Monday, March 21, 2011

Windy City Burlesque

Kyle, Pooteewheet, and I drove to Chicago last Friday to catch two evenings of the Second Annual Windy City Burlesque Fest.  While it might seem like I have an obsession with burlesque, my purpose was legion:

1.) See Michelle L'Amour, as she wasn't at Midwest Burlesk this year.
2.) Go to Chicago.
3.) See some acts we wouldn't see at Midwest Burlesk.
4.) Have some sushi.
5.) Decide whether a speed trip was feasible for future purposes (we drove back starting at 12:30 a.m.)
6.) Have some beer.
7.) Pick up some beer to bring back that isn't generally available in Minnesota.

Missions accomplished.  It is possible to drive back between 12:30 a.m. and 7:15 a.m., although sleeping in a Ford Fiesta is tricky and you really need a foam cushion cut to fit the seat to door gap if you don't want to wake up with no blood flow to your head.  Chicago is there.  Although Tsuki where we always went for sushi is not.  But all the staff moved to Ai and they still have bento boxes for kids and a great selection of sushi.  I had the tabiko flight (red, yellow, green, black, is best), a piece of cherry smoked duck on rice, an oyster shooter, a delicious rosemary walnut tuna roll that striped the tuna so every piece tasted different, and a bowl of green tea ice cream the profits of which were sent to Japanese relief funds.

Friday night was....
  • beer + dinner
  • beer
  • burlesque + beer and whiskey
  • beer + other
Dinner was at the Duke of Perth.  Good fish and chips, but "all you can eat" is sort of silly given the size of your first plate of fish.  Afterwards we went to John Barleycorn's for a beer while waiting for the show to start.  That's also where we went after the show, although by then we were drinking some Shamrock Shake thing composed of creme de menthe and Bailey's.  Ugh.  You know you've jumped the shark when bright green drinks hit the counter. I did get to tell Franny Fluffer Nutter, who was also there drinking, that we liked her act.  I learned that she does an RPG burlesque and a Twin Peaks burlesque in her native New York.  Those must be amusing.

The burlesque show was fun, although I didn't think it was as good as Midwest Burlesk.  Lula Houp-Garou stood out with her hula hoop act and a dance the second night that involved lying in a bed of glass.  The Stage Door Johnnies were their usual amusing selves with a sort of tin solider act.  Franny Fluffer Nutter was good - you can find her doing her baton twirling and blonde to redhead transition here, although video always lacks significantly compared to the live experience of burlesque.  The Flaming Dames with their ode to music were amusing.  Jeez Loueez brought a lot of energy to the stage with a dance to Prince's Sexy Motherfucker.  Steele Starling was blasphemous with his Catholic priest pole dance to Lacrimosa that ended in an upside down prayer.  And Ammunition...the host described her as an industrial factory wrapped in the body of a girl.  She came out with a couple of Home Depot lamps and a Tron-lightlike corset, and eventually proceeded to use a grinder like you'd expect to see a heavy metal band using grinders, to shoot sparks from their guitars.  But she didn't have a guitar, so she used her g-string.  There's a very short clip of it was much more impressive in person, without the band, and the lights mostly off.

My least favorite act was probably Serenna Starr.  Her act was much more traditional strip (it involved a very large bowl of sudsy water) than burlesque, and it felt less fun because of that.  While it might seem strange to say you don't go to burlesque for nudity or raunchiness, it's the truth.  Even though Michelle L'Amour bills herself as the "most naked woman."  Unless the raunchiness is truly intended to be over the top fun (the Evil Hate Monkey for instance), it just doesn't belong in a burlesque show.


Anonymous said...

One small correction, but I think it's important: the emcee described Ammunition as a "factory crammed into the body of a very sexy woman and turned onto high speed." Apt description -PTW

Red Hot Annie said...

Thanks for coming out to the Windy City Burlesque Fest! xo - Red Hot Annie