INCOMING: Maximum Bump N’ Grind

Philadelphia Burlesque Fest


Burlesque is to stripping is what a Betty Boop cartoon is to a David Lee Roth video, what grindhouse is to grindcore, what slap and tickle is to reverse cowgirl. Retro, cool and stylish, burlesque is about sociology not gynecology. We, meaning you, should know. From The Trocadero’s days as a burlesque theater to The Peek-A-Boo Revue, burlesque has a long rich  history in Philadelphia. Today, burlesque is alive and well in Philly with troupes like Broad St. Burlesque and the aforementioned Peek-A-Boo Revue keepin’ it real. Popular venues PhilaMOCA, Underground Arts, World Cafe Live, Johnny Brenda’s and Bourbon & Branch continue to host burlesque events in the city. “Philadelphia’s burlesque scene has grown so much over the past eight years, exponentially so in last few,” says Broad St. Burlesque Productions’ Liberty Rose. “Across the city there are so many troupes, variety shows and monthly installments, weekly burlesque battles, shows in dive bars, shows in beautiful theatres, and so much more,” says Hattie Harlow, Broad St. Burlesque. And so the Philadelphia Burlesque Festival — two days of burlesque performances, burlesque classes, ice cream socials and before and after parties — was born, says Harlow and Rose, co-creators (along with Dottie Riot) of the newly-minted bump n’ grind fest. The main showcases will take place at Plays and Players Theatre, 17th and Delancey street, on Friday and Saturday. “The festival is something, I think, that can draw all of those people together into one uniting force,” says Harlow. Things start rolling tonight with a kick-off party for the Burlesque Festival at Underground Arts hosted by Scott Johnston, of Peek-A-Boo Revue and The Roddenberries fame, featuring performances by Bunny Bedford, Holly Ween, Tesla Tease and Sven Inches. And if all that isn’t enough, on Sunday the festival’s closing party at Silk City will feature performers gyrating to live music by Bill Tayoun, Joey Tayoun and Drew Nugent. It will surely be a weekend-long extravaganza of glitter, glamour, tassels and ta-tas. Let the wild rumpus begin. –– TATIANA SWEDEK