Rose City Shimmy returns to Noc Noc.

Hai Fleisch of Rose City Shimmy performing last month at Noc Noc (POC Photo)

Last month’s visit from Portland burlesque collective Rose City Shimmy was memorable not only for the finely tuned bumps and grinds, but for a particularly raucous audience response. Men were hollering, ladies were shrieking- it could have been flesh-pinching pandemonium had the ladies not been such consummate teasers. Host(ess) Diva le Déviant (freely referring to herself as “The Bitch In Charge”) kept the crowd and its sprinkling of birthdays and bridesmaids on task with foul-mouthed sass, not unlike a brassy Bette Midler.

Another memorable detail about Rose City Shimmy was their exquisitely detailed costuming- from beautiful hand-made shimmy belts, embellished corsets, and golden Isis wings to…chipmunk genitalia. There was a little bit of everything, and it was all visibly well-made to the point where snatching discarded sundries off the floor for a closer look was severely tempting.

Itty Bitty Bang Bang (POC Photo)

If you missed them last month, you can see a whole new set of Rose City Shimmy acts and feast your eyes on the costumes (and what’s underneath them) when the ladies return to Noc Noc Thursday, February 23. Reservations are at capacity, but there are a handful of unreserved seats that are up for grabs when doors open at 9pm. For the best chance of getting a seat, arrive a little before 9pm to get in line before doors open. (Noc Noc, Downtown Seattle, $15).

As for the art of costuming, here’s what the girls have to say:

Burlesque Seattle Press: Your costumes and headpieces are always exquisite- PDX ladies really kick the costuming up a notch. Do you make them?

Charlotte Treuse: I make all of my own. Part of why I wanted to be a performer was because I loved the opulent burlesque costumes so much. I find it totally relaxing to sew, and my favorite “days off” are days just spent holed up with my man and my cats, working on something sparkly and fabulous. When I first started out I made everything except for my corsets and my panties, and now I’ve learned how to make those too.

I also have been doing costuming for some other performers, most notably Baby Le’Strange and Perle Noire. Baby’s hot dog is my creation, and I’ve made her a Martian set, and her Blue Velvet robe as well. I’ve been working with Perle for months now. I am in the process of making her “exotic mystere” costume… I hope to open an Etsy store specializing in burlesque lingerie in the next few months. My fantasy is to support myself sewing. A girl can dream.

Charlotte Treuse (POC Photo)

Burlesque Seattle Press: I loved your Chipmunk Act, Baby- where do you come across your gigantic and bizarre costumes? Do they find you somehow, and then you create an act around them? Or is it the other way around?

Baby Le’Strange: As for my hot dog, Charlotte made it. I cam up with the idea and she made the costume come to life. There are still pieces of the costume in the works that will debut when the Speedbump tour comes through Portland.

The chipmunk came about at a party at my friend’s house. There was this hideous head sitting above the cupboards in the kitchen. It looked like a beat up beaver. I of course took it down and started thrusting around with it on my head. I thought, “I have to use this someday”. Then came Stripped Screw’s request for me to guest in the Disney show in Portland. I begged my friend to “lend” me the head so I could make a Chip and Dale style act. I had my friend that works for the Portland Opera paint it up for me, then I imagined the act. Since the head was bringing me do much joy I my friend let me keep it. This costume will also be getting a small overhaul by Charlotte in the future. I always feel like my acts are a constant work in progress.

Baby Le'Strange's "Chipmunk" number (POC Photo)

Burlesque Seattle Press: A question for Hai: I remember those amazing Isis wings from when I came for the Stolen Sweets Secret Society show- they’re amazing. Did you make the wings and your beautiful ship headpiece? Your champagne bottle was also hilarious.

Hai Fleisch: As far as the wings, I wish I could say that I made them but I ordered mine from a company in Egypt. They’re so fun to play with! I did make the ship hat though, and the rest of the costume. I was inspired by the ladies of Marie Antoinette’s era wearing little ships in their powdered wigs. I also built the champagne bottle, which I had to pattern myself.

POC Photo’s full set of Rose City Shimmy’s January Noc Noc show can be seen HERE.

~ by angrytruffle on 02/23/2012.

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