On April 5-7, the St. Mary’s (SMCM) Burlesque Club held its spring burlesque show, titled Ifs, Ands, or Butts, in St. Mary’s Hall to a packed and extremely supportive crowd. The show opened with the club’s president, Miss Bella Vita, and co-vice president, The D.C. Chickadee, introducing the performance and the MC’s, Dr. Drei-Del and Easy Rider. After telling the audience how much they appreciated them coming out to see the performance, The D.C. Chickadee said with her typical humor and wit, “You could say we appreciate the student body.”
The performers all used stage names to maintain anonymity and mystery, and it was extremely effective; except for the few audience members who knew their friends’ stage names, it was a source of great anticipation and excitement to wait for the lights to come up and reveal which performer was on stage.
The acts ranged from a balletic performance by Miss Daisy Divine, to “Blue Velvet” by Lana Del Ray, to a messy but fabulous act by The Sweetest Tea a mix of “Let’s Make a Pie,” “Candy Shop,” and “Birthday Cake” that ended with her spraying whipped cream and chocolate syrup on herself and eating a cupcake. Most of the acts had one performer, but there were two pieces that used more: the first was a hysterical three-person pirate-themed act that incorporated sword-fighting and jealous lovers, and the second was a hauntingly beautiful horror/zombie act complete with simulated blood and gore.
The show had two Acts and seventeen performances, with the two halves separated by an intermission activity. On Friday, April 5, The D.C. Chickadee and Miss Bella Vita orchestrated a pasty raffle, with the prizes personally made by members of the burlesque club. On Saturday and Sunday, the SMCM improvisation group, Take One! Improv, gave a hysterical performance based on audience-suggested scenarios.
Rather than having a stage crew clear the stage of clothing and glitter after each performance, the burlesque club continued its tradition of costumed stage hands, called stage kittens, who set up and cleaned up the stage before and after each act with their typical sass and occasional meowing. Their duties ranged from putting down a tarp before the messier pieces to setting up a pole for Poetry N Motion’s fantastic performance, which took place entirely on the pole and showcased her strength and artistry as she expertly executed spins and flips, occasionally only using one arm or leg to hold herself onto the pole.
Most of the acts had some kind of additional theme or attention-grabber apart from people taking their clothes off. Mirage, for example, had a The Hobbit-inspired performance to “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” by Leonard Nimoy and had the lights shut off as she became “invisible” by putting on the Ring. Babydoll performed a cute and entertaining piece to “Sweater Weather” by The Neighborhood in which she would put on and take off various sweaters until deciding she was more comfortable in her own skin. Additionally, many of the acts included acrobatics such as tumbles and splits, as well as both traditional and modern dance moves.
During a talkback with the performers, they exhibited their wit and grace while answering questions that ranged from where they purchased their outfits (“Your local Internet,” answered one performer with a rye smile) to how they picked their songs and themes. Miss Daisy Divine answered the latter question saying, “I didn’t have one particular moment of inspiration, I just listened to a bunch of songs,” and many performers nodded in agreement.
All in all, the spring burlesque performance was an entertaining night that combined sex appeal with humor, storytelling, and glitter.
The next set of performances will occur during the Fall 2013 semester, and will certainly elaborate and expand on the already very impressive SMCM burlesque club legacy.