Nude as the news.

Nani Poonani, by the lovely and talented artist Kelly Brownlee.

One of the most charming (if not delightfully insidious) qualities of Seattle’s burlesque and cabaret community is the way its members rear their dazzling heads in the oddest of places from time to time.  We’re everywhere.

Case in point, local starlet BenDeLaCreme’s recent short porn flick for HUMP! closed the festival with a little of Ben’s usual flair.  “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber was retooled as a romp through classic psycho-killer horror scenes with a side of dancers and what else? Pretty makeup and swingin’ dicks. 


Meanwhile, news recently hit that Seattle’s Jinkx Monsoon (Freedom Fantasia, Bacon Strip, Homo for the Holidays) has been selected to appear on the fifth season of guilty pleasure reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race.  Atta girl!


Local artist Kelly Brownlee will be popping up at the Triple Door’s Musicquarium Lounge First Thursday Art Opening next week, where all of her burlesque work will finally be on display.  The art show will be in the style of vintage dioramas,  giving the portraits of burlesquers we know and love (such as Jamie Von Stratton, Nani Poonani, The Shanghai Pearl,  and Olympia’s Own TUSH!) a pop-up feel.  Where burlesque is concerned, that’s always a good thing. 

Kelly got started creating art as a young girl, then studied illustration in college and produced work  for Seattle Magazine and Microsoft soon after.  Some may recall Kelly’s work for Trophy Cupcakes, which coincidentally appeared on my fave sex writer’s blog (fyi, that’s Rachel Kramer Bussel’s cupcake side blog). “I felt I found my niche after doing my first art show at Trophy Cupcakes,” Kelly told me. “I illustrated whatever made me happy and brought joy to me. For me, those topics were anthropormorphic food characters, play on words, and burlesque!” 

Jamie Von Stratton, by Kelly Brownlee

“I got into burlesque after watching A Wink and a Smile,” Kelly recalls. “I saw The Shanghai Pearl perform and was enamored.  Here was a woman who exuded confidence and glamour and also played with the ideas around cultural stereotypes. I loved what she had to say. I was inspired that night to draw her. The next day, feeling like a silly teenage fan, I sent her a portrait of herself – not really expecting to hear back. But she did write back instantly. And soon after, I was doing work for her. The Pearl really brought me into the burlesque community, introducing me to performers locally and internationally. I attended more and more shows and those shows influenced my work. The humor, beauty and sauciness was something I could identify with on many levels. On a social level, the burlesque community is an amazing group of love and support…they continue to inspire me to create more and more.”

Stop by for a special First Thursday extended happy hour and  peek at more of Kelly’s work December 6 at the Triple Door’s Musicquarium Lounge.


But back to the insidious… producers Randi Rascal and Heidi Von Haught have posted a call for proposals and auditions for their dirtiest little secret, the new installment of That’s F*cked Up!  (Although truthfully it’s not a secret anymore – the show’s popularity increases every year due to its provocative subject matter and carefully curated lineup).  Here’s a little snippet from the call – but we encourage you to start thinking now, and to check out the full event listing:  “As an art form, we believe burlesque is at its most powerful when performances cause their audiences to feel strong emotions and question their beliefs about cultural norms. We endeavor to bring together a cast of performers who are passionately dedicated to their art and willing to create performances that are challenging in both their content and delivery. We believe that discomfort leads to growth. Therefore, we are working to create a show that is entertaining and difficult, compelling and provocative….”


