see burlesque as a way to reclaim their sexuality, choosing what and what not to reveal to an audience while also celebrating body types of all different shapes and colors. Burlesque exists now as part social commentary, and part performance, not far from it’s original roots, actually. It is confronting the viewer with presuppositions of what they consider “sexy”, while the performer fully embraces theirs.
We hope to see you all there next week and it will be a lot of fun!
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