Bristol's Badass Burlesque Show
Glorian Gray walks CoochieCrunch.com through the Burlesque history that brought her to her new project, The Burlesque Quilt.
The burlesque revival is booming in the UK, standing on its own two feet as a new chapter of burlesque history. All around the country there are performers new and old, established events, new events, tiny shows, big theatre shows, all with more colour and creativity and passion than you can shake your bejewelled butt at. And for those of us involved in this melee of marvellousness, it is part of who we are, part of our own personal histories, as well as fast becoming one of the most unexpected and exciting parts of recent performance history.
Being a real Burlesque history buff, I often spend time perusing old photos and memorabilia, reading books and snippets describing what the old shows were like, what the performers did then on stage. The characters loom large, the sexual politics rage full of controversy just as they do now, and the shows- well, if I could invent a time machine, what I wouldn’t give to see some of those old shows. Set the Delorean to 1868 New York so I can watch the British Blondes in Ixion, to the Minsky’s Wintergarden, to Paris to watch La Goulue dance the Can Can, and right back to the saloons and pleasure gardens of 1800s British Music Hall.
I suppose at some point during all this researching and time travel fantasies, my brain started thinking about how we, the new characters, were going to be represented in the future. What photos and memorabilia would people look at when talking about the burlesque revival? And then one night, it came to me in a dream. No, seriously, it actually did. What if there was a burlesque patchwork quilt? A big quilt telling our burlesque story, each square representing a performer or an event, a visual and tactile impression of who we are and what is happening in our glittery world right now.
When I woke up, this didn’t seem like such a crazy idea, so I put it on the good old internet, to see what people thought. The response was great, and after collecting people’s ideas and getting some advice from quilters in our community, as of that point project Burlesque Patchwork Quilt was GO!
The project is ongoing at the moment because feedback was that everyone is super busy and struggling to find time to complete their patches (myself included, I have just finished mine this month). But the patches I have received are just magic, wonderful little bits of modern burlesque history and of our own personal histories. Some have been about individual performers, some about events, some just depictions of what burlesque means for that person.
Submissions are being taken until we have enough patches to make a quilt, so is still open for entries. You don’t have to be good at sewing, just glue stuff on. You don’t have to be crafty or artistic, my patch looks like it was done by an 8 year old, but it’s still cool. Just cut up a patch of 12 inches by 12 inches, of any material you want, and get going! Finished entries are to be sent to me, Glorian Gray.
The plan for when it is done is taking shape, a tour of the UK with it, displaying in local arts houses/quilting museums, newspaper and online coverage- there has been a lot of interest. So its an opportunity to get some promo going too! So get out your scraps and your bits and pieces and get Burlesque Patchwork Quilting, and be an enduring part of modern burlesque history!