A Dita-Lightful Evening


Okay, the evening itself was rather frustrating, but it was my first time seeing Dita Von Teese live, and I’d say that’s a positive experience. It was in Montclair, New Jersey rather than New York City, and while there are trains that run pretty directly from one to the other, it was still rather time-consuming and a bit confusing. And once we arrived, one of the security guards told me I couldn’t bring in my book bag or check it there, which made me worried about what to do. Another guard told me I could leave it with him, so that worked out all right. I was so flustered, though, that I forgot to take my glasses out of the bag. I can still see pretty well without them, but things at a distance tend to look a little blurry. Really, burlesque seen from far away isn’t ideal, but I didn’t want to pay for the expensive seats. I’d only been to one other proper burlesque show before, but it’s an art form that appeals to me. Yeah, part of it is seeing attractive women remove their clothes, but there’s also a sense of humor and ridiculously over-the-top pageantry to it that I enjoy. Maybe I should try going to some of the local burlesque shows at Coney Island, which I’m sure are much cheaper. The audience was mostly female, many of them quite glamorously dressed themselves. There’s an article I came across that explains how burlesque has become less of a straight male thing over time, I guess partially because you can just go to a regular strip club if all you want to do is see boobs. I believe Dita did four routines: her famous martini glass bit, a ballet-inspired segment with a lot of feather fans, “Lazy” with a chaise lounge and glittering pink telephone, and a Western number where she rode a hot pink mechanical bull. She was accompanied in all of these by her Vontourage, male dancers Alek Palinski and Elio Martinez. There were other performers as well, three of whom recreated acts that Dita had originated: Ginger Valentine in a giant heart and Dirty Martini with a carousel horse. Zelia Rose did an act inspired by Josephine Baker involving bananas, Jett Adore a bullfight dance involving an absurd codpiece, and RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Violet Chachki gradually removing an elaborate outfit including a feathered headdress. In between were introductions and jokes by Master of Ceremonies Jonny McGovern. Photography wasn’t allowed during the show itself, but I did get some shots of the curtain call at the end.

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3 Responses to A Dita-Lightful Evening

  1. rocketdave says:

    I figured out the other day that the last burlesque show I went to was on Halloween almost six years ago. I wasn’t even aware that the local troupe was still active until last week when they uploaded a couple new videos to their long dormant YouTube channel. I used to attend their shows fairly regularly. One could even say I was practically addicted. They were a lot of fun in the beginning. And I wasn’t really even going out of any kind of prurient interest. Well, perhaps I was a little bit initially, but more than that, they were just very lively and different from what I was accustomed to. It’s like for a few hours, I was able to be a part of the lives of people who were far more interesting than me. As someone who gets embarrassed quite easily, I would not be shy to admit to liking burlesque shows. Compared to something like going to a strip club, burlesque almost feels like a wholesome form of entertainment. Once, I noticed that one of the performers had her baby with her backstage. There were always a lot of women in the audience, which I may not have expected the first time I went, which I recall was a benefit for a dog shelter.

    Part of the reason I stopped going was simply because the theater I always saw them at closed down (it was my favorite theater, too) and the only other time I saw them at a different venue, which was at a bar, it was a more uncomfortable experience. Besides, I think I sort of OD’d on burlesque. It’s kind of amazing how quickly one can get sick of watching women taking their clothes off, especially when some of those shows could last up to three hours. Also, after a while, I just got depressed as it gradually sunk in that the performers up on stage were probably having way more fun than I was capable of having myself.

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