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Monday, June 30, 2008

No 'Underboob' in Sin City? wtf!

Cheesecake Burlesque RevueVictoria's Cheesecake Burlesque Revue flew to Las Vegas earlier this month to participate in the Miss Exotic World Pageant. It all went pretty well ... except for the "underboob" scandal.

Not familiar with the Miss Exotic World Pageant? Some call it the Superbowl of Striptease. This year it was at Palms Casino, where the rich and fatuous can rent "fantasy suites" containing regulation-size bowling lanes or a basketball half-court (cheerleaders cost extra) or showers equipped with stripper poles. The pageant drew such likely lasses as Coco El Camino, BonBon Vivant, Leggsy Von Hellstroke and Pa-ooh-la the Swedish Housewife.

They certainly don't sound like girls-next-door ("Mom, Dad, shake hands with my fiancée, Miss Von Hellstroke"). They are burlesque performers -- women (mostly) who are attracted to the glamour and hilarity of yesteryear's tease-'n'-twirl shows. The humour is bawdy and the moderately risqué costumes are elaborate, inspired by fashions of the 1940s, '50s and '60s.

"It's just a big sleepover. Girls having fun. There's nothing sleazy," said Ricky Hard.

That's not this Camosun College student's real name; Ms. Hard declined to provide it. She wore a fire-engine-red PVC corset ... or was it a bustier? Black wig, Amy Winehouse eye makeup and cleavage. Attitude galore and a hooting, infectious laugh.

Also meeting me at a downtown coffee shop was Kitten Kaboodle, a.k.a. Stacey Ness, a veterinary technician at the Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital. The cheerful Kaboodle was in a black PVC corset and a little top-hat with furry kitty ears glued to it. Needless to say, their outfits made everyone else in the joint look like models for Eddie Bauer's summer khaki line. I felt I ought to have worn a leopard-skin cod-piece, just to keep up.

But let us return to the scandale du teton inférieur.

It turns out the casino licence held by the Palms, courtesy of the Nevada Gaming Commission, made it illegal for the burlesque performers to reveal the underneath of their breasts. So the dancers -- already shielding their nipples with pasties or whatever -- had to cover up from the areolas down. This in a sin city peppered with strip clubs featuring women who disrobe completely. As well, Nevada is home to legalized brothels ... so, go figure.

As Kaboodle sagely noted: "Who books a burlesque weekend at a hotel that's not allowed to show underboobs?"

She spoke loudly enough that nearby espresso swiggers -- no doubt perusing volumes of Nietzsche or Camus -- must have pondered this philosophical head-scratcher, which ranks somewhere between "Does God exist?" and "Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?"

With a touch of melancholy-- and perhaps a pinch of derision for our prudish American cousins -- Kaboodle and Hard held aloft the flesh-coloured bras they were forced to wear. The upper halves of the cups were scissored out, thus technically leaving the lower breast area covered.

Despite all, the Cheesecake Burlesque Revue was honoured to be the only Canadian troupe invited to participate (they auditioned by videotape) at the international event. True, they didn't rank highly enough to compete, but Kaboodle and Hard figure their revue is doing pretty darned well for an ensemble less than two years old.
By Adrian Chamberlain, Times Colonist

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