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Girls, Girls, Girls
In the mood for something blue? The Second Annual New York Burlesque Festival is shakin' this weekend.
 
BY RAVEN SNOOK
 
Drag king Murray Hill with the World Famous Pontani Sisters.
The three-day celebration of burlesque's second heyday features a cornucopia of sexy singers, bands, dancers, specialty acts and striptease performers. The festival is broken into four titillating shows at a quartet of venues. "Our venues are about ten times bigger than they were last year," says Angie Pontani, a member of veteran burlesque trio The World Famous Pontani Sisters, one of the event's organizers. "That means more performers, more rhinestones, more tail feathers and more pasties!"

• For more info, see thenewyorkburlesquefestival.com.
 
 
The Premiere Party
Friday, May 14 2004
Pussycat Lounge
Two floors of voluptuous fun await you: Downstairs, a bevy of scantily clad go-go dancers and burlesque beauties show off their considerable assets on the runway behind the bar, while upstairs risqué musical acts take over the cabaret stage. Key performances include New York's guitar-strumming and trapeze-swinging duo The Wau Wau Sisters, who will play some of their raunchy ditties; The Wet Spots from Vancouver, who sing songs as suggestive as their name; Diamondback Annie, a Los Angeles-based, drag king Elvis impersonator who reveals what The King was really shaking behind his pelvis; and zaftig chanteuse Phat Man Dee from Pittsburgh—a cross between Divine and Julie Wilson—who croons standards with a lurid twist. If you spy a full-grown, mustachioed man dressed up as a rabbit, don't think you've gone the way of Jimmy Stewart. That's just performance artist Scotty the Blue Bunny presiding over the shindig. "It's a very party environment," says Pontani. "We have about 20 performers scheduled that night, but the entire burlesque community will be there. Last year, it even led to a couple of impromptu numbers."
• 96 Greenwich St. near Rector St.; 212-285-6100; Doors open at 8 p.m.; $10; pussycatlounge.com

America's Favorite Burlesque Game Show: This or That!
Saturday, May 15, 2004
Coney Island
The funniest game show that's not shown on television because… well, because you can't show this kind of stuff on the tube. Loaded with off-color humor, semi-naked bodies, and sex toys, This or That! is the brainchild of Fred Kahl, a magician and sword-swallower who MCs the show as The Great Fredini along with his coquettish co-host, the stunning Julie Atlas Muz. Originally created as part of Coney Island's Burlesque at the Beach summer series, a number of festival participants will guest star for this spring edition including Bambi, Bunny Luv and Lady Ace. If you want to be a contestant, all you have to do is show up and leave your inhibitions at home. Vie for cash, prizes or the chance to be spanked by answering a variety of X-rated questions and shedding some clothes. Eventually you will be forced to pick between two doors and, well, we're not going to spoil all the fun.
• Sideshows by the Seashore, Coney Island; 3 p.m.; $15; www.thisorthat.tv

The Saturday Spectacular
Saturday, May 15, 2004
Avalon
The climax of the festival, Saturday night's extravaganza showcases the all-stars of the neo-burlesque circuit. Hosted by drag king Murray Hill, the self-declared "hardest working middle-aged man in show business," the evening features over 40 acts bound to cover the stage in sequins, sweat, and sex. The Fisherman Burlesque Orchestra, a seven-piece band, will back lovely ladies with names like Amber Ray, Jo Boobs, Trixie Little, Oh De Twirlette, Bella Beretta, The Glamazons, Immodestry Blaize, Miss Saturn and Delirium Tremens. But don't call these gals strippers. A stripper just gets naked. These women elevate the process to an intricate and often hysterical art form. And just like old-school burlesque, the bill mixes it up with other kinds of talent including vocalists (Torchy Taboo from Atlanta), sideshow acts (the Bronx's own Angelo Silver doing rope tricks), dance troupes (The Pontani Family Reunion Dancers), and bits that defy description (the irrepressible Tigger.) If you decide to take some of the glamour home with you, check out the burlesque boutique where you can purchase pasties, corsets and other naughty items.
660 Sixth Ave. at 20th St.; 212-807-7780; Doors open at 7 p.m.; $25 in advance, $30 at the door

Burlesque Brunch & The Golden Pastie Awards
Sunday, May 16, 2004
The Cutting Room
See your cheesecake and eat it too at this new addition to the festival: a burlesque awards show. Log on to the festival's official website to vote for your favorite performer or troupe in such tongue-in-cheek categories as "most likely to eventually go into politics," "biggest tease," "best turbo tassel twirling skills," and, of course, "best boobs." The totals will be tallied on Sunday morning and the lucky winners will receive—you guessed it—a pair of golden pasties. Miss Astrid, the eye-patch wearing German diva who MCs New York's celebrated Va Va Voom Room burlesque show will serve as hostess and award giver. In between the thank-you speeches—or whatever these gals decide to do to express their gratitude—catch performances by the likes of Skin Tight Outta Sight, Panty Raid, Miss Mitzy Cream and Rosewood, as well as a burlesque fashion show featuring creations by Delicious Corsets, Mode Merr and Helles Belles. And you thought Sunday was for church.
• 19 W. 24th St. between Broadway and Sixth Ave.; 212-691-1900; Doors open at 1 p.m.; $20; thecuttingroomnyc.com
 
 
Homegrown Heroines
The city's biggest burlesque stars are always available to entertain.


Bonnie Dunn: A veteran cabaret and burlesque performer, Dunn's hilariously dirty song parodies are only topped by her stunning fan dances. See her on Saturday nights at her long-running burlesque show, Le Scandal. (The Cutting Room, 19 W. 24th St. between Broadway and Sixth Ave.; 212-691-1900; Show at 10:30 p.m.; $15; lescandal.com)

Little Brooklyn: This curvy lady gives new meaning to the term sugar rush with her candy-coated routines. You may never look at a Tootsie Roll the same way again. Catch her every Thursday at Starshine Burlesque. (RiFiFi, 332 E. 11th St. near First Ave.; 212-677-6309; Doors open at 10 p.m.; $5 plus a one-drink minimum; starshineburlesque.com)

Miss Dirty Martini: As full of fun as she is full-figured, Dirty (as her fans call her) elicits laughs with her gloriously campy routines. When she arrives on stage covered in balloons, you know it's just a matter of time before everything ends up popping out.

The Wau Wau Sisters: Burlesque goes legit as this country singing, costume stripping duo makes its off-Broadway debut with a seven-week run at Ars Nova. (Ars Nova, 511 W. 54th St., between Tenth and Eleventh Aves.; 212-489-9800; May 12-June 26 Wed.-Sat. at 10 p.m.(some Wednesdays they don't perform.); $20; arsnovanyc.com)

The World Famous *BOB*: Her tremendous measurements 47 F - 34 -45 are only exceeded by her overwhelming talents. You've never seen a martini shaken and stirred quite like this.
 
Published May 10, 2004