Burlesque Music and erotic culture
Burlesque Music and erotic culture
A ''wild'' field of musical styles, books and DVDs - Burlesque
What is Burlesque?
Burlesque was and still is a specific sort of entertainment presented in theatres featuring its main attraction, the striptease. Those Burlesque shows presented female erotic dancers who did not take off all clothes completely but some specific. Just to strip off gloves could have been an erotic attraction.
The first Burlesque shows
Burlesque was originally a humorous stagy presentation with bizarre elements of parody. The name comes from the Italian word 'Burla' which means 'hoax', practical jokes. Variations of Burlesque shows existed all over Europe in the 17th century including the Vaudeville shows in France. The displacement from provocative parodic comedy to salacious erotic shows was carried out in London, England, in the mid-19th century when the original Burlesque show was combined with revue elements to give it an erotic connotation with a rising popularity within Britain's working class. Such a transformation also happened with the French Vaudeville shows at about the same period.
The beginning of American Burlesque
The first American Burlesque shows evolved close to the American Vaudeville from guest performances by British and French Travesty showcases in the second half of the 19th century while the modern Burlesque as a stage show is mainly influenced by Paris Vaudeville theatres such as 'Moulin Rouge' and 'Folies Bergère' imitated by the 'Ziegfeld Follies' in the early 20th century.
The popularity of early American Burlesque was rising quickly through its nationwide presentations within 'Carny-Shows' of traveling circusses. The 1920s and 30s saw the first heyday of American Burlesque especially when the Minsky brothers opened up the first legendary Burlesque temple ('Minsky's Burlesque') in New York City, 1925. Interrupted by World War II, Burlesque was tentatively re-animated as a support service for U.S. troops stationed overseas.
The post-war years, late 1940s - early 1960s
Since then Burlesque exists in a great variety of different forms which integrates the Pin-Up culture of the 1940s and 1950s. Major Burlesque stars and starlets became immense popular starring not only in theatres but also on celluloid. Hollywood created plenty of now legendary Burlesque movies aside the beginning of the porn movie industry. There were Bettie Page, Tempest Storm and Lily St. Cyr and even Mamie van Doren and Jayne Mansfield acted burlesque in some movies during the 1950s and early 1960s.
The sexual revolution and Neo Burlesque
The sixties saw another heyday of Burlesque popularity. Even Elvis Presley starred in a movie thematizing 'Carny-Shows' and a little Burlesque called 'Roustabout'. The 1960s also brought us Russ Meyer's titty shaker cult movies and the sexual revolution. The result was that Burlesque became less popular due to major distribution of pornography on one hand and the feminist movement on the other. The 1990s saw a great Burlesque comeback that was started in the capital city of Burlesque, Las Vegas, Nevada, under the headline of New Burlesque or Neo Burlesque with such stars as Dita von Teese. Today nostalgic Burlesque shows are existing all over the world.
Burlesque culture at Bear Family Records
We have a great variety of popular and rare products regarding Burlesque shows and its history in place. We do not only offer books what you might have thought! We also include reproductions of original 1950s Burlesque movies on DVD and of course the music on CD albums and on vinyl as 45rpm singles and vinyl LP albums! We got the legendary 1962 Burlesque smash 'The Stripper' by David Rose & His Orchestra in our program as well as the cult series 'Las Vegas Grind', erotic compilations with female stars like Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn and Diana Dors and a striptease classics collection on the compilation 'Take It Off'. You'll find the so-called 1960s 'titty shakers' in our stock and the British compilation 'It's A Scandal! Songs For Soho Blondes'. And there's so much more to be found! So don't hesitate, dive deep into the history of Burlesque and female erotic dance shows! The Swallows vocal group once sang 'It Ain't The Meat, It's The Motion' – how true it is!