Brazen Burlesque: Beyond the Striptease
By: Bronwen Prosser (a.k.a Coral Obsession), April 11, 2012
SHELLY FARRAR - From Woods Hole, with love: The Brazen Belles (from left) Coral Obsession, Mimi Outback, Sundown Shenanigans, Savannah Boudreaux, Cherry Pie, Nellie BonBon, Madame Max, and Scarlet Fever.
Garters? Bustles? Choreographed dances? Burlesque has come to the Cape in the form of eight bold ladies aptly named The Brazen Belles.
The group originated this winter with Brazen Belles founder Aanjes Larkin Hershfield, who goes by the stage name Scarlet Fever. A resident of California’s Bay Area for the past several years, she was determined to bring a bit of Left Coast sass back to her hometown turf.
“I knew I wanted to move back here, but I knew I had to have an artistic outlet,” says Scarlet. “I started the Belles because I love to sing and dance, and I wanted a way for women to connect and be artistic together.”
The group formed into a core of eight ladies—including myself—who bring their own special potion to the magic elixir that is song, dance, skits and videos.
Despite the connotations of pasties and tassels, burlesque is so much more than a strip tease. Born out of the sexual rebellion of the post-Victorian era, burlesque is a multi-faceted art form, heavy in social and political satire.
In addition to burlesque-style dance, the troupe explores vaudeville silent comedy skits, which play around with gender roles—also a burlesque tradition.
If you go...
Brazen Belles Burlesque debut show
Sunday April 15th at 8 PMThe Landfall Restaurant 2 Luscombe Avenue Woods Hole
Doors open at 6 PM for those with pre-purchased tickets (no longer available). A limited number of $15 tickets will be available at the door on a first come, first served basis starting at 7 PM.
The show will be emceed by the infamous Matt Beninghof with a guest musical appearance by Olive Mia (otherwise known as Isel Garcia-Renart).
Light menu and cash bar available.
What’s more, it unapologetically celebrates curves—from victory curls to rump-enhancing bustles.
“Burlesque is a beautiful art form with so many body types. It’s not about being skinny. We can celebrate all our bodies and minds, and we all have different strong points,” says Scarlet Fever.
She adds that burlesque has given all the women involved a healthy, creative outlet for fun.
“There’s not a lot to do around here sometimes besides socializing, drinking, gossiping. Now I’m meeting with all these strong and beautiful women who I might not have been close to socially, and now they are all my sisters,“ Scarlet says.
In my other stage life in Doubt: A Parable at Cotuit Center for the Arts, I play a nun—and yes, on the night of the Brazen Belles debut performance, I will be coming straight from the convent.
As an actor, I find burlesque performance to be such a phenomenal release of the absurd that’s also creatively liberating. Plus, I feel totally hot, even when I’m wearing a mustache and safety goggles.
In contrast to traditional theater, burlesque is irreverent and simple, providing a platform for innovative stage energy that thoroughly involves you, the audience.
Asked why she decided to start a burlesque troupe—of all things—Scarlet replied that she was attracted to the all-encompassing, comedic possibilities inherent in the art form.
“It’s nice to have something not so serious, something we can all laugh at. Humor is so important, and this town can get so stuffy,” she says. “We all have to be able to laugh at ourselves.”
So shake off the winter and come laugh with us!