That’s right, we went there
Once in a while, an opportunity to experience something will come up and you won’t be able to say no because 1) you never thought the chance would come and 2) it’s just too good to pass up. Recently, that opening came up in the form of a friend asking me if I wanted to attend a burlesque night.
Now, I didn’t and still don’t know much about burlesque. When mentioned, the image I had in my head was of one Dita Von Teese in a tight black corset, ‘40s hair and a come hither look that would make anyone weak—and that’s without even mentioning her dance moves.
So on I went, armed with a few friends, an open mind and a solo drink.
On a Saturday evening, we took our seats on the second floor of The Spirits Library, making sure we had a good view of the makeshift stage set behind the bar. Other than the voice-over counting down to the show, some cigarettes and a few sips of a Vodka & Sprite, there was no build up to the performers. Not unless you count the hand job game—take your head out of the gutter, there was no ~actual~ touching of genitals; two guests just had to rub sanitizer on their hands and depict the act.
Is it strange that the woman won over the man? Perhaps not; nevertheless, the show had definitely begun.
The night had a hostess, Burlesque PH’s Fruit Pie Frankie, in all her loud, unashamed and unfiltered glory, calling us out. She set the rules: You can look and you can cheer and you can holler all you want, but you cannot touch.
The Burlesque PH performers included Antoinette Noir as Miss King Kiss Bang, Bombachits as Cupid, The Star Ore as Fan Tan Fannie and Lilith De La Nuit as Toxic
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Now I knew there would be some strip teases, some dances of provocative nature—and I got plenty of them. In fact, there were moments my female friends and I had to look away from the stage and just lock eyes for a while to avoid some of the more risqué moments. And I noticed, with a little bit of shock, that these were the same moments my male friends had their eyes glued to the stage. I would look around at our table and their necks would angle strangely to get the full effect, them never feeling my gaze.
The performances were not without fault, of course. There were some timing issues and definite wardrobe difficulties, but they were still something to see. I can still remember the difference between each one, the distinguishing factor they all claimed: Lilith De La Nuit was the innocent one, Antoinette Noir was vivacious, Bombachits was all fun and The Star Ore was the gift that kept on giving.
Still, what I remember most is the energy of the room and the cheers—though sometimes disgusting—that echoed throughout. We were all on a high, enthralled by what was happening and what we were seeing. Burlesque, as I learned that night, was more than just putting on a show; it’s about embodying a character of your own making—is she quirky? Is he sensual? Are they something else entirely?—and making everyone fall in love with you.
Burlesque night was not ~exactly~ what I expected, but it was still one hell of a night.
The Spirits Library holds burlesque night every last Saturday of the month. See you at the next one?
Art Alexandra Lara