Burlesque: is the end nigh?

From the title of this post, I expect regular readers will wonder if this is yet another piece where I ponder whether my burlesque alter ego should be retired. This time, however, my worries are somewhat larger. Once the country has seen Christina Aguilera in the movie Burlesque, I fear that the good stuff may lose its market altogether.

I found some Burlesque movie tie-in hosiery in Debenhams last week (see image), and then I heard that Aguilera performed a song from the film on this weekend’s X-Factor final show (causing a great deal of complaints from Daily Mail readers in the process). So, how long before this is the image associated with burlesque in the minds of the majority of the UK population? This screams cabaret to me, far more than it hints at burlesque.

If promoters veer towards the choreographed dance numbers and glittertits version of burlesque that this movie champions, what’s going to happen to the sort of creativity that brought us Diva Hollywood’s The Evolution of Women, Marianne Cheesecake as Charlie Chaplin, and Mysti Vine’s filthily funny V-stume?

There is a market for both, but I think using the same label for these two types of performance could be somewhat confusing for the potential audience. It seems more like Aguilera’s starring in ‘Showgirls 2010’ but, of course, I can’t really comment until I’ve seen it so a review will follow. Whatever the future holds for burlesque though, there is one good thing about this mainstream interest… it’s sparking some intelligent debate (albeit only in The Guardian so far).

Main image via slashfilm.com.

3 thoughts on “Burlesque: is the end nigh?

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  1. All this fascinates me. I think the line between cabaret and burlesque is a fuzzy one and when the discussion veers into “all burleswue is about boobs with glitter and feathers” it seems as crazy to me as saying all music is rap.

    Every performer is different. This weekend I watched Ginger Blush waddle around the stage dressed as an inflatable snowman and Ki Ki Kaboom dressed as a chav. Both completely different acts, both burlesque and neither particularly glittery or sexy!

    At the same event I saw a chubby man dressed as an elf strip down to his stripy long johns and climb inside a giant balloon, but no one felt the need to discuss whether he was being exploited or making a mockery of his gender. Why is it only women who have to answer these questions and feel guilty about the political significance of their performances?

    Anyway, I have work to do! Maybe this should be a post of my own?!

  2. A friend posted something on Facebook, asking for comments on Laurie Penny's article. I said that I thought she was generalising, which wasn't entirely helpful. Penny replied to say that she was right and that sometimes you need to generalise. Hmm.

    I'll be interested to read both your blog posts on this subject.

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