Burlesque Troupe Opens 'Pandora's Box' at Alice's

Ariel Van Cleave

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Members of the 'Bait and Tassels' Burlesque Troupe (Ariel Van Cleave photo)

     The Bait and Tassels Burlesque Troupe has its own distinct style. Homer’s neo-burlesque performers give their crowds a show by showing off just enough. The troupe has been performing a new show for the last several weekends and the final performance of “Pandora’s Box” is Friday at Alice’s.

     At the start of the show, Pandora was standing on the stage explaining to the crowd that she believes the ornately designed, lighted box sitting in front of her is a prison for gods and goddesses. She lifted the lid and plucked names from it like Venus, Epona, Persephone and Pan. 

     But how exactly does a show like this come together? Well, the first ingredient you need to ensure a good burlesque show is glitter. So much glitter. Just when you think you’ve put on enough… you should add a little more. Seriously. A few performers said they have found glitter on their bodies, in the cars and stuck in carpets weeks after a show. The second absolute must-have? Hair spray. 

     The upstairs of Alice’s smelled of French fries and hair spray as the group ate last minute meals and swapped street clothes for costumes. The majority of which are handmade. Bags full of taffeta, fake eyelashes and high heels were just a few of the items taking up space on the ping pong tables. There was a line forming at one of the mirrors as some of the ladies waited to transform into their character. Boom Boom, who, like the rest of the performers, preferred to go by her character’s name, says there can be a bit of a traffic jam.

     “Because we’re waiting for Lady Lolita to decorate our faces since she’s the expert. So we have to time it so everybody gets a spot with her to do hair and make-up,” she said.

     It seemed like a continual process of adding the final touches the hour before the show. Maple Sugar Mary was standing in front of the mirror in the upstairs bathroom trying to tease her hair. As she was getting ready, she made a list of all the things she needed to do before the show: check the lights, make sure the sound is okay and pin the curtains together. 

     “Then we just glitter. We just glitter, glitter, glitter, glitter, glitter,” she said.

     Maple said it’s the little things that give the other performers the initial confidence to take the stage. But really, she says it’s the audience that makes a great show. 

     “It’s truly like you’re on a wave. And you’re riding it. And the bigger the wave that the audience gives you, the better,” she said.

     And Tabanga Tapper pointed out the troupe does have a good luck charm up its sleeve for each performance.

     “When most people go on stage you tell them ‘break a leg!’ But for Bait and Tassels Burlesque, it’s ‘pop a pasty’,” she said. 

     Back downstairs some members of the group were selling roses to the packed house. The crowd is asked to throw the fabric flowers to the performers as a sign of appreciation. Based on the number of roses that eventually littered the floor, it was clear the audience was having a good time. 

     There’s one more chance to see the show. The final performance of Pandora’s Box starts at 8 p.m. July 26. Tickets are available at the Homer Bookstore or at the door.

 

Contact: 
ariel@kbbi.org
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