Tag: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque (not really) of the 1980s

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque (not really) of the 1980s

Burlesque of the ’80s? There was no burlesque in the ’80s. There were strip clubs and Porky’s, but no burlesque. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t beautiful, iconic women who would inspire our modern generation of burlesque performers.

Here are some of them.

Click on any pic for more info.

Love is a battlefield, and Pat Benatar was its fiercest warrior.
What says “’80s excess” more than Joan Collins as Dynasty’s Alexis Colby? One look from her and you want throw a drink on yourself.
Oh, poor tragic Whitney Houston. Didn’t we almost have it all?
This controversial 1981 Calvin Klein ad featured a 15-year-old Brooke Shields, who declared that “nothing” came between her and her Calvins.
Gypsies, tramps and thieves…might be hiding in that hair. The ever -fabulous Cher gives us some late ’80s realness. If only we could turn back time.

And then there’s Madonna. Maybe the most iconic star of the decade (the millennium?). You can make fun of her acting, her fake British accent or her penchant for collecting African children, but the fact remains, Madonna IS the 1980s. Here are some of her signature ’80s looks.

The look that started it all – the Lucky Star/Desperately Seeking days.
An homage to Marilyn: Material Girl
Papa, don’t preach – I’m going to be a huge star and we can get the F outta Staten Island.

Want more ’80s? Come see Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque at The Triad on April 22.  TICKETS

**SPECIAL LIMITED TIME OFFER** Buy one ticket, get the second at half price with promo code BOGO50 until 4/1! BUY 

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque (sort of) of the ’70s

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque (sort of) of the ’70s

As we learned last week, by the late ’50s and ’60s, burlesque was out and strips clubs were in.

By the ’70s, sleaze was the name of the game. The subtlety of a saucy, slow glove-peel gave way to in-your-face nudity.

No place was this more apparent than NYC’s Times Square, where the great burlesque houses of the ’20s and ’30s were replaced by peep shows, topless bars and porn theaters. For some pics of Times Square during the ’70s, check out this link.

And here’s a history of topless women in Times Square.

But there are some ’70s icons and sex symbols who immediately come to mind and here are a few.

Click any pic for more info.

THE classic image of the ’70s: the iconic Farrah Fawcett poster that graced the walls (and spank bank) of many a high school dude.
Bo Derek was ’10’ during the late ’70s. C’mon, you know you rocked the corn rows that summer!
Girl next door, Cybill Shepherd
Badass: Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman lassoed the world with her gold rope
Speaking of badass, these Angels knew what was up. Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson and Farrah Fawcett in Charlie’s Angels
Another girl next door. Yeah, that’s creepy, but rumor has it she made out with her TV brother so… Maureen McCormick as Marcia Brady
And one for the ladies… Burt Reynolds poses nude for Cosmo in 1972. Er, thanks?

Come feed your nostalgia on April 22 at The Triad. Need tickets? Click here!

**SPECIAL LIMITED TIME OFFER** Buy one ticket, get the second at half price with promo code BOGO50 until 4/1! Groovy baby! BUY

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque of the 1960s

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque of the 1960s

Hello lovers,

Welcome back to our overview of burlesque history. Well, it’s the ’60s. Between the censorship of the ’50s, when a lot of clubs were closed, and the general loosening of society, burlesque as an art form was pretty much over. Around this time, club owners began asking dancers to mingle with the audience in a bid to increase alcohol sales, a front-runner to lap dance culture at the modern strip club. It was no longer about the tease, but about the hard sell to increase revenues. As one dancer put it, “anyone willing to get naked could get work.”

In 1960, the Playboy Club opened in Chicago. While it didn’t feature dancers, it employed beautiful women in bunny costumes to serve drinks.

Despite Playboy’s later reputation, the club was swank and classy rather than sleazy. Members were known as “keyholders” and you could even take your wife, although it’s unclear how many men actually did that. Eventually, clubs opened all over the world and featured some of the most famous musicians and comedians of the era. Being a keyholder was a major status symbol.

Another fad born of the ’60s is the go go dancer, which is said to have originated (appropriately enough) at L.A.’s Whisky A Go Go. Modeled on a Parisian bar of the same name, the Whisky opened on the Sunset Strip in 1964 and became one of the most famous (or notorious) clubs of the decade, hosting pretty much every famous act you would associate with the era, from The Doors to Jimi Hendrix to The Beatles. The club is still in business today and some of the most famous rockers of the last 50 years have played there. The club featured dancers in “cages,” who eventually became known as “go go dancers.”

Another famous dance club of the era was NYC’s Peppermint Lounge, which also claims to have invented go go dancing.

