This post has been saved up to just for the Birthday of Gypsy. Happy Birthday Gypsy. Thanks for following.
It's 8.45pm. I'm on a tram heading to Fitzroy North and I'm fretting about missing my stop. Ever since I've needed glasses I get mildly more worried when catching public transport on lines I'm not familiar with. I'm counting the stops in my head and kicking off my spare flats. I wonder if anyone thinks I'm weird as I pull some heels (these heels in fact) out of my bag and slip my feet into them. More likely another girl on the tram is looking at me thinking, 'She's clever, bringing flats as well.'
Another girl, as it turns out, is Lepersava. We are blissfully unaware that we are on the same tram and don't realise until we get off at stop 15, just off Johnston St. She calls out to me and we laugh. She was admiring my shoes as I got off the tram and then realised it was me. Had we planned better, we may have figured out we would be catching the same tram.
She has come prepared too (although not with flats). She's got her camera and flash in her bag ready for tonight's show at Burlesque Bar. A friend who will be performing has invited us to the show. I'm really excited and unsure what to expect. Burlesqe has become a mainstream trend with the recent release of the film Burlesque with Cher and Christina Aguilera. I haven't seen it yet (the story line looked like it was covered completely in the 1 minute preview) and probably won't until it comes to DVD. I'm more into the real thing. So here I am, heading into the bar to see it.
The venue is very red and sexually charged. The walls are decorated with burlesque posters and ornate mirrors. A small black and white checkered stage juts out into the room. It's smaller than I expected, but then I expected a massive stage with a curtain, green room, glorious lights and round tables with diners smoking cigars. It's exactly as the title says; it's a bar. The long room is tight with people. Women out for a birthday, couples meeting up for a night out. We make our way to the bar and get some drinks and fries to await the start of the show. Time passes quickly as we are distracted by the projector screen showing the performances of famous burlesque ladies such as Dita Von Teese.
It's not long before we're all taunted by the sexily Spanish Conseula. She struts out into the bar, singing. It takes the crowd a little to notice that they're no longer listening to a recording. As she makes her way to the stage, curls and bust bouncing, heads turn. By the time she gets to the stage all eyes are on her.
We chuckle away as she finishes and begins harassing the crowd into a state of laughter and grinning. Once she has them primed, out comes the first dancer of the night: Lady Chocolate.
She delights everyone with a more traditional performance. After a taste of burlesque the crowd settles in to a state of whistling, laughing and applauding.
The performers are introduced by Conseula each time and each performance is refreshingly different. One wows the crowd with her flexibility, one teases the crowd with her fiery, themed strips and finally Lady Chocolate returns wearing (and slowly not wearing) purple to the sound of 'Start Wearing Purple' by Gogle Bordello. The song, the outfit, the routine all skillfully fire the crowd into cheers and applause.
As the lights come back up people leave in groups. It doesn't take long before the venue is almost empty. We hang around with the bar staff talking about burlesque and drinking bourbon. By midnight, Lep and I walk back out of the bar to the tram stop to make our way home.
After seeing my first show, I swear every light and star on the way home looks like sequins and dimanties.
If you've loved the pictures of the night taken by Lepersava, view the full set on flickr here or check out her blog: http://www.lightscamerascream.net