Electic Burlesque is a body of work that focuses on the large traditional and neo burlesque scene in Seattle. As one of the major burlesque capitals of the world, Seattle is rich in this seductive and provocative art. Electric Burlesque explores the defining elements of burlesque - the "art of tease" through the images taken during live performances as well as through the performers themselves with their interpretations provided on the website. Each image has been stylized and handmade into light boxes. Follow the links to view the gallery space and press coverage from this exhibit.
The burlesque troupe Sinner Saint Burlesque, the longest running weekly burlesque show in Seattle, opened the exhibition in London with an act created specifically for this body of work. Click below to view a promo video highlighting the Sinner Saint Burlesque performance.
"I created this act for the Americana show, which was the Sinner Saint Burlesque troupe's interpretation of American kitsch and pop culture.
It is a comical slap-stick routine about going shopping, eyeing a must have pink guitar, strategically planning out how to steal it, then rocking out when I succeed in obtaining it - all the while taking my clothes off, of course!
I do the act to Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock," because I think Elvis is the quintessential American kitsch and the song was highly appropriate. I enjoy integrating comedy into almost everyone of my acts. I am inspired by musicals from the 40's and 50's. I love John Waters films, Lucille Ball and drag culture.
I want to creat a spectacle, filled to the brim with camp and flare!"Lady Ta Tas
"This costume and act was inspired by a collaboration with a cartoon artist Ellen Forney and it was first performed at her book release party.
I wanted the BANG font to feel cartoon like.
The act is a tribute to all kinky people and to sex workers. It pays homage to Forney's book LUST, a compilation of all the illustrations she has published weekly in The Stranger's Lust Lab ads.
The Stranger, Seattle's popular weekly alternative newszine, is all about edgy and the Lust Lab ads are aimed at the super kinky and those seeking new erotic experiences in the Seattle area."Fuchsia FoXXX
"This is from my Poison Ivy act. As the red-headed super villainess, I fan dance to Herb Albert's brass band version of "Love Potion #9".
I tried to make the eye holes in the mask as big as possible so the audience could still register expression on my face.
I think it worked out pretty well."Evilyn Sin Claire
"In burlesque, performers are given a space in which to explore and combine other areas of performance training and expertise in the realms of dance and theater.
As an exotic dancer with a background in modern dance, I find burlesque the perfect canvas on which to combine different approaches to feminie strength, grace and physicality.
The Puma act is highly gymnastic and its movement vocabulary is highly informed both by principles and classical dance and conventional stripping.
The combination is potent, powerful and deeply satisfying meeting the worlds within my body."Jesse Belle-Jones
"The costume in this act is famous because it's so noisy and spectacular. As a gender bending dance ingenue. I tear up the stage to an upbeat dance song that always gets people bouncing in their chairs.
The act is a tribute to the North Pacific Gyre, the largest ecosystem on our planet and the site of an unusually intense collection of man-made marine debris, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. So the performance is based on all things plastic.
In fact,The Luminous PariahFierceis costumed entirely of assorted recycled polyethylene."
"A deeply empowering aspect of burlesque is the performer's choice of when, how and whether to reveal her body to an audience.
While stripping and titillation are key aspects to a burlesque performance, the manner in which the performer cultivates desire is entirely up to her. The choice to reveal can be as compelling as the choice to conceal.
Sharing one's body with an audience celebrates the human form as beautiful and sexual at the same time as it celebrates a woman's power to share or withhold her body."Jesse Belle-Jones
"I am enchanted by snow. I love performing in this royal, magical, white and sparkly costume. It feels so still and peaceful but at the same time expansive."Fuchsia FoXXX
"This playful and sweet act was Bunny Monroe's first number performed outside of the troupe The Atomic Bombshells Burlesque. In that troupe I go by the name Ruby Mimosa.
The Candy Striper act incorporates two costume pieces: a sherbert and cream striped vintage outer top and bottom, and hot orange and blue tringe bikini.
I love the bright candy colors, which is why I created the number. I believe using bump, grind, shimmy and shake elements gives this a comedic and classic piece a giant zing. At the same time it allows both me and the audience the to satiate our sweet tooth."Bunny Monroe
All the Beautiful Boys
"The chorus in the song for this act includes the wordsFuchsia FoXXXAll the beautiful boys...and for me this is a tribute to all the transgendered men that femmes love and lose. At the time I created the piece I was falling in love with my first partner who was transitioning from female to male."
