Art or Bust?
Saucy fun? Self-exploitation? Cultural critique? Banal titillation?
A decade ago, burlesque erupted in a surprisingly popular underground revival. Many aspects of it have now entered the mainstream – watch out for the Hollywood movie, Burlesque, starring Christina Aguilera and Cher (out Dec 17), and On Tour, the French film, released Dec 10. But it remains a contentious scene, representing glamour, sisterhood, confidence and fun to some, reactionary sexual politics and artistic mediocrity to others.
Presented by Time Out Live and the Blue Stocking Society, ART OR BUST? brings together leading figures from London’s burlesque and cabaret scenes with very different opinions to explore some of the issues in a Question Time-style panel chaired by Time Out Cabaret Editor Ben Walters and Tricity Vogue, co-founder of female progressive cabaret company the Blue Stocking Society. The debate will be spurred on by turns from five very different performers on the contemporary scene.
Bettsie Bon Bon
And on the panel:
Kitty Bang Bang, established burlesque performer
Ophelia Bitz, (re)lapsed burlesque performer and co-editor of Bad Feminist UK
Marisa Carnesky, show-woman and theatrical artiste
Simon Casson, producer, Duckie
Lara Clifton, co-founder, Whoopee Club
Jo King, founder of London Academy of Burlesque and host of Tournament of Tease
Lucille Howe, burlesque performer turned novelist and journalist
Jacki Willson, author of ‘The Happy Stripper: Pleasure and Politics of the New Burlesque’
BadFemanist founder Ophelia Bitz also fought our corner on Radio 4
Art or Bust: The Great Burlesque Debate – took place on Monday December 6, at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. Tune in to Woman’s Hour in the morning (R4, 10am) to hear our own Ophelia Bitz going head to head with Dr Julia Long!
Photography by AbsolutQueer Photography. Video by Ophelia Bitz and Audacity Chutzpah