Eye candy and pornographic art

Written by: Hannah Latimer
A flash of skin. The silhouette of a woman, languidly unfurling in a giant martini glass, Burlesque is, in its own right, a dramatization of sexuality. The love child of 1800’s theatre and comedy, burlesque is a species of mixed emotions. Some say it’s flashy pornography, others, an art form. But if porn were Busch Light, burlesque would be champagne. It just depends on what you’re looking for: A quick, nauseating high, or a sensual, savory indulgence. In a nation that demands instant gratification, porn is cheap, abundant and easily accessible. Burlesque, up until recent years has played the role of the American geisha; endangered and elusive. But burlesque has risen from the ashes, carried enthusiastically on the backs of modern women. When Dita Von Teese burst onto the scene in the late 1990’s as Marilyn Manson’s unlikely new bride-to-be, it seemed she had walked right out of a silent film. Rouge lips and a petite, feminine frame laced up tightly into an immaculate little hourglass form, Von Teese was glam, noir, and sexy. The publicity of the relationship served to shed some light on Von Teese’s profession, however. And thus the world was formally reintroduced to burlesque. The allure of burlesque is rooted in the glamorous days of old Hollywood, back when women were bold yet modest, and “beautiful” meant soft curves and frothy white skin. In today’s world, “sexy” is projected by the media as something tan, blonde, skinny, big-breasted and completely hairless from the neck down. The porn industry, as well as strip clubs, night clubs and college campuses nationwide are rife with prime examples of this very epidemic. But artist and design visionaries of our time in both fashion and film are pushing for a resurgence of the past, visible in everything from Louis Vuitton ad campaigns to lingerie, skin care and makeup. Burlesque, by definition, is “a parody or comically exaggerated imitation of something in a literary or dramatic work.” It was applied by Shakespeare to evoke more feeling from his heartbreaking prose, and used in comedy acts to nail down obvious caricatures. Even modern sketch shows like Saturday Night Live must burlesque a bit in order to convey the characters of today’s pop culture. Amy Poehler as a nervous Hilary Clinton, vying ruthlessly for the political crown all while maintaining that infamous, first lady perma-smile. It is a dramatization. And burlesque, with it’s slow bending, gradual strip-teasing, and flashy costumes is just as well pushing to get a point across. What some people may not know, though, is that Seattle is home to an underground network of Burlesque enthusiasts, and the city offers everything from classes and camps to late-night shows. Miss Indigo Blue

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