A thick, rolling, rasping voice drags like melodic brick on concrete from the back of his throat. She flicks her hair, sweeps her hips, hiking her skirt, carefully torn fishnet tights, revealing just enough leg to send me to heaven.
“I loved the show,” I take her aside later on, as the night is coming to a close “…you’re my favorite,” a cheap cheeky smile “But don’t tell the other girls. Shh.” She returns the smile with a well practiced other “Thanks hun”. I melt.
A few months ago I’m talking to a girl in Dublin who’s quite big into Irelands small but dedicated burlesque scene.
“I have burlesque dance class on Wednesday.”
“Oh, the nudie-dancing?”
I’m joking, of course. I understand that burlesque dancing (or at least modern revival of the art form) is more about empowerment and female sexuality and all those buzzwords rather than nudie-dancing. I’ve never been, of course. Ireland has that attitude that flashing a little bit of skin and using your female sexuality to empower and tease is a little slutty, I guess, a little too taboo. Not that that would stop me, to be honest, but it does push the scene more underground here.
I’ve always been curious, though, so when my flight to LA is delayed for a day by a big fuckoff snowstorm in Philadelphia and I have nothing better to do than virtually wander the streets of Santa Monica from my perch on the couch at home I come across this little jazzy club called Harvelles and immediately fall for the enticing mix of jazz and burlesque that it seems to offer. “I haveta go there if I can,” I promise myself.
It’s our last night in LA. The trip has been so far eventful to say the least; a night in West Hollywood with Ruari Robinson and some of his friends; a day of sightseeing including all the usual (Mann’s Chinese Theatre, The walk of fame, blah blah blah) and unusual (The Scientology funded Anti-Psychaitry Museum); a penthouse party in Disneyland LA and even a “Critters Breakfast” alongside some well known Disney characters. So, not too shabby for a four day trip to LA. But still there is a slight urge to visit this Jazz club.
These girls drift smoothly through the crowd, flicking legs in the air, writhing on the floor, climbing up onto the bar counter (walking up and down with style), climbing into a nook above the bar and swinging upside down from a metal pole. The girls dance with the lead singer, himself completely unique with a weathered voice and wearing a full length trenchcoat and hat , tight leathered gloves with gaps for his fingers. He grasps the oldschool mike tight in his fist, letting the cable flex and trail behind him. One girl mounts an on-stage stripper-pole, slithering effortlessly up and down and, at one point, lying flat against the roof of the bar, held in place only by her thighs on the pole.
“I loved the show,” I take her aside later on. She has been having drinks with some poser douche at the bar. Probably a boyfriend or some rich twat. I grimace at the fucker now (now that he’s looking away) “I just wanna say that you’re my favorite,” a cheap cheeky smile, I’m caught in her eyes “But don’t tell the other girls, shh.” I can see she’s enamored by the genuine compliment, flattered by my harmless flirtatious tone and polite humor. She returns the smile with a well practiced other “Thanks hun.” I melt.
I leave it at that. This is about as cool as I get so no use fucking it up with a conversation. I let her back to her douchebag boyfriend as I finish my bottle of Bud and drift back to her performance earlier.
For more info:
Check out Harvelles bar @ Harvelles.com
Or Harvelles blog @ harvelles.blogspot.com
The Toledo Show was the outfit that we saw that night. The Havelles Show is reviewed here and more information on them can be found on their website here.
For any still not convinced here is a longer clip of “Dame Erin” in action.