What do you know about burlesque? The centuries-old stylish striptease is in the thick of a barreling revival that plenty of people know almost nothing about. Now that the legendary Slipper Room is back in business though, it's time to close the knowledge gap. Scroll down for a NSFW slideshow.
First, a brief history lesson. Dita Von Teese, reigning queen of the form, contends that the genre stretches as far back as the Greek playwright Aristophanes, who combined smart political commentary with bawdy showmanship in "Lysistrata," his play about sex-starved soldiers. Burlesque as we think of it today -- as a clothes-dropping act crossed with a comic sensibility that can involve props and dialogue -- took off in Europe in the 1800s, however. In 1868, a successful stage troupe, The British Blondes, brought their flesh-colored tights and peroxided manes to New York City, and the tradition of American burlesque began with a bang.
Today, Von Teese is just one of the major players in a field that can't be easily defined. Whether it's through the blood-soaked theatrics from the East Village superstar Julie Atlas Muz, or the ripped-from-the-headlines antics of Tigger!, one of the scene's best-known male acts, exponents of what is today called "neo-burlesque" are essentially performance artists. Brush up on the 20 stars who are re-making burlesque by scrolling through the slideshow below.
A warning: the images below are NSFW. (Just imagine you're at Coney Island in the summer.)