Showgirl Adventure: Viva Gypsy!

Posted by RubyJoule On January - 25 - 20113,738 views

I recently had the honour of headlining the Viva Dallas Burlesque show called Dirty Sexy Funny, along with some of the most outrageous burlesque comediennes of north Texas.  It was also the 100th birthday of the iconic burlesque legend, Gypsy Rose Lee, known for her elegance, wit, and  humour on stage. I couldn’t wait to perform my newly crafted Gypsy tribute act!

There was a brutal cold front blowing in, and the historic Lakewood Theatre was drafty and cold! Not to mention three of the other showgirls were fighting off the plague.  We were all shivering as we paced through our tech rehearsals, but once we got to shakin’ the goods on stage, the place heated up quickly!

The entire show was devoted to comedy within burlesque, from classic vaudevillian parody to the startling spectacle of neo-burlesque’s whimsy. One of my favorite dancers, Aviva Voila, did a charming and funny routine to the William Tell Overture! There was a trumpet. There was galloping. And through the infectious humor of this act, the grace and beauty of Aviva’s formal dance training shone.

Aviva Voila

Another stand out performer of the evening was my co-headliner, Miss Vivienne Vermuth.  Her outrageous send-ups of pop culture were absurdly genius.  I mean, she danced to Eric Cartman singing “Come Sail Away!”  My favorite act of hers that night was her performance as Princess Peach from the gaming world of Super Mario Brothers.  I can’t help it, I like princesses.  Shocking, I know. But this number was at once silly, engaging, clever, glamorous, and downright sexy!

Vivienne Vermuth

I brought in a couple of my lighthearted favourites: “I Want to be Evil” as done by Eartha Kitt, and “The Bomb Samba,”  costume inspired by Bob Mackie.

Ruby Joule in "I Want to be Evil"

Ruby with Bob Mackie and Jan Strimple

For my Gypsy Rose Lee tribute act, I reprised her vocal act, “A Lovely Pair.”  This may have been a bit too nostalgic for some audience members, as I had an encouraging heckler shout from the back of the house, “Stop talking and take off yer clothes!”  Fortunately a producer was nearby to show this gentleman his error. I wondered how Gypsy would have handled that… probably with a sharp and expert wit. As for me, I ignored him and belted a bit louder.  Then I took off my clothes 😉

Ruby Joule in "A Lovely Pair" tribute to Gypsy Rose Lee

You see, “a peachy pair got Adam – she got him cause she had ’em!”  I think of Gypsy Rose Lee as the American godmother of burlesque.  She didn’t invent it, but she got it on Broadway.  She put it on the silver screen, the small screen too (though highly censored).  She even wrote novels about it, much like contemporary icon Immodesty Blaize.  Known for her elegant striptease style, onstage wit and sharp humour, she even went on to host a television talk show in the sixties.  Many thanks to Robert Strom, author of Lady of Burlesque: The Career of Gypsy Rose Lee, for his guidance and encouragement in the development of my act.

Gypsy at her typewriter, 1956

A favourite photo of Gypsy...

Thanks also to the producers of Viva Dallas Burlesque, the lovely performers I shared the stage with, especially Courtney Crave who was so supportive backstage, she even bit a stray thread from my gown with her very teeth!

Ruby Joule and Courtney Crave

Till next time,

xoxoxoxoxo- Ruby Joule

Ruby Joule is a burlesque performer, go-go dancer, pin-up model and bonne vivante based in Austin, TX. She is a founding member of The Jigglewatts Burlesque and strives to seek out new adventures in Showgirlhood!

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