Bringing sexy back to Christmas

By Megan Ferringer

This Holiday season, Chicago’s burlesque stars are joining forces to bring a whole new meaning to Santa’s naughty list.

Mixing sexy gyrating moves with classic Christmas sing-a-longs and polishing it all off with a cherry on top-festive red and green pasties-Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., is bringing together all nooks and crannies of Chicago’s diverse burlesque scene on one steamy stage of holiday fun. A joint production curated by Vaudezilla Entertainment and Mo Roses, Nov. 28 will mark the beginning of “Sexy Santa’s SPECTACULAR!”-burlesque’s ultimate naughty list.

The holiday variety shows feature a different burlesque headliner for each of the eight performances. From toy soldiers to their own interpretation of the nativity scene, the show adds its own spice to commercialized Christmas celebrations with a classic vaudeville style.

“We have some Christmas burlesque teases, like reverse stripping where the headliner starts out in pasties and underwear and they dance back into holiday clothes,” said Anne Marie Weinert, founder of Vaudezilla.

At the heart of 19th century show business, the term vaudeville first emerged-a style of entertainment rooted in a risque variety that both companies have tried to emulate in their own version of 21st century amusements. Mixing eroticism with the likes of concert saloons, freak shows, magicians and one-act plays, vaudeville essentially represents a disambiguated art.

With just the right dose of class and sass, burlesque pros Pearl Pistol (Rose Kasinecz), owner of Mo Roses , and Red Hot Annie (Weinert) collaborated with their own vaudeville-infused theater to create a mashup of all things tantalizing.

“Vaudeville is really this classic idea. The way they did Vaudeville years ago turned into burlesque in New York and eventually came to Chicago,” Kasinecz said. “So Mo Roses took that framework, Vaudezilla added a bit of bump and grind and it all came together for this show.”

The two companies have been working on the show since Oct. 1, establishing the different nightly concepts and writing the odds and ends of the several scripted acts. Weinert said both her and Kasinecz wanted to aim for a light show-on the verge of lighthearted and funny with just enough sexy to keep the audience enticed.

“The gaudiness and sexiness of burlesque is still there, but there’s a lot of ingenuity in some ways as we pair it all together in one grand Christmas theme,” Weinert said.

Headlining the eight shows are performers like Red Hot Annie and Pearl Pistol, Paris Green, Jack and Jinx, and to end the show’s run, Miss Tamale.

There have been several new additions to the usual lineup involved with Vaudezilla and Mo Roses collaborations, but the aim was to encompass Chicago’s diverse burlesque scene by picking the people that both Red Hot Annie and Pearl Pistol felt best represented the different types of burlesque throughout the city.

“Chicago has a myriad of talent in the burlesque scene, so we have this opportunity to showcase that,” Kasinecz said. “Chicago’s scene can be a bit stratified, but our whole intention by having different headliners is to really make a united burlesque scene in the city.”

Paris Green of Belmont Burlesque represents the classic approach, Weinert said, and her burlesque style tends to be more old-school with her 1920s dress and music.

Performing on Dec. 5, Lindsey Marks, Jack of Jack and Jinx, combines old school vaudeville performance with an edgy contemporary flair.

“This show gives me a chance to do some great comedic character work and utilize the strip at the same time,” Marks said. “Let’s just say mine’s about a down on her luck Rudolph who moves on to better things.”