Back when displaying your goods and taking off clothing was an artform, burlesque dancers reigned. This Friday at the Patio, the Fluffgirls - five women clad in balloons, corsets and pasties - will romp, perform comedy acts, fan dances and even bring willing audience members on stage for a totally legal, totally fun contest. As part of their world tour, the Fluffgirls will perform to music ranging from classical burlesque standards infused with electronic beats, '50s bump and grind and classic rock to more unique modern-day recordings, all selected by DJ Chaz Royal from Montreal. The jazz band ESW will also perform. The hour and a half show starts at 10 p.m.
Cecilia Bravo started the Fluffgirl Burlesque Society in 1996 after she bought a Las Vegas Grind compilation record of 1950s striptease music. "The back cover had old photos on it of burlesque dancers in a Vegas club. The music was great. And with my love for vintage lingerie, clothing and all things glamorous from the '40s-'60s, it inspired me to put on a show," Bravo said. "I also wanted to re-create an environment that would allow me to dress up in my long sparkly gowns and gloves without looking like a fool."
But the girls on stage aren't the only ones who should come to the Patio in costume. Bravo encourages the audience to dress to impress. "There is no strict dress code," Bravo explained. "But wearing vintage or any formal attire helps create a surreal atmosphere. Overall, we always have a mix of stylish men and women out to have a good time."
And it may even help with the contest at the end. "The contest is my favorite part of the show," said Bravo, who explained that audience involvement is very important. "We watch in amusement while some of the audience competes for a surprise."
Of course, some crowds are more amusing than others. During a stop in a dodgy part of London on the Fluffgirls' last tour, a man attempted to steal a costume backstage. "He was caught by one of the performers," Bravo said. "But we later realized that a pair of costume panties were still missing. The thief's friend came back for more and we all detained him. It finally dawned on us after questioning him for 10 minutes that he was wearing one of our hats; we searched him and found the missing panties. Security called the police and had the culprits fined. The story is now known as the 'G-string heist of Camden.'"