March 24, 2011

Making Noise: Meet the burlesque 'dishes'

At ease with tease: Meet the burlesque 'dishes'

By MIKE OLCOTT

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

The Dirty Dishes Burlesque Revue started as The Damsels in Burlesque in 2006, expanded to 10 women and now comprises a core of five performers.

Photo by August Dalrymple

DEAD MAN'S CLOTHES, PANDA BANDITS AND DIRTY DISHES BURLESQUE REVUE

WHEN: 8:30 p.m. (doors at 8) Saturday

WHERE: The Oak & The Ax, 140 Main St., Biddeford

HOW MUCH: $6 and $10

INFO: theoakandtheax.blogspot.com; ages 18 and older

iPod TOP 10

(Or, Dirty Dishes' top 10 performances, in no particular order):

"Be Our Guest" from Disney's "Beauty & the Beast" soundrack: "We serve up a four-course meal on our brassieres and finish with dessert."

"Human Fly," The Cramps: "Spider & Fly. Ophelia Heiny mauled by the ladybeast."

"Apple Pie," The Bastard Fairies: "Rosie Rimjob and Victoria von show off their domestic goddessness with a side of pie in the face."

"Pink Elephants on Parade," from Disney's "Dumbo" soundtrack: "Paper parasols and a chance of pink?"

"It's A Man's Man's Man's World," James Brown: "Ophelia Heiny and Rosie Rimjob drag it out man-style, with a reverse tease."

"Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)," ABBA: "Wiley I. Crisis hawks gender-defender potion and then finds her own gender bending."

"Apocalyptic Tea Party," mash-up with Venus in Furs, Velvet Underground, Sick of It All and The Toy Dolls: "Tableau tea party with the Absinthe Fairy."

"Brick House," Rob Zombie: "Mummies in sarcophagi break it down and unfurl their wrappings."

"Allegro from Spring," Vivaldi: "An interpretive striptease tribute to the great, great, great, great, great Isadora Duncan."

"Come See About Me," The Supremes: Mermaids gone wrong, fish heads instead of fins a radio drama."

 

How do you answer critics who describe what you do as anti-feminist?

Victoria von: This question breaks down to an argument about what feminism is and is not. First, it's important to acknowledge that there are many feminisms and ways of being feminist; feminism means different things to different people. Not all burlesque performers identify as feminist, and some strongly assert that they are not feminist. For the Dirty Dishes, feminism has influenced how we understand ourselves as sexual beings and how we think about performance, presentation of our bodies and representations of sex, gender and sexuality. Our burlesque is informed by our own particular experiences with feminism, and we understand that our experiences are not the same as those of other feminists. 

Why is burlesque important?

Victoria von: Too many reasons to list. Burlesque breaks down boundaries of conventional ideas surrounding sexuality: what is sexy, which types of people and bodies can be sexy, how can they be sexual. Lots of people find the representation of body types to be important, especially with the bombardment of the thin, toned bodies that populate the mainstream media. Burlesque explores sex in a really fun and exciting and glittery way. It's kind of like a fantasy world come true. You don't have to grow up to get a 9 to 5 job and get married and have babies and bake chickens. People shouldn't need a reason to have fun, but sometimes grown-ups do. Burlesque is a reason to play, to make costumes and props, to play dress-up and be silly. And if you're into it, you can add layers of thought. 

How will The Dirty Dishes dream continue to grow?

Victoria von: We put on shows that expand conventional notions of sexuality, and continue to create spaces for all types of sexual and personal expression through burlesque. Fall of 2011, we traverse the country, performing in various arts venues and spreading glittery feminism across the U.S. of A. In three years, we will open up our very own cafe: The Dirty Dish. In five years, we will commandeer an exquisite five-story building into which we will put The Dirty Dish cafe along with a burlesque club with magnificent stage and a real green room, an all-gender strip club, our offices and our penthouse artist collective.

Rosie Rimjob: We will also be coming out with a line of burlesque business wear in 2014. 

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland and Boston.

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