Cupcake Burlesque Is Back With a New Game of Thrones-Themed Show | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


The Ladies of Cupcake Burlesque Are Back With a New Game of Thrones-Themed Show

Game of Thrones returns for a sixth season April 24, but if you've missed seeing your favorite characters in the flesh — or parts of them, anyway — you may want to jot down another premiere on your calendars. The performers of Cupcake Burlesque will put on "A Song of Vice and Desire," a Game of Thrones burlesque, this Saturday at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach. And yes, they mean to deliver on the flesh.

Miss Jenna Beth began Cupcake Burlesque in 2010 and says people often associate burlesque with a cabaret-style, theatrical, song-and-dance performance. She says it's a common misconception.

"People hire us to do burlesque, but they're thinking about the movie with Christina Aguilera, and that's not burlesque; that's cabaret."

"People hire us to do burlesque, but they're thinking about the movie with Christina Aguilera..."

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Cabaret tends to involve a musical comedy performance that engages with and involves the audience, while American burlesque focuses more on dance and at least a partial striptease — something you may want to keep in mind the next time you're booking the entertainment for someone's quinceañera.

Thank goodness Respectable Street is 21 and over.

"Vice and Desire" is just one example of the burlesque and cosplay crossover affectionately termed "nerdlesque." And if you should happen to catch a classic or modern burlesque show, here's some of what you could be getting into.

American Burlesque comes in two best-known flavors. "Cheesecake" is your vintage, pinup, glam-style burlesque show. This is where you'll find your classic performers, like Sally Rand and her feather fan dance or Lili St. Cyr, performing in a bathtub. For a modern twist, refer to Dita Von Teese and her oversized martini glass.

The classic, slow tease is set to classical, jazz, or big-band music, usually without lyrics, and may embellish with elaborate costumes or props. It came to the United States in the late-1800s and gained popularity through the early and mid-1900s.

By the '70s, though, burlesque had to compete with other forms of adult entertainment — namely porn. And the '90s revival form, "neoburlesque," has relied upon more thematic content and costume play, incorporating more familiar characters and contemporary music to open it up to broader audiences.

Despite being inspired by the classic burlesque performers, Jenna Beth says about 50 percent of the bookings she gets are for neoburlesque theme shows and conventions. One of her most popular new shows is "Diznee Undressed," where the girls perform as famous cartoon princesses.

When Candy Muldune appears as the X-Men's Rogue and performs a striptease to the Divinyls "I Touch Myself," or Lila Starlet dresses as Catwoman and proceeds to give herself a milk bath onstage, those are examples of nerdlesque.

Look for Candy in "Vice and Desire" this weekend in the role of Daenerys Targaryen. Lila will be in Saturday's show performing a gender-bent rendition of Khal Drogo.

Jenna Beth will reprise her role as her favorite character, Ygritte, the star-crossed lover of Jon Snow, in a duet with boylesque performer Billy Butch. But leave some room for a reimagining of the tragic ending.

Fire and sword performer Artemus Maelstrom will appear as Stannis Baratheon, a role he says draws boos from the audience. Crowds go no easier on his girlfriend when she appears as the Red Woman, Melisandre.

Ruby Tesla, "the Scientist of Sexy," will perform as Sansa Stark and sees the combination of cosplay fandom and playful striptease as a natural marriage.

"I was into cosplay for years before I started performing," Ruby says, "and now I can actually make back the money I spend making costumes by using them for performances."

If you can't make it to the West Palm Beach gig or if Game of Thrones isn't your kink, there are other places and other shows. Ruby Tesla produces the monthly Propaganda Peepshow at Propaganda in Lake Worth. The May 13 show "Ultra Violence" will feature comedy, drama, and conceptual performances, and yes, Ruby as Clockwork Orange's Alex DeLarge.

Cupcake Burlesque's "A Song of Vice and Desire"
10 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Admission is $10 at the door. Visit Facebook.

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Jillian Melero

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