Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dirty Martini and the New Burlesque

Though I briefly touched on this in the post about Southern Fried Burlesque Fest, it really deserves it's own review as a documentary instead of as part of an event.

Dirty Martini is one of the most celebrated performers of the new burlesque and it's no shock that she would be chosen to have a documentary done about her life.  It goes over her life and performance history from her beginnings as a ballerina to her illustrious career as the number one burlesque performer in the world. 

This documentary includes interviews with her family as well as fellow neo-burlesque performers who helped create the New York neo-burlesque scene and shape the neo-burlesque movement around the world.  With Julie Atlas Muse, Tigger, Princess Farhana, Scotty the Blue Bunny, Murry Hill, Angie Pontani, Jo Boobs and many other performers who are considered staples and leaders in the neo-burlesque movement, it not only gives an in site into Dirty Martini but how burlesque came back from the shadows to one of the most celebrated art forms around the world.  The efforts all of these performers and artists took a form of expression and made it an international movement.  With performances that are political, satirical, and just plain beautiful there was a home for each different style and point of view in burlesque, which is often not the case in many outlets.

Dirty's commentary about how her size is always part of the conversation when discussing her career was very interesting.  She's an amazing dancer, has had years of ballet and other dance training and a lot of time people just want to talk about the fact that she's a size 16.  To be honest, when ever I've seen her on stage her size is the furthest thing from my mind.  Her grace, charisma and stage presence supersede anything else you might be thinking and draw you in to just sit back, relax and enjoy the show because it's amazing.  Though I do think that her size can be an inspiration for those who feel that they are over weight and it's great that being a size 16 is encouraging to embrace all body types, it's not what defines her in any way.  It wouldn't matter if she was 100 lbs or 1000 lbs, she has the "IT" factor and that's really the point.

Gary Beeber did an amazing job of piecing together a documentary that not only covered the history of Dirty Martini herself, but the whole movement.  It had performances, tips for performers, conversations about size and body image and really showed the love that Gary had for this project and has for burlesque as a whole.  In fact this whole experience now has him producing the Gotham Burlesque shows the first Saturday of each month in New York.

I highly recommend this film for those who love Dirty Martini, love history and love burlesque!

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