Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Girl’s Gotta Make a Living…

by Jack Ruby Murray

When did nudity get so professional? The first Burlesque show I saw was in 2000 in an East Village bar with homemade costumes and a tongue-in-cheek enthusiasm that more than compensated the $5 cover charge. The Fifth annual New York Burlesque Festival held over four days and culminating in the “Saturday Spectacular” at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan was more Vegas than Village. It was seamless and seriously spectacular.

Surreal too, with acts like ‘Trixie and the Evil Hate Monkey’ a couple from Baltimore presented an high energy dance investigation of monkey on girl love was trumped only by the obscene Tigger with a frightening recreation of Little Orphan Annie. This included a ball swinging rendition of “Tomorrow” interupted by Annie’s sodomisation by Daddy Warbucks and culminated in Tigger plucking a condom from his stubbly arsehole.

The slick ‘Gravity Plays Favorites’ blew me away too with their mix of circus and new Burlesque: an acrobatic pole dance - two girls spinning on a steel pole and neither lost their pasties. Very classy.

The 'World Famous Bob' pinned today’s Burlesque to it’s roots with a recreation of a famous mother/daughter act from the 1950’s and this threw me slightly. The act in question was a tribute to Liz Renay who died in January – she claimed to have the first mother/daughter striptease act (the daughter here played by Ruby Valentine) and I guess she nailed it – Bob certainly bears an uncanny resemblance to the late Ms. Renay but the act in comparison to a set of original modern funny acts left me cold. It didn’t hold up. As important as this act might have been historically I’ll take Australia’s Imogen Kelly hilarous cream-smothered Marie Antoinette any day and honestly if I see another fan dance I’m going to start spitting feathers. This stuff is cute but Burlesque needs to keep reinventing itself.

Burlesque has moved to a level now where the performers can make a living (pretending) to take their clothes off. Ivan Kane is about to open New York branch of Forty Deuce and Dita Von Teese just launched her own perfume And with that sort of investment’s it’s going to have to keep up with the competition. These days that means XBox,Tivo,Blackberrys and Blockbuster. Burlesque is set to be an industry again and the money is definetly not ironic.

View The Fifth Annual New York Burlesque Festival slide show

Lead photo "Diamond Back Annie performing at the New York Burlesque Festival"
photo: Neville Elder

Friday, November 23, 2007

Congratulazioni to Neal & Sarah

by Fredo

Best wishes and congratulations to Loungerati Associate Neal (aka Effervescent) and his darling girlfriend Sarah for getting engaged on Wednesday Novemeber 22nd.

The debonair gent popped the question in the whispering gallery outside the famed Oyster Bar & Restaurant in New York's Grand Central Terminal. Surrounded by 100 year old Italian Guastavino tile work and confronted with a Tiffany's diamond ring Sarah said "Yes!" Neal wasted no time and whisked his new finacee to the Berkshires for several days of spa treatment and pampering at Blantyre. They celebrated over a bottle of 1993 Sassocaia Super Tuscan wine and Neal treated himself to Cuban Trinidad cigar.

The night before the event, Effervescent had picked up a bow-tie at Barney's and then b-lined it to Tiffany's for the rock. He also enjoyed his last cocktail as a bachelor, a Perfect Manhattan at La Houppa.

Tanti Saluti da Loungerati!

photo credit - by Will Lounge who was lurking in the shadows clad in trench coat and sunglasses and then acted like paparazzi for the evening.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Lounge Doctrine

Delivered by the Senator at the Algonquin Hotel, November 17, 2007

"Loungers, I come before you tonight, drink in hand, with a message of hope.

They said that there was no more room at the bar for us. They said that there was no longer a place where good taste hardly ever went out of style. They said that times had passed us by.

Well, my friends, I have seen how the other half parties and let me be the first to say to them: KEEP ON PASSING.

They can take their smoking bans and they can take their political correctness and they can shove it right up their asses. To you my fellow Loungers I say this: let us never inebriate out of fear, but let us never fear to inebriate.

We say, with not so silent lips – if you are tired, if you are poor, if you’re one of the huddled dancers yearning to drink for free, then you must be refused and your wretched ass must be kicked outside the golden door! On this fantastic voyage, nobody rides for free.

Unless you’re really, really hot.

The Loungers and the musicians, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death bars like Algonquin Oak Room. Even though large clubs of Manhattan and many old and famous lounges have fallen or may fall into the grip of the techno scene and all the odious apparatus of American Idol and that karaoke bullshit, we shall not flag or fail.

We shall drink to the end, we shall drink in the morning, we shall drink in the night, we shall drink in the gutters and the streets, we shall drink in the hills, we shall order wines with growing confidence and growing tolerance in restaurants, we shall order after dinner drinks and digestifs, no matter what the cost, we shall never throw up, and even if we do, which I do not for a moment believe, we shall boot and rally and make it to the last call!

And so my fellow Loungers, in closing, let the word go forth that the torch has been passed to an older generation. Let every dancer, lounger and barfly know, whether they wish us well or premium, gin or beer, whiskey or soda, that we shall pay any cover, tip any bartender, meet any manager or maestro, in order to assure the survival and the success of the lounge.

Thank you, and may God bless the gutter."