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Friday, March 21, 2008

Great Boston Burlesque Expo and Vintage Fashion Fair

Burlesque Expo and Vintage Fahsion Fair Contemporary burlesque strives to emulate what is referred to as "The Golden Age of Burlesque." In truth, this is an era that never really existed at all. Like so many ideal times, it's a combination of myths and facts told and retold until they are a considerable distortion of what really happened. And we wouldn't want our fantasies any other way than a more grandiose and glamourous version of the reality, The Golden Age is the sampling and piecing together of Burlesque from the 1930s through the 50s. It's a quilted collage of the most evocative and arousing features of those 20-or-so years of burlesque.

Boston is a town of invented histories anyhow. (Conveniently, for example, as soon as a student moves they may entitled to claim Irish heritage, or to concoct stories of how they were nursed on stouts.) What draws us to modern burlesque isn't our dedication to legacy or accuracy—it is the mirage of sequins and crystals and lust. All of the above will be indulged at this year's Boston's Burlesque Exposition and Vintage Fashion Fair. For three days, Scratch, event director and cofounder of The Boston Baby Dolls (a local troupe of burlesque babes), invites attendees to revel in the naughtiest and most lavish parts of their imaginations. Scratch's ladies will be among the provided professional entertainment along with legends April March and Satan's Angel. Though, he cautions against the scrutinizing. "Going to a Boston Baby Dolls show and expecting to get a real history lesson," he says, "is like expecting to learn history from a Renaissance fair."

That's not to say there is little to learn at this scandalous weekend. Saturday and Sunday offer in-depth conferences for the budding professional on everything from the busin-ass of burlesque to stage dancing techniques. For the more apprehensive beginner, drop in classes will show the rest of us how to bump and grind what we've got with the best of them. Burlesque takes no prisoners. Regardless of age or size or coordination—this art form is about knowing that you are beautiful and erotic.

The Expo will also showcase some of the great wardrobes of burlesque. In addition to antiquities of performers from from the 40s, current dancing legends like Dita Von Tease will be contributing costumes for the affair. Plus there's the vintage fair, the pool parties, the newcomer's show and much more. In an act all about taking it off, Scratch explains that the ensemble is just as important as what is beneath it. And what is hiding under the feathers and silk? ... Why pasties of course! The show will feature a wall of these adhesive designs, reaffirming that ol' ma and pa philosophy that sexy is what you don't see. "There's a lot of sex in strip clubs, not a lot of sexy," says Scratch. "The girls get naked as quickly as possible. The emphasis in a strip club is on strip. The emphasis on burlesque is on tease."

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