20 Sep 2016

Burlesque Hall of Fame

From Nights, 7:12 pm on 20 September 2016

Crystal Mischief from Undieground Burlesque travelled to the US to the Burlesque Hall of fame to interview the older legends who are still "working it" on stage.

Read an edited excerpt from the interview below:

Tell me about some of the legends, as you call them.

A legend is someone who performed earlier or around 1975.

Is there any reason for that year or is it an arbitrary cut-off point?

I think it is an arbitrary cut-off point. With anything like this, there are a whole series of politics around it. I have seen 85 year olds on that Burlesque Hall of Fame stage.

Can they still do it?

Totally. They do it better than some of the young girls, it’s amazing.

I would have thought age is the enemy of burlesque. Is it the opposite?

Well, choreography is ageless. So the minute the music starts and a legend gets into the routine, you don’t see the way they have aged and it is quite mesmerising. I was a bit taken back by it the first time I saw legends perform. It was a really emotional and humbling experience. It was beautiful.

Was it a little unusual to see old people – 60, 70, 80 – doing sexy stuff?

Yeah, because it comes back to that whole… in the media and in mainstream TV shows and films kind of thing… you have your last day where you get up to an age where you can’t perform anymore…

Well, there’s a whole thing about people reach a certain age and you’re not supposed to be interested in sex anymore.

Right. Which, again, is clearly not the case. I got to meet and hang out with and have become quite good friends with people like Camille2000. Some of the bad girls of burlesque. Camille actually rode off the stage of the Burlesque Hall of Fame after she MC’d on a motorcycle.

How old is Camille2000? We’ve got a photo of her on the website… she’s got a good head of hair on her.

That’s the thing with these legends, is that their hair is beautiful, their makeup is beautiful, their costumes are beautiful. It doesn’t matter that they’re 60, 70, 85 years old, they still turn out how they would when they were in their 20s.

Who is Bic Carrol?

Bic Carrol is a lovely gentleman who now resides in Las Vegas and he is one of the older gentlemen of the boylesque scene, he started the Men of Burlesque movement. Boylesque is a genre. That is what we call the male dancers.

What does he dress up in?

This year he dressed up in... a farmer outfit. That was his background, farming. He really took his routine this year back to his roots, so the bumbling old farmer. It was a delightful routine.

When the men do it is it still a sexual thing? Or is he more of a parody of himself?

That routine was a parody of himself, but there were those pockets of sexiness in there as well. This is what he would teach the performers who came to see him. It’s just amazing. He’s teaching young male performers how to be sexy, because it’s different when you’re a male. You hold your hands differently, the choreography is slightly different as well, so it is important to have mentors like that in our industry.