Burlesque’s Nerdy Side

The sultry tease that captivated audiences around the world during the 1950s has had a lingering effect in New Orleans.

Bourbon Street popped up as one of the top burlesque destinations nationwide – combining live jazz music with performers, a combo that delivered an experience, which continues to draw large crowds to New Orleans, in and beyond Bourbon Street.

As a city renowned for traditional burlesque – mixing comedy with striptease – clubs still honor those traditions while others put their own creative spin on it, providing a unique offering that fits perfectly in New Orleans.

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A relatively new group of New Orleans burlesque and variety performers, The Society of Sin, puts together burlesque shows with a narrative – many that play off of popular television series and movies. Their latest performance, “Pulp Science Fiction: A Star Wars Burlesque” will be held at the Eiffle Society at 2040 St. Charles Avenue on May 15.

They have been developing a reputation for themselves with their other performances, “Talk Nerdy To Me” performed every Saturday night at the Dragon’s Den at 435 Esplanade Avenue, plus other popular shows “Arkhamm ASS-ylum: A Batman Burlesque Play”, and “A Thong of Ice and Fire: Game of Thrones Burlesque.”

Even with these creative spins, traditional burlesque still stands strong along Bourbon Street with audiences eager to get a glimpse into its heyday.

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From the mid-1940s through to the 1960s, Bourbon Street was lined with burlesque clubs, it was the epicenter of an art form that gave a lot of jazz musicians their break. Today, visitors and locals alike can still experience world-class jazz to an alluring burlesque performance, such as the popular Irvin Mayfield Jazz Playhouse midnight Burlesque Ballroom at the Royal Sonesta.

Playing to the nostalgia of a bygone era, Rick Delaup founded Bustout Burlesque, an authentic 1950s-style burlesque show. Delaup brought it further into the spotlight with the New Orleans Burlesque Festival (Sept. 17 to 20, 2015), held annually during September. The four day festival draws both international and local acts, provides networking events, professional development and showcase opportunities.

Although far from what it once was, New Orleans still maintains a thriving scene which continues to draw crowds from around the world.

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