I, Anonymous

A Rose Is a Rose


ARE YOU SERIOUS! You clearly are ignorant on what burlesque is. Please Portland...I know we have the most strip clubs then anywhere in the country, but if you are going to speak on a topic, know what you are talking about. 'Queens of the olden days' would not have done what is happening in strip clubs. Why?.....because strip clubs are not a performance. It's stripping. Burlesque performers are strippers, but by no way are they strip club strippers. They are striptease artists.

And here's a few questions, can a stripper go and get $150 or more for a show and just do one number? Can a stripper get offered a chance to go on tour? What can you offer artistically? What kind of talent does a stripper have to get booked weekly at a variety of venues nationwide? Can a stripper have a school to learn stripping (any girl can do it...it takes ZERO talent, lol. Go to some of the dive clubs...you can see that!). Can a stripper go on tour with some of the biggest names and ACTUALLY offer a quality show? Can a stripper go to Europe and perform in some of the most beautiful venues? Come on now...let's be real and EDUCATED!

Now I have nothing against strippers? Some of my family members are strippers and I started as a stripper. But to say strip club dancers and burlesque dancers are the same, completely shows your ignorance.

Unfortunately, Portland is blinded by having a strip club practically on every 10th corner. So when the art of striptease shows it's face the majority don't understand. Hell...it sounds like YOU may ever be jealous.

It would be so nice to see an article published on burlesque by a reporter or a person who ACTUALLY did REAL reporting and researched the topic. Come with some knowledge and not blinded, ignorant, one-sided, non-sense.

This makes me chuckle because I, along with quite a few more people, know that every time someone speaks negatively on burlesque...it's uneducated babble.

And it actually makes me think how it was in the early 1900's when burlesque changed over to a striptease (if you haven't figured it out, I'm pretty knowledgeable on the topic). Gypsy, Lily, Watermelon Rose, and so many others were talked about and shunned. Now they are legends. Just like the art of Olivia was shunned when she was starting and now she's every where and artist try to be like her. Whenever something new (and trust me, burlesque isn't new...just new to Portland. It's becoming more mainstream here.) comes around, people don't know what to do with it.

Stripping is talent in it's own way.
Burlesque is talent.
There is enough for both to go around.

You, my dear, clearly have issues that need to be dealt with. There are no pretension within the burlesque community, if anything burlesque is more of a sisterhood then stripping ever was and will be. Again, I am in both worlds so i can speak on them both. I'm pretty sure you are not.

"It's about being something different.". Really now? Again you are not educated on the matter and I could spends hours typing, but I think I've made my point.

Bottomline-Burlesque is here to stay and it's not going anywhere. PERIOD! So deal with it or go check out some 18 year chick hanging upside down on a pole.

...So said the pretentious stripper.
Yeah, tits!
The first clue that anonymous needs to get a life is right there at the beginning - "I''m at my wits' end". Over the difference between today's strippers and yesterday's burlesque performers? I think we're all hoping that the most important thing you're responsible for in life is posting to blogs. To expand your bleak horizons and knowledge, perhaps you should take up strip tease, which I hear used to be a part of burlesque theatre. Really not too much of the old-style (that is, from the burlesque theatre format) strip tease in town, so you should aim high and try that first. Sure, there are a lot of strippers in town but not too many that go to the extra effort that a burlesque performer does - but then, the slacker set in this town really wouldn't appreciate the effort (nor would, apparently, the self-described rich bachelors).
yes, there is a difference between a photo by Diane Arbus, a high school yearbook portrait and a snapshot of Uncle Bud in a his rotating bow tie at Thanksgiving dinner. nevertheless, there will always be someone who frames the picture of Uncle Bud and insists that it's Art (with a big A). there are still people arguing whether Ansel Adams' work is Art or "just" photography. only Time will tell. if we're still hearing about a particular "strip" act 10 years from now, maybe it is Art, after all.
I don't agree or disagree about the merit of stripping in comparison to burlesque - but I'd say the comments so far seem to validate the author's feelings...
Funny that this "Anonymous" column was already written, in more words and with less spite, just weeks prior in Exotic magazine.

Don't take my word for it. Here's the article:


Rediscovering Burlesque

Relying on low-brow humor and sexual themes, burlesque has historically mocked already-established forms of performance art, including opera, ballet, and dramatic theatre. By the mid-1940s, the WWII climate had forced many burlesque acts underground, resulting in a strengthening of the associated ideals held by performers and attendees. Roughly a century and a half after being born, burlesque has evolved into a variety of recognizable forms, including drag shows, events such as Dante's Sinferno, and to some extent, many of the Halloween parties you attended last month.

