Tony: Taking No Prisoners in Kansas City Burlesque Fight

Under the radar of even the most astute denizens of Kansas City’s entertainment scene there was a recent no-holds-barred dust up among competing burlesque events. I only wish I had more photos of the ruckus if only because my imagination leads me to believe there were feather boas and pasties flying everywhere.

What I like about the underground dispute is that it matches up competing ideologies related to Kansas City entertainment.

On one side: The Beaumont Club was putting together what they thought was a fun $500 burlesque contest in order to garner some of the momentum that local burlesque performers have been generating around Kansas City of late.

Meanwhile, neo-burlesque “purists” (and I use that term loosely) like The KC Society of Burlesque and The Burlesque Downtown Underground were offended that the art form they have championed was being used primarily for what they consider commercial interest with not of the feminist ideology that is often apparent at these shows.

Like any real fight over ideology: Somebody had to lose.

In this burlesque battle royale The Beaumont Club was the first to blink as their upcoming events page demonstrates. In this situation, angering a crew of dedicated local performers probably just wasn’t worth it.

Again, the burlesque ladies weren’t too wild that the club hadn’t reached out to denizens of the local scene and the all-male organizers didn’t seem to really get the ethos of these kind of shows. Apparently, it’s a far cry from wet t-shirt contests or other bar room competitions that are more of a show for dudes that want to simply see some skin with their drinks. I don’t know exactly how the women justify their position (that’s admittedly founded in a bit of PC thuggery) but the argument is that neo-burlesque empowers women to explore their sexuality through an art from that acknowledges the difference between the sexes but doesn’t seek to exploit women in a way that has been stereotypically associated with strip clubs and bar rooms.

I’m sure a more ardent feminist like Andrea Dworkin would have disagreed but nobody has bothered to dig her up and ask her.

So, in a bit of turnabout the complaining Kansas City burlesque advocates made the male dominated Beaumont bend to their will and their triumphant show will take place at The Conspiracy Room in The Uptown Theater complex.

Word on the street however is the Beaumont event may be rescheduled for this spring.

They’re calling it “This is Burlesque” and here’s a bit more info from the show flyers:

Tagline: “A Blowout Burlesque Extravaganza celebrating the finest in Kansas City Burlesque!”

Pre-Show Music by DJ Cyan

From the Kansas City Society of Burlesque: Lucky DeLuxe, Annie Cherry, Kitty von Minx, Veronica Voodoo, Honey Valentine, Peter Fondle, Bindlestiff Willy
From Burlesque Downtown Underground: Sweet Louise, Miss Kitty

Eartha Delights, Mary Magdalene, Dirty Diana, Bijou Merlot, Dolly DuMaul


Doors open at 8:30pm, Pre-Show at 9pm, Burlesque at 10pm!
Admission $5

Time: 9:00pm – 11:00pm
Location: The Conspiracy Room (Uptown Theater Complex)
Street: 3700 Broadway

And for the record, this amount of political bickering is kind of neat so that I can see various big asses on stage no matter what their political ideology.

Tony Botello

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4 Responses to Tony: Taking No Prisoners in Kansas City Burlesque Fight

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good job Tony. You went almost a full blog without calling them fat.

  2. Anonymous says:

    craig glazer
    Hey congrats to Lucky, Suzzanna Lee for being chosen to be on this years NBC’s Last Comic Stanading

  3. Anonymous says:

    Annie Cherry
    I’d like to point out that this “dust up” was not so much about gender, but about people who have worked incredibly hard in our specific field, and essentially made the Kansas City burlesque scene from scratch, not being consulted and or contacted/invited to participate in an event which clearly intended to capitalize on our hard work and effort. Anyone would be upset if put in the same situation. Burlesque is not simply a bunch of gals showing their tits to some dudes for a little scratch, as this Beaumont show was clearly intended to be.

    Burlesque is not only about (the overused word) “empowerment”. It means different things to different performers. It’s not necessarily something that’s done as a political statement, and I think to reduce it to that is missing the point. But I think we can all agree that it’s fun, we like to do what we do, and it is an art form which (ideally) entails planning, rehearsal, finesse, and hopefully talent, just like any other performing art form. The thing is, many of the performers currently working in our area ARE indeed professionals. What we do is professional burlesque. We have studied and practiced and cultivated our individual styles. Time and effort and money and talent go into our routines. If the Beaumont wants amateur night, they should call it that. Not claim that “Local Burlesque Beauties” are going to compete (before what judges, with what credentials?)for $500 in cash. Very presumptiopus on their part. The THIS IS BURLESQUE show on the fourth should demonstrate a broad spectrum of what burlesque can be… From campy to sexy to even political, in some cases. It is something best experienced, not explained. Cheers, Annie Cherry

  4. Anonymous says:

    I imagine that if the burlesque performers from, say 1925 or 1935, were magically transported to today they’d scratch their heads in bewilderment at these ladies, and head directly to Bazooka’s where modern burlesque has evolved and where a woman can make a living performing.

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