The Peppermint Lounge is said to have launched the Twist craze of the early sixties, and according to lore, the go go dancer evolved out of people dancing the twist on tables. Wherever it started, the go go dancer is one of the most iconic symbols of the ’60s.

In 1964, a dancer named Carol Doda made international headlines by becoming one of the first public topless dancers at San Francisco’s Condor Club.

(She was also known for having her breasts injected with silicone, taking her from a size 34 to a size 44, earning them the nickname “San Francisco’s New Twin Peaks.”) Her act showed her descending from the ceiling onto a baby grand piano, where she would perform a few numbers before being raised up again. She is credited with launching San Francisco’s topless craze (which I guess was a thing?).

Finally, meet Tammi True, who worked during the ’60s at Jack Ruby’s Dallas nightclub The Carousel Club (yep, THAT Jack Ruby!).


Ruby and dancers

She actually had to testify in Washington during the investigation into Ruby’s murder of JFK shooter Lee Harvey Oswald.

Ruby shooting Oswald

So there you have it. While burlesque wasn’t big in the ’60s, you could still see your share of beautiful women shaking and shimmying. Come back next week to explore the ’70s with us!

Check out these sites for more info:


Did you miss a week?


AND! If you haven’t bought tickets for Decadent yet, you can get them HERE. See you at The Triad on April 22!


Throwback Thursday: Burlesque in the 1920s

Throwback Thursday: Burlesque in the 1920s

Hi friends! It’s Roaring Twenties week at LFF, so let’s learn a little about what burlesque was like in the Jazz Age.

Well, actually, we need to start a little further back.

Up until the 1920s, burlesque was more about comedy and satire than striptease, owing some of its roots to vaudeville and minstrel shows.

Lydia Thompson. Nice stems.

In 1868, Lydia Thompson who was to become known as the “First Lady of Burlesque,” brought her troupe the British Blondes to America. They didn’t strip, but showed off their legs in tights, which was pretty racy for those uptight Victorians.

By about 1905, there was a system in place in which burlesque performers traveled the country in geographically based “wheels,” or circuits, putting on vaudeville-style variety shows that included singers, dancers and comedians. At the time, comedy was the main attraction and some really famous names – like Jackie Gleason, Milton Berle, Bob Hope – owe their beginnings to burlesque.

Little Egypt does the hoochie-coochie (and presumably turns herself around)

In the 1920s, movies began to steal audiences, so enterprising theater owners, like NYC’s Minsky Brothers, began introducing striptease to get butts in seats. The striptease is said to harken back to a performance by “Little Egypt” who did the “hoochie-coochie” at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The Minsky Brothers are generally credited with bringing striptease “out of the backrooms and into the theaters.” Under their tutelage and that of Florenz Ziegfield and his elaborate Paris-inspired Follies, the 1920s and ’30s became known as the golden age of burlesque.

Here are some stars of the era:

Josephine Baker

In the 1920s, American Josephine Baker took Paris by storm as part of the legendary Folies Bergère reviews and became a symbol of the Jazz Age after appearing in a girdle of bananas. Baker was “celebrated by all of the great artists and intellectuals of the era, with various circles dubbing her the ‘Black Pearl,’ the ‘Bronze Venus,’ as well as the ‘Creole Goddess.'” She fought for the French Resistance during WWII and later became a civil rights activist, even speaking at the March on Washington with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963.

Fanny Brice

Fanny Brice, made famous by Barbra Streisand in the 1963 Broadway musical Funny Girl, dropped out of school in 1908 to join a burlesque review. In 1910, she joined the Ziegfield Follies for the first time, performing for two years. She rejoined it in 1921 and danced with them through the 1930s. From the 1930s until her 1951 death, Brice performed on radio as a bratty toddler named Snooks in the eponymous “Baby Snook Show,” which sounds like something that should make us grateful we have Netflix.

Carrie Finnell

Carrie Finnell claims to have invented the nipple tassel, which survives to this day as a burlesque necessity (burlesque-ity?). Using just her magnificent mammaries, Finnell could supposedly swing not just tassels, but bells and lights as well. Whutt??

According to burlexe.com, she also:

is credited with talking Gypsy Rose Lee into peeling on stage. She beat Mae West in a strip-off. She’s also said to have invented the nipple tassel. Definitely a woman worth remembering.

Carrie Finnell (What is she even doing?)

As you can see, the history of burlesque is complex and fascinating and worth looking into much deeper than we can here. If you want to learn more, come back next week when we examine burlesque of the ’30s and check out these sources below:






(And if you really like history, stay tuned for ticket info for our fabulous April 22 show, Decadent: 100 Years of Burlesque.)

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