Burlesque venues across Sydney are packed tighter than a last minute suitcase, driven by Facebook pages dedicated to the performance art.
Sheena Barnes, known on stage as Sheena Miss Demeanour, has two Facebook pages where she posts photos, chats with followers and publicises upcoming shows.
“As artists we have no money, so the longer we can ride the free social media gravy train the better,” Sheena said.
Kate Joy, aka Baby Blue Bergman, another familiar face on Sydney’s burlesque scene, said Facebook is an important way to get word out about events.
“It plays a huge role and performers are expected to at some level promote online,” said Baby Blue.
The performers said such forms of marketing have helped boost interest in the artform, American burlesque queen Dita Von Teese explained as a “retro-styled striptease”. Performers create their own characters and dances of seduction, using feathers, sequins and lots of attitude.
Sheena, who has been performing for seven years, said she draws inspiration for characters from strong women, popular icons and people who have an interesting story to tell. “It is a sub culture that has always existed and now it is coming through as a more commercially accepted art form,” she said.
Kate recently jumped out of a cake covered in nothing but icing at the 4th birthday of popular Sydney event Gallery Burlesque, a weekly show held at the Standard Hotel in Surry Hills.
“In the burlesque show, the emphasis is on the tease. I do a lot of impersonation burlesque, I have done Michael Jackson through to Bob Dylan and Kurt Cobain and all of those people I idolised as a teenager.”
Nicole Henness, aka LuLu, is a veteran performer and self-taught fan dancer. Her characters range from a mermaid (with a fisherman), a snake charmer and an Egyptian Queen (with two slaves). LuLu said, “Inspiration comes from a kooky mind, mine, or a piece of fabric, for example, metallic blue lead to a mermaid routine. Or a song I like, which I build around with other songs to construct a story.”
The next show for Sydney’s burlseque fans is `Camp Bowie: Babes with the power’, at Marrickville’s Red Rattler Theatre on Friday November 23. The night pays homage to all things David Bowie and is on track to be another adventure down the rabbit hole. Some of the performers gracing the stage include Baby Blue Bergman, Betty Grumble, Frankie Faux and Glitta Supernova. All proceeds go to the Conservation Fund’s Kimberley Appeal. – Toby Little