Our first story comes from Canada where a burlesque troupe has been creating many positive conversations since their appearance at the Talking Stick Festival in Vancouver which showcases Aboriginal artists.
At first glance Virago Nation look much like any other burlesque group but they have a very deep mission - to “reclaim indigenous sexuality from the toxic effects of colonisation.” In Canada, where they claim the representations of Aboriginal women’s sexuality are both few and constraining, their work is designed to empower “all people, especially indigenous women” and to bring them “a healthy, fun relationship with their bodies”. During the Talking Stick Festival in February they not only put on shows, but also participated in a two day ‘pay what you can’ burlesque class. As is so often the case with burlesque, its performers are at the forefront of conversations about identity and power.
A burlesque themed wedding has become so much of a thing that it’s hardly worth mentioning now, unless people have panthers as ushers or swing from a trapeze while making their vows, but just because it’s become mainstream, doesn’t mean it’s always easy for the bride to find what she needs. Once you’ve got your burlesque wedding dress - and we love the way cream taffeta flatters every skin tone - it’s important to be able to follow through your burlesque theme, which is where your choice of entertainment can be crucial to establishing the tone for your celebration. Some clever ideas we’ve seen recently included:
1. having a Vamp and Tramp box on every table at the reception - when a bell rang, people had a set amount of time to take out the costumes, get into them and get into pose before the roving photographer took a picture that was instantly displayed on a digital screen.
2. hiring Vice-Cream girls and guys to walk around with trays containing toppings for the vanilla ice-cream that was served for pudding, like the old-fashioned cigarette girls
Whatever you choose to do, it’s that element of dramatic surprise that will give your guests an unforgettable experience. Btw, please don't have panthers for ushers, it’s cruel to big cats and will probably distract your guests from the wedding!
“Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter Tribe” reviews
This documentary is receiving mixed reviews in the USA, with many people seeing it as positive and empowering while others comment on the lack of depth in the interrelationships between the performers. That’s an interesting take, given that Producer/Director Jon Manning claims that his intention was to explore not just why burlesque performance is popular but also why the performance call themselves a tribe. Following eight burlesque performers over seven years, the film aimed to watch them “evolve their craft of tease, and develop relationships with one another”. In the first he’s definitely succeeded but there are questions about how deeply this film digs into the subculture of burlesque and what makes it so important to its performers and its audience.