Samantha Wexler for Curtains Up
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Last night was my first ever Burlesque show. I had heard of Burlesque before but was not entirely sure what it was all about, I had a vague notion but nothing prepared me for what I was about to experience! When my husband and I arrived at The Wiggle Room there were many people waiting outside to see if there would be room enough for them to be able to see what I understand was a completely sold out show. This was also the first time that my name was on ”the list” of people who were granted access to a show or club.
The atmosphere in The Wiggle Room was very warm and decadent with parted velvet curtains held back by lavish gold tassels adorning the exposed brick walls. The venue was lit mostly by the warm flickering of candlelight reflecting in the lush leather seating as well as some mood lighting to add to the effect. Many people, both performers and non performers had gotten into the spirit of the burlesque and were donning their corsets as well as fancy hats and other fun and flamboyant accessories. On the brick walls were photos of some burlesque performers that were made to look vintage. The energetic buzz in the room was very welcoming and open. Many of the people knew each other and were enthusiastically greeting each other with hugs, handshakes and double cheek kisses.
The show started with Billy L’Amour who was a guest MC who did a number before settling into the MC job. As the MC L’Amour was charming, funny and sometimes outrageous with innuendoes and even a spirited performance of “Happy Birthday” to someone’s pants while they were wearing them.
The headliner for the evening was Roxi DLite, a star in her own right who has won many awards including the Burlesque Hall of Fame’s Queen of Burlesque Miss Exotic World, who titillated the crowd with her beautifully sparkly and stunning outfits and pinup girl physique not once but twice during the evening. Somewhat surprisingly some of the most enthusiastic cheering for the women who were onstage performing were from women in the audience which was really interesting to see and hear because stereotypically one would think that it would be the men in the crowd that would be going wild for the performers and not the women. One performer that stood out was a stellar improv burlesque act by Lisa Vigneault who played the southern Vanderbilt character. She was both hilarious and charming as the southern belle who was perpetually too hot and needed to strip down stating coquettishly “It is like I planned this or something” while the crowd roared in gales of laughter. She not only made the crowd laugh but also interacted with the crowd in a way that no other performer, except the MC Billy L’Amour did making her act truly stand out from the rest.
Other acts included the sultry L. Diablo who did a sexy rendition of a CanCan dance, The Lady Josephine who entertained as the saucy and sultry waitress “Bitsy”, Lou Lou la Duchesse de Rière also performed a new act last night with her mom and biggest fan in the crowd cheering her on! As well as Sue Snyder and Jesse Lund who were both part of a belly dancing act, Snyder as the dancer and Lund as the guitar player/singer. All the acts were phenomenal and I wondered to myself why I had not been to a burlesque show before; not only was it entertaining but it was a night of good fun, laughter and amazing people. As Billy L’Amour stated “Burlesque is a celebration of life” and I could not agree more.