The Lost Art of Removing Clothes

May 31st, 2012 | By | Category: Feature

Miss PorcelainMy burlesque virginity was lost at Club Orion. Chances are you are still innocent when it comes to this darkly illuminated little art, that of “The Burlesque.” Originally a genre of British variety show, in the dance halls of an age before television and suburbs American burlesque steadily moved away from novelties and into an artistic striptease.

Bootz Durango, Greensboro’s androgynous cultural impresario, hosted the show on May 18th, which was organized by the shadowy “Jolly Roger” under “my amorphous Castaway Cabaret.” Wearing more makeup than clothing, the natural zest of Durango was able to stir up a the crowd — if the free vodka being given out by Smirnoff promoters (who happened to be size zero) were not enough to start a smile across the audience.

She arrived. Thigh high stockings and gloves that reached all the way to her ears. French music of a distinctively swanky mood from a lifetime ago filled the room as Miss Porcelain began the evening with a melt in your mouth treat of a performance from this lost genre. Sashaying across the small stage with only a chair as a prop, alongside her white and unblemished body suggesting her stage name, Miss Porcelain led the suddenly intense crowd along as she slowly began losing parts of her costume. Gloves were peeled back by her teeth and tossed to the floor, clasps and hooks were undone one by one as she grew only more confident as she steadily grew more exposed to the cheering audience.

Sex was in the air thicker than the blue haze of cigarette smoke. Burlesque involves the striptease, not the stripper in the sense you are probably thinking of. While this set was hot as a chili, it was not raunchy even when Miss Porcelain was down to her brunette hair, narrow panties and two properly placed pasties.

The burlesque revival is not solely about stripping, however, and Miss Papyrus took the stage after Bootz Durango’s growing admission that Miss Porcelain was causing him to rethink his sexual orientation. Papyrus is a mistress of the hula hoop and with techno music thumping, the efforts of DJ Crewless, after the lights were lowered she entertained the audience with a number of hula tricks all while keeping time, in essence dancing with the aid of a glow in the dark ring, a captivating and trance-like thing to watch.

Next up was Cherry Von Bomb, whose style and body were distinct from the purity of Porcelain’s form. Von Bomb is an “alternative girl” with a plentitude of tattoos though not the point that some in the subculture take it to. Nonetheless this blonde went straight to work and began a similar process of undressing herself before the audience of perhaps a hundred people, each eager to follow her movements as gloves, stockings, bras and other dainty undergarments were tossed saucily to the floor.

The process repeated, with Miss Papyrus and Durango entertaining the crowd as the props for the second half were readied. Miss Porcelain returned to cheers in her new costume, though just as satisfyingly revealing as before. This time she laced herself inside and out of a large spider web made from rope, allowing her to get into positions you just can’t when you just rely on a chair. This crowd pleasing dance reached its climax when she dropped her bra, revealing the black widow pasties.

Cherry Von Bomb’s second act was a tad more avant-garde, as she poured a bucket of glass shards onto a sheet and began dancing on top of these while undoing her corset. And yes, she was barefoot. This got some alarmed noises from the crowd who might have not been ready for a Berlin-style of artistic edginess when it comes to pain. However there was no blood and only evidence of pain came from small winces as she plucked pieces from her feet as she left the stage. This enterprising journalist asked someone in the know, and yes, it was real glass.

The lack of bleeding is a testament to the calluses built by dancers over time.

The evening pivoted as The Chit Nasty Band, a funk group hailing from the Bull City took over the entertainment for the evening, while internationally renowned body painter Moxy Foxy kept up the evening’s naughty vibes by pigmenting any of the audience brave enough to volunteer.

Don’t be so naïve. Check out The Castaway Cabaret’s upcoming show with a different cast of performers coming up on July 14th and 15th, again at the reasonably priced Club Orion on Market Street.

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