Friday, March 21, 2008


Tuesday night, we went to see our friends The Honeybees play at a burlesque show. New Burlesque, if you haven't caught that particular trend, is a melding of vintage pre-Playboy-era striptease aesthetic with sex-positive feminism and performance art. If that sounds all Camille Paglia-ish and academic, don't be put off. It's a blast to see women with real bodies (curvy) and attitude take it all off to jaunty rockabilly music. The current show, produced by Angela Eve's Twisted Tassel, has one more engagement at Chicago's temple to live nudenude girls, Admiral Theatre, then they move to a new venue. The photo above is Miss Holly Wouldn't, one of the performers at Tuesday's show. Her Naughty Librarian routine was the hit of the entire event. That must have been one dirty book she was reading.

When I first moved to Chicago, there were at least a dozen strip clubs in the city limits. Today, it's down to a handful. This is mostly due to a law prohibiting alcohol sales and nudity in the same venue. I've read somewhere that a majority of the old clubs were champagne joints, where the performers pressured customers to buy overpriced drinks. The Admiral circumvents the alcohol issue by having a $25 door, and charging anywhere from 10 to 75 bucks for more personalized dances at the customer's table or in a VIP room booth. Drinks, all non-alcoholic, are $5.

During intermission, the regular crew of dancers came out to entertain the crowd. They all seemed to be under 25, and all deeply bored. The girls gyrated languidly on poles sporting facial expressions which I suppose were meant to indicate sultriness. Their costumes (mostly cheap-looking lacy thongs) were a let-down too, especially after the sexy glamor of the burlesque show outfits.

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