Luv Doc Recommends: Texas Burlesque Festival
ND Austin, Thursday, April 14, 2011
The thing that makes Burlesque neo-feminist is that chicks run the show. How do you know? If dudes were in charge, they would just slather naked girls with baby oil and make them ride a mechanical bull or wrestle in a baby pool filled with Astroglide. Yes, there might be music, but it would probably be something from the oeuvre of Rob Zombie, Hank Williams Jr., or Dr. Dre, and there would surely be alcohol involved, but nothing you couldn't drink out of a funnel. No, really. That's it. The nice thing about the male mind is that you never really have to overwork the problem. That's why men eat Campbell's soup out of a half-opened can, furnish their homes with cinder blocks and camping chairs, and clean toilets only when being punished by their drill sergeant. As far as sex, crafting doesn't enter into it – unless maybe it's some sort of hand-tooled leather spinning fuck harness or a bizarrely shaped prostate massager – both of which are fortunately the kinds of things that most men keep deep on the down low. Lingerie? Nope. Bodices, bustiers, baby dolls, camisoles, corsets, push-up bras, panties, and thongs may seem to enhance sexiness, but compared to full nudity, men see them as annoying obstructions. Yes, wearing sexy clothing might make a woman sexier (as opposed to say, a woman in a full burqa), but being naked makes a woman sexiest. Every time. OK, nearly every time. There are undoubtedly those who look sexier in a burqa. Generally speaking, men don't need the buildup. They don't care about foreplay either, nor do they get particularly excited about the slap and tickle. At best, they tolerate it – just like they tolerate ballroom dancing, Whoopi Goldberg movies, and talking about their feelings. Men endure such things because (whether rightly or wrongly) they expect them to pay off – like popping for steak and lobster and a nice bottle of wine at an expensive restaurant. If this concept seems particularly crass, then perhaps you should dine in the manner of the Dutch (who, by the way, boast one of the more progressive European cultures when it comes to gender equality) rather than tarting yourself up like a whore (not that there's anything wrong with that) and ordering filet mignon and a bottle of Dom. Yes, an attractive woman dressed in stiletto pumps, fishnets, and a bustier is really sexy, but an attractive naked woman with a desire to please (regardless of how insincere) is always sexier. Always. Question is: Are you willing to do what it takes to knock your Victoria's Secret bill down to next to nothing, or do you prefer to go the smoke-and-mirrors route? Clearly a majority of women choose the latter. In fact, it fuels an entire industry. The good news is that men are willing to tolerate the myth that clothing and accessories make women sexy. Hey, if it gets them laid, who are they to piss on it? Besides, if they didn't spend all that money on lingerie and accessories, they would probably just spend it on fishing lures, monster trucks, the work of Jesus, or maybe a lifetime subscription to Blueboy magazine. The truth is that even though America handed England a serious ass-whipping a couple of hundred years ago, Queen Victoria still has a firm grip on our nutsack. We still get excited when we see a little skin and even more excited when we see a little more. That's part of the reason why burlesque continues to be popular. The other part, of course, is all the fun costuming and choreography. Burlesque allows women to turn what society once saw as a crass display of overt sexuality into crafty performance art. It transfers the willingness to rut into the willingness to strut. Is that such a bad thing? Of course not … as long as it pays off. Ideally, the long-term payoff is a less Victorian attitude toward female sexuality. This weekend you can see if it pays off for you in the short term at the 2011 Texas Burlesque Festival, a three-day gathering of burlesque performers from all over America being held at the ND at 501 Studios. Thursday through Saturday you can check out the goods of more than 50 of the best performers from across the country. Ladies with fun names like Shannon Doah, Baby Le'Strange, Pearl E. White, Maye Applebottom, Mary Anne Moan, and Honey Touché. Plus, the event is hosted by none other than Ph.D.-packing porn star, performance artist, and sex educator Annie Sprinkle. Apparently the Burlesque Fest scored even if you don't.