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Posts Tagged ‘Tempest Rose’


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Burlesque: Women in Control

Last night I participated in an introduction to burlesque class taught by the fabulous Tempest Rose, one of the famous Kitten Club kittens. A group of eight women gathered at Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium off Hoxton Square. Most of us only really knew that Burlesque involves beautiful costumes, sometimes strip tease and stage performances, all done by very sexy women. We spent the evening learning to shimmy, and bump and grind, learning to use our bodies and faces to convey our emotions, and learning about the costumes and props of burlesque. (I’m pretty sure Sh! had a last-minute run on nipple tassels at the end of the evening.) The class culminated in our ‘graduation exercise’ — a glove strip-tease. The glove was the only item of clothing removed during the evening. (Unless you count a pair of VERY uncomfortable, nose-bleed stilettos that got tossed in the corner after a few attempts at bump and grind.)

I had no idea a simple glove could be such a sensual tool, nor that it could convey so much. Tempest told us that though strip tease is often apart of burlesque, a burlesque performer never takes off everything. In fact, a burlesque performer views the items of her costume as props rather than clothing. She said she begins a performance with some props, and by the end of the performance, she has less props.

The literal meaning of burlesque is to ‘send up,’ or to make a joke of. Its literary forms can be traced back to Chaucer’s bawdy Canterbury Tales. According to Wikipedia, Burlesque is a humorous theatrical entertainment involving parody and sometimes grotesque exaggeration. Burlesque sometimes parodies the higher performance arts – ballet, opera, poetry. It often, parodies the male and female relationship, and usually at the expense of the blokes. The form is often associated with a variety show and striptease.

What makes burlesque unique, according to Tempest, is that female sensuality and the female form are always at the centre of burlesque. What I found most striking about the evening, as I did the first time I saw Tempest introducing an audience to burlesque at Sh! Portobello, was the sensual female power that is the driving force of burlesque. That power was the reason I wanted to learn more. Tempest told us that in burlesque, the woman is always in control. It is in her power to reveal or conceal what she chooses in her own time. When curves and female sensuality are emphasized, the result is not only beautiful, but also very powerful.

Tempest demonstrated to us how female control in burlesque is shown in the stances and the movements of the performer. She showed us how the angular, sensual stances emphasized in burlesque showcase the female form, emphasizing sensuality and curves. The result is an art form that is 100% female powered. And the sense of that power appeals to both men and women.

She contrasted that to what a stripper might do at a strip club, where the stances are open and straight on, emphasizing what is between the legs. The movements suggest the sex act itself, and emphasizing a man’s point of view.

It was a girl-powered evening, with each of us showcasing our own unique female sensuality. There was pink fizz, silky gloves, corsets, lace, and laughter, and at the centre of it all we were in control. As a woman writing erotica for women, I like that a lot.
 

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Sh! Portobello Store launch — Holly’s First Public Debute!

Thursday night was the big launch of the long awaited Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium Portobello Store, and it was even more fun than anticipated! If there was a theme to the evening, I’d have to say it was girl power. It always amazes me how strong and appealing women are when they’re comfortable in their own skin and comfortable with their own sexuality. And Thursday night’s launch was definitely a gathering of powerful, sexy women.

It was great fun browsing the latest and coolest toys and books and chatting with my fellow erotica writers as well as the actresses and burlesque beauties. The who’s who of girl power extraordinaire also included Suraya Sidhu Singh, editor-in-chief of Filament Magazine as well as Sarah Berry, Editor of Foreplay Magazine, formerly Forum.

The amazing, Kay Jaybee read her hot story, ‘Searching for Her,’ from Violet Blue’s award-winning erotic anthology for couples, Sweet Love Definitely an anthology to add to your collection. The fabulous Scarlet French read her story, ‘In the Garden of Eden ‘ from the anthology, Fantasy: Untrue Stories of Lesbian Passion , a sexy fantasy inspired by her time working as a Sh! girl. I hear Scarlet is about to launch her exciting new website.

In addition to hot stories read by hot chix, we all got to enjoy Delores Deluxe and Tempest Rose from the fabulous Kitten Club Burlesque Cabaret I have it on good authority that Delores is going to be teaching classes for Sh! very soon. Definitely sign me up! Three words -ostritch feather fans!

Of course, for me, the highlight of the evening was my chance to give a titilating taste of my novel The Initiation of Ms Holly It was exciting to finally share a little bit of the story that I’ve been living with in my head for the last year, and to such an appreciative audience. It was my chance to proudly parade Rita and Edward and introduce them to some really good friends — all of whom seemed to agree that chocolate and sex are definitely a good combo. Remember, you can pre-order your copy of The Initiation of Ms Holly on Amazon now.

Sorry there are no photos of all the fun at Sh! Portobello, but as with any new venture, there are always a few glitches. Just as Kay Jaybee was starting her reading, the lights went out — only downstairs where the entertainment was. Upstairs where people milled about browsing the hot selection of books and sex toys and corsets and boas and whips and…sigh, well you get the picture, the lights were fine. As it turned out, an evening’s entertainment of sexy stories, and burlesque by lamp and candle light was very atmospheric — especially when accompanied with lots of fizz and cup cakes!

Also beautifully present at the Sh! launch were the cast from the fabulous play, Five Clever Courtesans, written by the very talented Sarah Blake. Raymond and I were lucky enough to catch the Sunday night performance at the Vibe Bar on Brick Lane just before the ladies all head off to the Edinburgh Fringe, where the play is already rated number nine out of the top forty Fringe acts. No trouble seeing why! The play is witty, educational, sexy and very moving. Break a leg in Edinburgh, Courtesans!

Every time I visit Sh!, I make new friends and have a really great time. Thursday night was no exception — with or without the lights. Thanks Sh! Chix, for a great time!
 

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