The Depot Goes Topless
Burlesque show and dance lesson raises eyebrows
October 5, 2006 8:39 PM
Breast tassels, topless ladies, and someone yelling “Tease me! Tease me!” were all part of the fun during the burlesque show at The Depot at SF State Thursday night.
Bombshell Betty, Isis Starr, and Coconut Crème performed their show, “Scenes from a Dressing Room: A Brief Tale of Burlesque” with an actual burlesque performance and dance lesson at The Depot.
The show began with a short play which was co-written by Bombshell Betty and Isis Starr.
“While driving back to San Francisco from a burlesque convention in Vegas, Isis told me about her dream of writing a burlesque play set in the dressing room including actual burlesque performances,” said Bombshell Betty, 28. “We started brainstorming, decided to work together on the project, and here we are.”
The performance was supposed to start at 5 p.m. but did not begin until about 5:20 p.m. due to the microphone checks, lighting arrangements and video camera placements.
Once the performance began there was immediately a microphone situation, and a stagehand had to go onstage and turn on Isis Starr’s microphone, which was scandalously placed near her backside.
“I think I embarrassed him,” Starr said with a wicked grin.
The first portion of the show was a short play and was mainly about the conversations and the actions that go on backstage during a burlesque show, including gossiping, drinking and getting dressed for the performance. Bombshell Betty and Isis Starr were the starring actors, while Coconut Crème acted as an emcee and had a cameo in the show.
After the play there was a brief intermission, then each of the girls in the play did her own burlesque dance number.
Coconut Crème did a dance number to “Puttin’ on the Ritz” complete with a cane, a tailed tuxedo jacket and a top hat.
Bombshell Betty opted for a more classical music choice dancing to Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5.” It was slightly interpretive and graceful until she came across a snag when she was trying to remove her corset and the strings would not come undone.
As she struggled, someone in the back of the room yelled “Take it off,” to which Betty replied, “I’m trying.”
After finally getting scissors and cutting the strings, she unveiled booby tassels and began spinning them while the audience cheered.
Finally it was legendary burlesque performer Isis Starr’s turn to wow the crowd. Starr, who is in her 60s and a grandmother, took it off, and someone yelled. She then donned breast tassels and stripped to the tune of “Razzle Dazzle” from the play “Chicago.”
The burlesque topless dances drew in people from the outside who were curious about the noise that was being generated from The Depot.
Alison Victor, The Depot entertainment manager, was worried that this particular show, as it was a burlesque show and involved female nudity, might offend the women’s center on campus, but Bombshell Betty said “Bring it on!”
Victor taped the performance for Bombshell Betty and for a video blog she is doing for Student Services.
In addition to the performance, Bombshell Betty gave a short dance lesson from her burlesquercise classes, which featured exercises involving burlesque dance moves. This was followed by a dance party with music provided by DJ Stylewise.
Victor was excited about the dance lesson, and even dressed for the occasion by wearing a black corset over a black shirt.
This is the first time a burlesque show like this one has been performed at The Depot, but Victor hopes it will not be the last.
“I think burlesque is empowering for women,” Victor said. “I also thought doing a show like this one at The Depot would be fun and interesting for SF State students.”
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