Burlesque has become a big part of the Rockabilly subculture and perhaps it’s no surprise the burlesque performances at Viva Las Vegas 2012 were some of the hottest tickets around. Los Angeles is full of pin up models and burlesque performers with retro rockabilly girls of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities getting in on the acts.
Indeed if you hit any psychobilly or rockabilly weekenders these days chance are it’s going to include some burlesque performances. Bettie Page, if she were alive, would probably be blown away that what used to be considered “trashy” and “obscene” and in some cases “illegal” is now rather tame when you consider what you see on TV or in the movies on a regular basis.
Yes, the U.S. puritanical roots are slowly but surely fading away. Back then there were those who’d prefer that everyone’s moral outlooks reflect their own and if it didn’t, well, then they could just lock ‘em up. BUT that whole freedom of speech and expression thing gets in the way EVERY time.
There are those that argue burlesque objectifies women and they might have a point. But the vibe I gathered from speaking to many of the performers and attendees at Viva Las Vegas is that it’s all in good fun and of course, no one is forced to perform, or to watch for that matter.
They simply revel in reviving an art form that sadly used to be assigned to the alleys and hideaway of seedy clubs in mostly the big, bad “evil” cities. Back then many women danced because there was so little opportunity for single women beyond marriage. Men ruled the workplace and secretarial work didn’t pay so hot.
Today, it’s still not quiet an equal society but at least women have choices and are choosing to dance burlesque for reasons other than raw necessity. In fact, like other art forms, it can be really hard to make ends meet by those who choose the competitive art of burlesque performance.
So many do it as a hobby, not for the money but because they love it.. and I think it shows. At least it did at the Burlesque Bingo event at Viva Las Vegas 2012.
If you didn’t get enough burlesque at Viva Las Vegas well then you might want to head to Vegas for the “Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend”to be held 5/31/12-6/3/12 to be held at the very same place VLV was held, The Orleans Hotel & Casino.