In other news, everybody loves IVA. Iva Handfull, that is. She’s one of Seattle’s most charismatic performers, the lady behind Haute Under the Collar, and a damn fine person as well.  On November 30, Glitter Friday will ravish Fred Wildlife Refuge on Capitol Hill as Iva, Seraphina Fiero, and some of the biggest names from the double-headed world of Seattle performance and fashion host a fundraiser for the Burlesque Hall of Fame. Here’s the scoop:

Glitter Friday: a Fundraiser for the Burlesque Hall of Fame

7:30pm doors, 8:30pm fashion show, 9:30ish shopping & dance party
@ Fred Wildlife Refuge in Capitol Hill, 127 Boylston Avenue East, Seattle.  Tickets available:

Black Friday has nothing on Glitter Friday! Join us for a sparkly spectacle of couture highlighting Seattle-area Burlesque and Performing Artist fashion designers. A fashion show unlike any you are sure to see! Clothing and accessories for every body, designed and modeled by our Seattle Burlesque community. Not only will you be able to see the most fabulous styles strut the red carpet, you will also be able to purchase some of these unique designs or discuss plans for your custom design needs, as our designers will be available or vending post-fashion show. After Glitter Friday shopping is complete, cut a move on the dance floor at the post-fashion show dance party. Full bar available all night and as mentioned, we’ll have the most delicious snacks by Fig Tree Organics.


Glitter Friday is a fundraiser for the BURLSQUE HALL OF FAME (BHOF). All proceeds and your donations sustain the ongoing preservation of museum items and also help our beautiful Burlesque Legends attend their yearly sparkly congregation. For more information regarding the Burlesque Hall of Fame visit


Another unusual event to get on your radar:  Saturday December 8, the always intriguing La Petite Mort and Kevin Incroyable present Morbid Curiositease at the Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater.  I love that they felt absolutely no allegiance to holiday motifs with their concept, or their poster…unless you count the colors. Here’s the ‘safe’ version:

 …Although if you really want to think of it as a seasonal show, the show’s listing reads, in part, “…Solstice is upon us and only the most carnal of offerings will suffice.”  Three cheers for the strange and peculiar!  Hosted by Vincent Drambuie, the show features:

M. Incroyable and the West Seattle Ditch Diggers
Randi Rascal
Cherry Manhattan
Sailor St. Claire
Boom Boom L’Roux
La Petite Mort
Ace Carter

I asked the lovely shadowy lady herself – La Petite Mort – about her darker proclivities. She explained that in addition to being a huge fan of horror and the macabre, she strives to produce shows that will appeal to like-minded individuals. “I want to establish a brand of providing quality shows ranging from dark undertones to full on bloody,” she said.

With the two shows that she regularly produces, a rotating dark cabaret series that draws heavily from sideshow stylings and Morbid Curiositease (the more burlesque-laden of the two), La Petite Mort strives to provide a platform where burlesque performers can explore their darker sides.  These acts don’t always have a proper channel in variety formats, but there’s plenty of people –  myself included- that enjoy seeing what happens when there aren’t any rules or decorum.  Like La Petite Mort herself, the darker side of burlesque can be both unsettling and beautiful.


Another bit of news this week comes from hot tipper The Shanghai Pearl, who recently brought NYC burlesque performer Nasty Canasta’s intelligent blog postings to our attention.  (Ms. Nasty is also co-creator/co-producer of Pinchbottom Burlesque).  As for Shanghai, her “DIY Showgirl” series returns December 13 and 15, offering those with anywhere from zero to megatons of crafting talent to come birth some sparkly bits with her just in time for holiday giving.  Here’s the lowdown:

Thursday, December 13: Pretty Pastie Primary School

Saturday, December 15: Headdresses, Fascinators, and YOU!

Make a reservation over at

The Shanghai Pearl, by Kelly Brownlee


Finally, we couldn’t wrap up this week’s news without an emphatic nod to our beautiful and bawdy sisters to the southwest…Olympia’s Own TUSH! Burlesque will once again rock the somewhat bizarre but much appreciated annual Repeal Prohibition Day Celebration at their beloved Capitol Theater. Get your bootleg booze and burlesque on December 5- tickets available HERE.

TUSH! by Kelly Brownlee. (Isn’t it fabulous how many of Kelly’s illustrations fit this posting? See you at the art opening…)

~ by angrytruffle on 11/28/2012.

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