Saw Mizz Dita Von Teese and her burlesque buddies on Memorial Day in Portland at the Aladdin Theater. I anticipated this show for months, set out on an epic journey to be there, and even built a Pacific Northwest trip around it. So did it live up to all the expectation?
In two words: FUCK YES.
Dita started the show with her now classic martini glass routine. She lip-synched a song about liking it slow, and stripped down from a perfectly fitted tux to a gorgeous corset. Her body is every bit amazing as it looks in pictures. Her waist is really that tiny and her skin is milky white and flawless. In between Dita’s four performances, other well-known burlesque stars like Dirty Martini and Catherine D’Lish punctuated the stage with their unique flavor. This show was interesting because there wasn’t any singing and really not much in the way of dancing. I’d call it more coquettish posing and prancing. It is like watching a live editorial photo shoot. Strike a pose, click. Strike a pose, click. The audience takes in a series of beautiful images, but really not much more. The whole shebang amounts to a gorgeous puff of powder, but what it lacks in substances it makes up for in style.Not to say there are no skills involved; Dita completed much of her mirrored-compact routine en pointe in Louboutin ballet point shoes. She definitely looked a little nervous and strained during the more challenging balancing requirements of the act. Truthfully, there were more than a few moments where Dita telegraphed her anxiety. When the fasteners on her garments didn’t cooperate with her quick release commands a palpable panic swept over both her face and her gestures. I found this surprising for such a seasoned performer since I’m sure in this type of show wardrobe hiccups are par for the course. While physically stunning, there is a classic stripper disconnect between Dita and the crowd. Many of her hand-selected co-stars made more meaningful connections with the audience than Dita. No one looked better, but there was definitely a wall up between Dita and her fans. Almost as if she was looking past us, or maybe down at us? Dita closed with a big opium den number set in part to a remixed version of the Cure’s Lullaby. The incredible finale climaxed with four gloved hands pawing Dita’s body into ecstatic submission. Nary a nipple was exposed, but the entire show was a pleasing, erotic, and light-hearted delight. This show was well worth the price of admission, and even worth traveling a distance to catch. We owe Von Teese a great debt in keeping the art of burlesque alive and relevant, and she’s obviously one of the most stylishly influential women on the scene. Three cheers for Dita indeed, Strip Strip Hooray!