"This photo is from the Atomic Bombshells Valenties show entitled J'Adore. The image comes from the show's signature act, which has evolved over the years. Over time, the act has settled into a mix of classic ballroom dance, group choreography and Bob Mackie-styleHoney D. Luxewings."
"This is my Sad Sailer Nautical act. It's performed to a song by CoCo Rosie, one of my ultimate kindred spirits in art and sound.
The song is terribly sad. It aches along slowly. When I first chose it I was afraid it would lose the audience, but ever single time I performed the act (more than 200 times now) the audience has stayed with me.
The story in my head deals with the loss and overwhelming heartache that might come from having a longtime lover lost at sea, from having a sea spirit who keeps calling you from far away and haunting you in every wave or storm."Fuchsia Foxx
"if you have a chance to see the film Gypsy, be on the lookput for Mackie's signature wings in the burlesque scene.
Mackie has costumed entertainment icons such as The Supremes, Diana Ross, Cher, Whitney Houston and Tina Turner and designed the costumes for the 1993 television adaptation of Gypsy.
This act called J'Adore, has been performed annually by the Atomic Bomshell's as part of the troupe's Valentine's Day holiday show."Honey D. Luxe
"The prop I use in this act has collage figures of male and female bodies, religious iconography, on intact ship and one that has been shipwrecked.
I feel very sad and dreamlike when I am inside this song. On the nights that this act is my last dance of the night, I paint streams of blue glitter tears pouring out of my eyes."Fuchsia FoXXX
"This act was conceived and directed by Kitten LaRue, for The Atomic Bombshells's Lost in Space show. It was an extremely fun and fluid collaboration.
In fact, we created it in two rehearsals. In the act, I was attended by two lovely meteorites performed by Polly Wood and Paris Original. The two proceeded to undress me and put me to bed.
The act starts off with me wearing silver and iridescent white costuming, and ends with me reclining on a moon rock (the waning moon) in a black duster and sleeping eye mask.
It felt so glamorous to simply pose and be stripped by someone else.
I felt like a true intergalactic diva, powerful and otherworldly."Waxie Moon
"This number was originally created as a duet for myselft and my good friend Fuchsia FoXXX.
The song is very sexy and the duet that developed was a chair dance that involved tension between the two of us dancing together and apart without ever removing an article of clothing. Throughout the act we get very close and use intense moments of focus to titillate each other and the audience.
It's a very slow and delicious number. The act became more versatile as I developed it into a solo burlesque piece performed by myself, but it still holds the same qualities from its initial incarnation as a duet."Sassy Delure
The Right Way
"Burlesque should be like a magic show. When you really think about it, everybody understands how sleight-of-hand works. If it is done well you are still surprised and in awe.
We all know how to get undressed, but done the right way..."Mercury Troy
"This number was inspired by the Art Nouveau era and in particular the artist Mucha who's images surrounded me in my home as I was growing up.
The number is performed to the song "Blackout" by Muse and I move through it like I'm moving through syrup, slow and sensuous, so that each moment is like a moving painting.
I love playing with different movement qualities and with time. At first I though this number would be too slow to hold the attention of an audience. But, the song builds at just the right pace, allowing for the subtleties and tiniest of gestures to become quite dramatic. A lot of people have told me that this is their favorite piece.
On top of that, I happen to love peacocks and have quite a large tattoo on my back of peacocks, so this costume was especially fun to create."Sassy Delure
"I love this shot because it's a gatuitous position presented in a coy manner. It's a tease and the art of the tease is the foundation of burlesque.
I've seen burlesque acts in which the performer barely exposes any flesh, but the act is titillating to the point of being unbearable!
Performers who can master the act of making you want to see more are always a pleasure to watch. The flirt, the tongue-in-cheek humor, the restraint, and sometimes the wanton abandon...so many elements combine to create ecdysiastic magic."Polly Wood
"I love this classic burlesque act. It was inspired by one of my favorite bumper sticker quotes:Well behaved women seldom make history.
I was listening to the song Wild Women Don't Have the Blues by legendary sinder Ida Cox and knew instantly I wanted to portray her as the independent and libertine woman that she was in her day."Dona Dei Cuori
"I have a confession to make about when this photo was captured. I was completely self-absorbed in the moment of loving myself.
With the power that comes from knowing I was alluring and held the attention of the crowd, from hearing their wild cheers of approval and their worshipful eyes, it's no wonder I often mistake myself as a goddess in command of the stage.
