Burlesque is often confused with the more simplified term "stripping." But there's a difference between the art of burlesque, which relies heavily on costume and mystery, and the more overt art of shakin' one's moneymaker. Major cities across the U.S. have figured this out, and audiences flock to burlesque shows and festivals. This weekend, it's our turn -- enter siren Kitty Diggins.
Diggins began her career as a dancer in Portland, Oregon.
"I've always been fascinated with images of showgirls and costumes and had a strong visual imagination," she says. "I just got bored with modern dance and wanted to instead re-create the visions I had in my head of what dance was all about." Once she discovered the Ziegfeld Follies and the films of D.W. Griffith, she was hooked. "My emphasis in my performances is on the late teens and early 1920s," she adds.
Diggins' Valley performance is part of "Who Let the Kitty Out?!" -- an event also featuring the Subcutaneous Film Festival. The evening will showcase Diggins' performances, which range from fairy tales to mermaid acts, as well as several films by underground artists; highlights include Wig Rodeo and Jessie Helms Is Cleaning Up America.
To top it all off, the event features an exclusive showing of Steven Arnold's 1971 film Luminous Procuress, starring drag diva Divine and comedy/drag group The Cockettes. In its time, the film was hailed by the likes of Salvador Dali, who called it "an extraordinary, fantastic film." A documentary about the history of The Cockettes also will roll.
This event is definitely designed for adults, so leave the kids at home and catch a glimpse of a hot old trend, and get a primer in the history of underground film.