About Town

The Red Hots Burlesque
Sundays @ 10PM

Written By
Wendy R. Williams

Photographed By
Evan Sung

Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas is upon us (again), so we all need to rev up the "ye old festivity engines." And what better way to start the holidays than to attend an old fashion burlesque show. Yes, old fashioned - the Red Hots Burlesque review is vintage vaudeville, your grandpa's vaudeville. The Hots perform vaudeville acts from the era of Gypsy Rose Lee and, "you gotta have a gimmick" and “bump it with a trumpet.” And these Red Hot girls do it all - they bump, they grind, they toss their tassles and they make you laugh. But they do it all with a wink and a nudge while they keep theirs "bits" covered. That's right, with this Burlesque, there's no real nudity - just the illusion and the fun of nudity.

So on Sunday night, November 21st, Evan Sung and I went to Rififi (332 E 11th Street between 1st and 2nd) to see the Red Hots "hot it up." Rififi is an East Village hot spot - an incubator for the new and the raw. It hosts comedy and burlesque shows and the occasional midnight movie. It is the East Village at its grittiest and best.

(l. to r.) Dottie Lux, Veronika Sweet, and Scooter Pie

Before the show I had a chance to talk to three of the performers- Scooter Pie, Dottie Lux and Veronika Sweet.

First I asked them how they came to burlesque. They told me that they were all from small towns (calling Sinclair Lewis) and had come to New York to be dancers and actresses. They all three said that they loved to perform burlesque because they have total contol of their entire act - the music, the dance, the costume, all of it. They are their own directors and choregraphers. And they get to dress up, something they love. Scooter described herself as a "frustrated dancer" who loved burlesque because it is an artistic outlet for her. All three of the girls spoke about how much they loved the burlesque community - how they felt at home and how it was such a "body positive" environment. And they also talked about how burlesque is such a microcosm of society, existing mostly in the East Village.

Of course I asked how they felt about the nudity. Burlesque dancers do not actually get naked, just pretty durn close to it - it's pasty and thong time here. But the nudity did not bother them. All of them had been artists models so they had no inhibitions about their bodies. They all said that they loved the fact that burlesque showcases all different sized bodies, from the very svelte to the quite robust. And that the audience loves all of them. In fact it is the "naughtiness" of burlesque (with it's wink wink semi-nudity) that attracts the audience. As Dottie said, "You need the taboo to make it fun."

And last we talked about Coney Island. Coney Island is a mystical place for these girls - the pinacle for the Burlesque world. They spoke about how it is the only remaining live Freak show and how they are attracted to the history and the romance of performing at Coney Island and the legacy of the acts that have gone before them. Now this is an anomaly, an act in Manhattan pining to perform in Brooklyn.

But back to Coney Island. I have always throught that Coney Island is a very wierd place. When I go to the Island, I definitely get the feeling that a lot of shit has gone gone down out there. I asked the girls if they had any clue who actually lives on Coney Island - it seems like such a transient place but I do see apartment buildings. They told me that they don't know anyone who actually lives on the Island, but they have heard that Coney Islanders all have a wierd sense of direction. Coney Islanders have to go everywhere by subway. So since all their travel is done like moles on the "underground," Coney Islanders have no clue where they really are. Well, okay.

We finished talking and the girls went out for their smoke break (they all smoke). So here they are in all their glory - the way they look before they turn into their characters.

The Red Hots

The girls were gracious enough to allow Evan to photograph them while they made their transformation before the show.

They were finally ready and opened the doors to let the audience in for Las Vegas Night, hosted by hottie magician Nelson Lugo - a man who has all the tricks. He was backed up by live music from Brian Fisherman, who you can see Monday nights at the Otto’s Shrunken Head - a Tiki Bar on 14th Street between A & B. Brian also occasionally hosts own show on Coney Island.

Brian Nelson
Brian Nelson
Nasty Canasta
Nasty Canasta

The first act out was Nasty Canasta, of Galapagos Art Space fame. Nasty had a Las Vegas spin to her act. She certainly knew where to hold her cards. In fact she ended up wearing playing cards in some very strategic (dare we say nasty) places.

Scooter Pie

And then out came a cute red head named Scooter Pie. Scooter was all dolled up in green satin with lots of boas which she soon threw off stage, along with a “few” other items of clothing. And in the end there she was, all thonged up - showing us how amazingly coordinted she is. Scotter is the kind of girl who could develop a saucer twirling act - she can already twirl two "saucers" in different directions.

Jo Boobs

Next out of the box came a dead ringer for Monica Lewinsky, a dancer who goes by the name of Anita Cookies. Anita came out dressed in trash and strategically placed trash bags, dancing to the old Oscar the Grouch Sesame Street favorite, I Love Trash. And like any other child trained by Jim Henson's muppets, she dutifully threw all her trash in the garbage can before she left the stage.

Jo Boobs
Jo Boobs

And then we saw Jo Boobs (www.gstringsforever.com) . Now Jo has been performing for a while (this girl is a legend in the burlesque world) and she totally has it down. She completely controlled the stage and did an old fashion Gypsy Rose Lee style strip tease while dressed (temporarily) in Autumn colors.

Dotie Lux
Dottie Lux

And then here came the Mama of the Red Hots - Dottie Lux who started her act in a black cocktail dress (that she bought for her brother's Bar Mitzvah), accessorized by a large green feathered fan. Dottie soon removed the dress and a few other things and we got an really good view of her amazingly totoed back.

Veronika Sweet
Veronika Sweet

The last act of the night was Veronika Sweet who did a fast paced burlesque piece while popping pink bubble gum. Her music piece was one of the most classically burlesque and so was her act.

This show was fun. There was a large group of guys in the audience who simply loved the show (regardless of the body type) but the women in the audience seemed to be into it too. As Dottie said before the show, "Women love us too. We are telling women it's OK to not to have a perfect body."

So if you want a hot night out in the old town tonight, go see Red Hots Burlesque. Those girls will definitely tickle your fancy.

Rififi 332 E 11th St (11th Street Btw 1st and 2nd avenues) | NYC

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