The euphoric feeling of being a goddess is something I wish every woman could experience at least once in her life. This specific act is calledMadisun AvenueLet it Goand the image is my expression of that wish. Let it all go, experience freedom, and when you find what transforms you into that goddess, run away with her."
Drink You Sober
"I love choreographing, especially outside of my solo acts. That's why this number was particularly fun to create. The inspiration came out of the songSassy DelureDrink You Soberby Bittersweet."
"The art of tassel twirling developed as burlesque dancers started attaching decorative elements to their pasties (which are, by the way, dancer's response to laws that stated nipples could not be exposed in public).
The first person to employ tassel twirling in a burlesque act is said to be Carrie Finnell, who was a dancer in the 50s and 60s. She had been a Minsky's Girl. Minsky's burlesque was a brand of burlesque presented by the four Minsky brothers beginning in 1912 and ending in 1937 in New York. Minsky's shows were often declared obscene and outlawed, but in fact they were rather tame by today's burlesque standards.
There are many ways to twirl tassels on pasties. There is shimmy, the bounce, the backbend, over the head, the options are almost limitless, and the results always exciting."Polly Wood
"Most little girls dream of being a princess in a ball gown. An some imagine themselves as the evil witch who casts spells, eats frog legs and dances in fire.
This act is inspired by voodoo, blood and the occult and it is adorned with contrasting symbol of innocence...a large silk bow."Whiskey Troublepants Bliss
"As a child I studied theater. I still use many tricks from those studies in my dancing, in both neo burlesque and belly dance.
A master of the tease does not just prance about in front of the audience, but guides them through an experience. I use a technique to direct their attention where I want it to go, in this case my crotch.
I command my gaze downwards and get everyone staring right there for one lewd moment, then slam my legs shut, mouthing subtly "Oh...No." All done to the songEvilyn Sin ClairePsychotic Girlby The Black Keys."
"There are more than 100 ways to remove a glove. Glove removal in burlesque is a simple, yet essential part of the art of the tease.
Taking a common everyday act and making it a spectacle is the root of burlesque, which integrates parody and satire, and can be mixed with glamour, narration and humor.
This act is more of a conceptual piece performed to Beethoven's Symphony No.5. Rather than a narrative act, it is movement driven.
I wanted the audience to basically just take in and enjoy the beauty of the costume and the ethereal and whimsical movement. The costume is a fusion of stylized "Marie Antoinette" costuming with a touch of Madonna-on-the-Blonde-Ambition Tour flare!"Lady Ta Tas
"There is a great power in revealing one's body in a directed, intention way to an audience.
Burlesque costumes and movement serve to emphasize physical features to which the performer wishes to draw attention and this emphasis builds tension and desire for the moment at which the performer will reveal that part of her body.
The act of revealing directs the undivided focus of the audience to the body part or object in question. It is perhaps the most potent element of any given burlesque performance. By creating desire and then inviting the audience to share in enjoyment all or any of her body, a burlesque performer exercise power and influence over the attention and focus of the audience. She is free to infuse this attention with whatever messages or imagery she wishes to incorporate into her act."Jesse Belle-Jones
"This act explores the whimsy of time travel in performance art, taking the audience to the era of swing, martinis and cigarettes.
With a needle affixed to the end of a long cigarette holder, explosive BANGS! surprise and tickle the audience's fancy."Whiskey Troublepants Bliss
An Army of Lovers Cannot Lose
"One of the things I love about burlesque is that I can put anything I want on stage.
My burlesque persona is a highly concentrated and enhanced version of myself. One of the things that burlesque has done for me is help me to become more aware of, and embrace, all the aspects of my sexuality and sexual orientation.
Through presenting myself and inviting objectification of myself, I've become aware of who I really am."Polly Wood
"This photo is from The Atomic Bombshell's Lost In Space show.
I considered it a great honor and privilege to assume the costume of Barbarella, the most revered galactic icon in science fiction history.
Of course this is my vision of what the Barbarella of 2010 would be like."Honey D. Luxe
Fire and Ice
"Part of what I love to play with in my acts is the juxtaposition of control and wildness.
I like to imagine that inside every coiffed and powdered lady is a wild animal.
I see myself this way. As women we can use both our powers of calculating discipline and un-caged ferocity to make our lives more exciting and fulfilling."Evilyn Sin Claire