Ray's Guide to Chicago Area Burlesque
Show dates and reviews from the burlesque scene in Chicago.


UPDATE 5/19/05: Franky and Toots experimented with a short run of this show again earlier this past winter. Sadly, the show is so technical and such a logistical undertaking to produce that it was not economically viable to continue it. Fortunately, Franky and Toots are performing again with the Star and Garter Burlesque. It still has Toots' amazingly choreographed numbers, but presented in a variety show format with an emcee.

UPDATE 3/6/04: I had occasion to see the show a third time last night, and it keeps getting better. Franky and Toots have added new acts and tinkered with the old ones. Last night marked the premier of an act featuring performers from the Midnight Circus, of which I have been a fan for several years, in a George-and-Gracie type dance with physical comedy that drew raucous laughter. Franky let me know that a second Midnight Circus act will appear in a few weeks. Something about the mix of entertainment and sexiness that Franky and Toots have put together here has snared me, and I hope this show runs for a long, long time.

ORIGINALLY REVIEWED 3/2/04: By December, 2003, I had heard of a couple of local burlesque shows, but I hadn't yet seen any. Then I saw a blurb in the Reader (a free Chicago weekly) about a show called FemmeTV. I knew immediately that I had to see this show, and am I ever glad that I did. I have seen it twice, now, with different friends each time, and I may well be seeing it again soon. This show is the sexiest damned thing I have ever seen on stage better than any strip club I have ever been in and nobody even gets naked!

The concept is that the audience is watching programming on a burlesque cable TV network (the Uncovery Channel). Projected video and techno-ized burlesque music establishes vignettes such as a detective show, a travel show, a game show, and even commercials, in which fantastic babes who are obviously trained dancers (not strippers) perform in corsets and panties and stockings and heels and such. The choreography is professional and sexy, without being the slightest bit sleazy. Not only are the girls the masters of tease, but they look like they are having as much fun or more than the audience. Again, nobody gets naked, though they do shimmy down to the tiniest legal bits a few times. A comedian/magician and a couple of additional actors round things out, making it a true variety show in the Vaudevillian tradition.

I applaud the creators, Michelle "Toots" L'Amour and Franky Vivid, and all the dancers and cast.

Highly recommended.

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