Burlesque In LA: Two Must See Shows

After seeing Cher and Christina Aguilera shake what their mamas gave them in Burlesque last year, you may be wondering where you can see some live burlesque shows in Los Angeles. Luckily, we've zeroed in on two local shows--Harlow Gold and Schmutzigen Deutsche Kabarett--that take the genre to new heights, giving audiences sexy, edgy numbers with new, unique twists.

Choreographers Tracy Phillips and Dominic Carbone bring their cabaret-inspired show, Harlow Gold, to Harvelle's in Santa Monica the last two Thursdays of every month. The pair describes their show as "nouveau burlesque" and promise, "you're not going to see another show like this." Free of gimmicks and the usual feathers and sequins that flood the stage in other burlesque shows, Harlow Gold gives audiences something more alternative and rock-n-roll, with darker, grittier performances. The show is hands-on and in your face (literally), blending modern, recognizable music (think White Stripes and Tom Waits) with throw-back, cabaret-inspired moves in a way that is as sensual as it is mesmerizing.

As the masterminds behind many tantalizing and entertaining performances--like Adam Lambert's controversial American Music Awards performance and the memorable dance sequence in 500 Days of Summer--Phillips and Carbone have utilized their passion for dance and interest in creating sexy, new performance styles in Harlow Gold, which they say, "showcases the beauty of women and the strength of women." The result is a clever, erotic, edgy show that is packed with so much power and force, you'll want to worship the female performers as they strut, writhe and shake their stuff right up against you on stage, on the bar, and through the aisles. The creators' ultimate goal is to allow the audience to escape for one hour and get lost in a world with less inhibition, and for $15 - $25 per seat, we think the experience is well worth it.

Schmutzigen Deutsche Kabarett at Zombie Joe's Underground Theater in North Hollywood is a burlesque and cabaret-inspired show that distinguishes itself with down-right satirical performances that still seem to ooze sex. Director and choreographer Amanda Marquardt, who created the Rag Dolls Burlesque (which you may have caught at venues like El Cid, Bordello, or Kress) has created this off-shoot show that delves into the world of theater.

Schmutzigen Deutsche Kabarett runs every Saturday at 11pm for the next six weeks, and promises to "revive the spirit of the Berlin stage between the two World Wars through a swift, sleek, rambunctious display of Wiemar Cabaret stage performance." Mashing up musical performances, burlesque-style dance numbers, and hilarious dialogue in between, this inventive take on the burlesque genre is the perfect blend of what Marquardt calls a "cutey-pie, vaudeville throw-back" and contemporary satire and humor. The numbers are as new as they are nostalgic, and Marquartd's balance of the old style with some new surprises will have you telling your friends about the show long after you see it. For $15, audience members can expect to see a stripped down version of a nun, as well as a female performer in Hitler drag stripping down to her bare essentials in the show-stealing number "High Chancellor."

Los Angeles Burlesque