As with any form of performance art that relies on defying convention, burlesque is both static and versatile. Although a general label of "live adult entertainment" encompasses all types of flesh-advertising performance art, burlesque begs it's own definitional question. Regarding the assumption of difference between burlesque performers and exotic dancers ("strippers"), there exists a considerable tension between, as well as among, the individual subcultures. Local burlesque troupe Rose City Sirens member Squsme asserts that "strippers are erotic panhandlers, whereas (burlesque performers) are all about the tease." Going against Squsme's definition of burlesque, Dante's Sinferno, an event featuring dancers and performers archetypical to the burlesque scene, boasts the term "strippers" in their advertisements as well as during live shows. Arguably there exists a degree of definitional controversy when dealing with that which is labeled "burlesque."

Based strictly off of aesthetic qualities (pasties, g-strings, gimmicky outfits), there would appear to be no difference between what one labels as a "stripper" in one context verses what one would label a "burlesque performer" in another, unless one considers the context and environment. The key difference between "strip clubs" and burlesque performances, a distinction that both sides of the spectrum can agree on, is supposedly the way in which a burlesque performance is presented to the audience. Again noting the presence of a definitional spectrum and negating a dichotomous nature, for all intents and purposes I will use an operational definition when attempting to label a performance as burlesque:

An organized event featuring sexually suggestive (not explicit) stage performances choreographed to a complete theme (outfits, music, and attitude are consistent with style or character) that communicate a social commentary and/or a challenging of societal norms, often with the use of low-brow or socially taboo forms humor.

Based off of semantic technicalities alone, it would seem that anything from a lapdance to a stage show at Dante's could be defined as "burlesque." However, several of the performers at touring event B.O.O.B.s ("Best of Our Burlesque") insinuated that many so-called burlesque events are simply "glorified strip shows." On the other end of the spectrum, many self-identified strippers, including those who do incorporate vaudeville-style music alongside vintage outfits and a "tease" style of dancing, assert that "burlesque" is to "fat stripper" as "urban" is to "Black."

Is it true, then, that there exists no real median between the spectral points of "sleazy strip show" and "fat chicks in g-strings," or is burlesque/strip show a genre with redundant definitional differences such as rap/hip-hop?

Although it takes a one-hundred mile trek south to find it, Eugene has the anecdote for cynicism among burlesque fans: hot, talented, and yes, often naked performers. Arriving outside of John Henry's "Broadway Revue," which occurs regularly on Sundays in Eugene, I was greeted by a manager and welcomed by an emcee, both dressed in suits. Inside, a darkened and empty stage was positioned in front of several tables which were separated from the far back wall by a bar. Standard enough, I thought, and took a seat.

As two emcees introduced the first act of the night alongside several off-color jokes and a repeated emphasis on the event's motto ("classy as fuck"), I expected a firedancer or perhaps a heavily-tattooed stripper. Instead, the lights dimmed and a nude woman was painted slowly with blacklight paint while an invisible announcer did a voice-over tribute to the late Bob Ross (aka "happy little trees guy" on OPB). After another break from the emcees, including a beer-chug-off with audience member contestants, another performer took stage to perform a striptease to Weezer's "Sweater Song" using a homemade sweater designed to strip out of (individual pieces were handed to the audience). Sixteen amazing performances later, the event came to a close as the manager thanked the audience from stage.

The only thing I was not given, in terms of as-to-be-expected burlesque art, was obesity. There was no "big is beautiful" facade onstage at John Henry's, and two of the performers even referred to themselves as "strippers" (although this was offstage). Yet, more choreography, audience participation, and professionalism was displayed onstage at John Henry's than was during any other "burlesque" performance I've seen recently. It turns out that genuine burlesque is alive and quite healthy, but in Eugene.

In Portland, even events like Sinferno, a consistently tight-knit and arguably burlesque show, get pawned off as strip club siblings by spite-ridden self-identified burlesque performers. After leaving John Henry's Broadway Revue, impressed and relieved that such an event is alive (and in Eugene, at that), I could not help but wonder why there wasn't a mob of jaded fat chicks protesting the event's lack of thick women.

If there is any difference between strip clubs and burlesque performances other than the stereotypical fifty pounds of flesh added on to performers belonging to the latter category, it exists in the effort and presentation put into and coming out of a performance. Rather than relying on testimonials of jaded dancers who are either too proud or too big to identify as "strippers," one should consider a performance, not an environment or occupation, as definitional. Dante's Sinferno, John Henry's Broadway Revue, the fireshows at Devil's Point, and the witty DJ behind the booth all fall under the "burlesque" category, as humor, tease (which is technically anything up until sex), and vaudeville aspects are incorporated. Yes, fat girls in corsets count too; they are merely a piece of the larger pie, most of which is fat-free and quite tasty.
It's like the difference between a hamburger at a diner and a chopped steak sandwich at a bistro. It's the same thing, fundamentally, but you pay more for the name and atmosphere and get a larger portion at the bistro.
Who cares if they are the same or not...there is rampant overcapacity in all categories meaning....

too many strippers
too many go-go dancers
too many DJ's

We could use a good economic downturn to thin out the ranks...oh wait...that's already here

have fun