Becoming Burlesque

Author: 
Anastasia Koutalianos

Becoming Burlesque is a two-month intensive workshop whereby our newbies go beyond simple striptease and learn the basics: from movement, to comedy, hair, makeup, costuming, sound, tech stuff and of course, the ins and outs of being entertaining on stage. It really was a crash course in tapping into your sexy-self.

by @nadatodo

After spending much of Saturday afternoon in bed (thanks to what feels like my throat giving out), and watching the first episode of Portlandia, I made myself quasi-presentable and headed over to the Wise Hall for the Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society’s Becoming Burlesque show. I figured I can get away with looking a little rough.

This wasn’t your run-of-the mill burlesque show. Think dancing starlets in training. Becoming Burlesque is a two-month intensive workshop whereby our newbies go beyond simple striptease and learn the basics: from movement, to comedy, hair, makeup, costuming, sound, tech stuff and of course, the ins and outs of being entertaining on stage. It really was a crash course in tapping into your sexy-self.

I walked up to the venue and saw a food truck parked out front. It was selling pakoras with onions being one of its featured veggies (how Portlandia.) I chuckled and made my way inside. The room reminds me of a high school auditorium circa 1950s with the token disco ball and strands of white lights dangling from the ceiling. The turnout was perfect; fully packed and buzzing. I only wish I was able to swallow without cringing, or that my ears would pop.

Nine o’clock hit and our presenters (aka the teachers) took the stage: April O’Peel and Violet Femme. Adorned in typical burlesque fashion (sequins, cinched waists and big hair), they did a fab job of introducing our graduates with the occasional pun, rhyme and zinger. It was hard not to with such names as: Audrey Monroe, Tipsy Witts, Georgia Moonshine, Ginger Femmecat, Tini Lune, Ruby Tulips, Mischa Capri, Dolly Dynamite, Sugar Belle, and Jungle Kat.

The performance was good all across the board: from the clever and theatrical, to the standard fare of “I was wearing a robe and now I’m not,” coupled with a splash of crazy and a sprinkle of ingenuity.

The punk-inspired number by Tini Lune was a favourite—for no other reason than it was totally off the rocker. Think oxy meets housewife meets no holds barred. It was definitely memorable. I also loved Georgia Moonshine’s cowgirl stenciled giddy up! undies, Jungle Cat’s choice of tunes, and the  brilliant matador costuming. The easy-zip crotch release was used creatively and put to good use.

When it comes to burlesque, I’d have to say a good story goes a long way. The “I’m going to take this off and then that” is a little boring, but that’s about as far as I’d go in terms of judging. These ladies have guts. 

A good mix of comedy (thanks to our hosts and nearly-nude male maids Doc Chocolate and Evil Bastard), performance and gusto!

Be sure to check out the Screaming Chicken’s upcoming shows, and the burlesque festival next month.

Upcoming shows:

April 28: Taboo Revue Variety Burlesque Show at the Wise Hall

May 3-6: Vancouver International Burlesque Festival (at various locations)

May 26: Becoming Burlesque Grad Class no. 2 at the Wise Hall. Check the Screaming Chicken’s Facebook page for more info

  • Posted on: 11 March 2016
  • By: Administrator
  • Author: Anastasia Koutalianos