Shimmy Around the Globe as the Jigglewatts Celebrate World Burlesque Day
Austin's sinsational artists join the international festivities
By Richard Whittaker,
11:54PM, Wed. Apr. 27, 2022
Technically, World Burlesque Day (an event launched in 2020 by British burlesque legend Sapphira as a way to bring the community together durig the pandemic lockdown) was Tuesday. But you can't stop the music from a-rockin' and the hips from a-shakin' just because a page of the calendar slips to the floor. Thursday night, the Jigglewatts Burlesque Revue will present their own Lone Star leg of the celebration of all things bump and grind, chiffon and silk.
Why the delay? Because the shining lights of striptease were part of Tuesday's online celebration, such as cofounder Ruby Joule reading extracts from Gypsy: A Memoir, the autobiography of legendary burlesque artiste Gypsy Rose Lee. "It was wonderful," said Joule who, along with Sapphira and fellow 'watt Jolie Goodnight (as famous for her sugar-and-sadness singing skills as leader of Jolie and The Jackalopes and Jolie Goodnight & Her Swing Band as she is for her skills with snaps, zips, and garters), helped run the live feed as performers showed the adoring online audience their all and their best. "Between us, we managed to keep all our plates spinning," Joule said. "57 countries were involved, and and maybe more. We're going to see how many languages we can translate 'World Burlesque Day' into."
With the online component in the archives, now it's time for the show to hit the stage, just as the burlesque scene is coming out of the pandemic. "It's all coming back to life," Joule said.
And live is where the Jigglewatts are at their most delicious, delightful, and in demand. Founded in 2006, they are a spectacular part of the modern burlesque revival. They'll all be dressing up to get undressed - Goodnight, Something Blue, Ruby Lamb, Layna D'Luna, Lady Lola LeStrange, Pearl Lux, and boylesque performer Alexander the Great - plus, troupe cofounder and self-described gem you'd love to polish Joule said, their ranks are soon to swell with another performer.
This won't be a regular Jigglewatts shows, but a grand tour through the history of this art. Joule called it "a beautiful sampler platter of the past, present and future. ... We were thinking, how can we shine a light on the diverse histories that are coming together in burlesque today?" That's why the show will feature elements as diverse as the can-can, the old circus-style hoochie-coochie dances, and vaudeville routines, through to the mid-20th century golden era of burlesque, and legends tributes where they study, recreate, and pay tribute to the glamorous godmothers of the art.
And, like any grand tour, there will be old friends along for the ride, such as the Bronx Bombshell herself, Lily Faye; Devin Alfather, whose innovative embrace of belly dancing slinks between classic Raqs sharqi and contemporary fusion styles; and what's a revue without a little bit of vaudeville-style comedy antics, courtesy of the slick-handed Brad French, the Silver Fox?
Even with the success of World Burlesque Day online, getting back in front of a life audience is taking the show back where it can really flourish. "It's similar to comedy," Joule said. "How do comedians know their timing if they don't hear the laughter? how can we know our timing if we can't hear the screaming and hooping and hollering. It's like breathing oxygen."
The Jigglewatts Revue Celebrates World Burlesque Day, Thu., April 28, 8pm, the Ballroom at Spider House, 2906 Fruth. Tickets and info at eventbrite.com. For more about the Jigglewatts, visit thejigglewattsburlesque.com.