Friday, July 29, 2011

Ecdysiasts and such

H.L. Mencken's 1940 word for "strip-tease artist" (from Gk. ekdysis  "a stripping or casting off," used scientifically for serpents shedding skin or crustacea molting) was supposedly coined in honor of Miss Gypsy Rose Lee.

I got inspired by the wealth of information, resources, and images provided in the liner notes of Girls! Girls! Girls!: The Best of Burlesque & Striptease Music to do a little internet digging. One of my favorite finds is this invigorating film of what appears to be an authentic French can can. Wow! As the World War I song put it, "How 'Ya Gonna Keep Em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree)?" And exemplifying the modern art of burlesque in all its classy, campy splendor is Immodesty Blaize, who is seen in action in the second video. She and a number of other contemporary performers (such as Coco Framboise, Amber Ray, Gentry de Paris, Scarlett James, Michelle L'amour, and Renea' Le Roux) were interviewed by watchmojo, and their segments are well worth seeking out on youtube.

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