Burlesque entertainment. It's been with us for a century and a half, giving us provocative glimpses of female flesh, more nipple tassles than are strictly necessary, and performers with names that teeter on the thin line between cartoon characters and porn stars. After its recent revival in the U.S., it was only natural that we'd slip into the neo-burlesque renaissance on this side of the pond... and this week, London has its first Burlesque Festival.
The festival runs for four nights, with five events, across the city, boasting ecdysiasts (don't worry, we had to look it up too) of all shapes and sizes. It all starts, suitably enough, in Soho, with an opening gala boasting performers from around the burlesque world, and musical guests including from the Fabulous Penetrators.
The second showcase features UK burlesque performers exclusively, who prove that, if nothing else, we still rule the world in the noble art of innuendo - with performers with names like the Teasemaids, the Boushy Pearls, and our personal favourite, the Glitter Kittens. The festival ends with a pair of shows at (appropriately enough) Bush Hall, each consisting of the same line-up, but with the early show fully seated, and the late show ending with the chance for everyone to get up and ahem... "shake your tail feather".
However, our tip is to go to the newcomers' night, to see fresh pairs of cheeks exposed to a panel of experienced judges.
The London Burlesque Festival runs from the 9th to the 12th May, at a different venue each night. See their website here for more information. Tickets cost from £8.50 to £29.50 in advance.
Image taken from armcurl's Flickr photostream.