The Red Hots Burlesque
Sundays @ 10PM
Wendy R. Williams
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
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
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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