When trend-setting burlesque revivalist Dita Von Teese performs at Revolution Live Thursday and Friday on a tour she says is her last in a G-string, more than 20 members of Fort Lauderdale-based Cupcake Burlesque, Miami’s Shameless Burlesque and several other troupes will be up close in the VIP area and seated at even pricier tables.
For South Florida’s burgeoning burlesque sisterhood, Von Teese is a must-see.
“She’s the reason we all got into this,” says Cupcake Isadora Bull, who is known to friends as Emily Taffel, a public relations executive and social media manager from Fort Lauderdale.
Miss Jenna Beth, who founded Cupcake Burlesque four years ago, was a pinup model, with an emphasis on precisely rendered retro fashion and hot cars, when she discovered Von Teese’s glittery brand of girl power a decade ago. The new wave of burlesque turned the vulnerability of striptease into a position of strength, she says.
“When you’re up there onstage, and you have the presence and the grand costumes, you don’t really appear vulnerable. I think that appeals to women. It’s sexy, and it’s strong,” she says.
Attending with her friends in the burlesque troupes will be Lauren Arkin, owner of LA Boudoir, a vintage clothing boutique in Miami that provided some clothing for the retro splendor of the Starz network’s “Magic City.” She’s all about Von Teese’s fashion.
“She’s got an authentic style, and a passion for vintage and that old-world flavor,” Arkin says. “And she keeps it all very classy, even when it’s provocative.”
Miss Jenna Beth is a student of the international burlesque scene and is anxious to see the other acts in Von Teese's 90-minute revue, citing Dirty Martini, Catherine D'lish and Murray Hill. She's also hoping to pick up some tips Friday night.
“I always love to see something I can’t do. Some new trick. Even something as little as a new way of removing a glove that I haven’t thought of,” she says. “I want to see something that I’ve never seen before.”
The Cupcakes bought their tickets the moment the Fort Lauderdale tour stop was announced and went VIP in part to avoid a repeat of the last time they saw Von Teese in a December, 2012, appearance at Liv nightclub in the Fontainbleau Hotel. They were first in line and first in the door, but when Von Teese began her "Opium Den" performance, the VIP crowd in front stood on their tables, blocking the view of those on the floor behind them the rest of the way.
"We saw nothing. We saw the top of her headdress," Miss Jenna Beth says.
News that Von Teese hopes to stop appearing in a G-string at the end of this tour has boosted interest, though some are dubious.
“If you’re a performer, you’re always performing. I think she’ll miss it,” says Taffel, who stopped dancing for six months because she thought it might hurt her new public-relations company. The lure of the stage proved too much, but apparently her clients don’t mind that Taffel shows some skin. “We haven’t lost a single one. In fact, we’ve gained several because of it.”
IF YOU GO
Dita Von Teese will perform 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. General-admission tickets cost $35. Call 954-449-1025 or go to JoinTheRevolution.net.