Dawn Grayson
Norma Ann Sykes (Sabrina)
Kathleen Hughes
Betty Brosmer
Mylene Demongeot
Cay Sanderson
Ann Peters
Diana Dors
Ann Margret
Patti Waggin
Marilyn Monroe
Claudia Cardinale
Tempest Storm
Bonnie Logan
Shirley Quimby
Lisa Gaye
Sophia Loren
Circa 1975
Margaret Nolan
Barbara Nichols
Rosina Revelle
June Palmer

Vintage Photos (2)

Pam Grier
Freda Payne
Aretha Franklin
Katherine Dunham
Marie Devereux
Eve Myer
Dorothy Dandridge
Diahann Carroll
Greta Thyssen
Marie Wilson
Jeanne Carmen
Peggy Winters
Rene Bond
Teresa Graves
Helen Williams
Mary Thompson
Diahann Carroll
Ann Austin
Carole Landis 1940
Nichelle Nichols
Gloria Pall
Blaze Starr

Black Burlesque (an exploration)

Recently, mid–twentieth century Black burlesque has piqued my interest. I am fascinated with the night life of the time period, particularly — the rich cultural demographic of Harlem, Manhattan, New York. I view the women of the burlesque art form as pioneers of fearless feminine sexual expression; Black women, in particular, because of the overt racial discrimination and stereotypes of the era. In my brief viewing of films of the era, I have taken notice of the intricacies in the performances, and the layers of skill intertwined throughout the dances are quite captivating. If I may say, I have had a few interesting conversations about the comparability of burlesque performers and so called “strippers” of the modern day era; I think the most highlighted point referenced in all three dialogues, is that stripping is an evolution of burlesque, (a theory which I reject) which in turn caters to a modern audience who would be dismayed and dissatisfied at the prospect of women dancing in only partial nudity. In my opinion, burlesque and stripping have certain similarities, but they are largely incomparable and should be seen as two completely separate entities. I consider burlesque, circa 1950’s an art form in a theatrical setting, and I consider stripping, pornographic adult entertainment in a setting of monetary exchange for services rendered. There are indeed many skilled strippers who perform wonderfully and have mastered incredible dance routines, though I know patrons of strip clubs might not particularly care about the skill involved as much as the removal of clothes in those specific settings. I have not yet extensively researched burlesque, but I have found that its origin was in England, circa late 1830’s in the Victorian era.