Saturday 5 February 2011


In case someone's not already, here's some stuff to get ou in the mood for tonights huge venue; The Helsinki Burlesque Festival 2011!


K said...

oh, these videos are so cool. and in german :) lovely

Anonymous said...

i have trouble consolidating my appreciation for burlesque and its glamorous appeal with the racist nature of many of its designs. i find this conflict in this "indian" video as well as another show you posted about with girls in "native american" garb. like an old hollywood movie showing a band in blackface or something, i can still find merit in the movie itself but wouldn't necessarily choose to reproduce those elements if i were making a movie in that old tradition.

this isn't meant as an insult or attack, i'm just curious to see if you have any opinions on the subject?

Hele said...

the girl in the second is absolutely gorgeous

even if i have notunderstood a word

mispapelicos said...

Thank you for the present of these videos.
fantastic, as ever.

Maja said...

I love how the girl in the 2. video could be a menstrual pad- commercial... It looks nice in the front but in the back? oh golly that's not pretty... oh those germans they're crazy;)

Anonymous said...

Tässä lauseessa, joka on tuossa "about me"-kohdassa ei ole päätä eikä häntää:

"I do design and red lips, enjoy wine and beautiful dresses, am fond of high heels and fancy hair, monkeys and seamen."

What? :D

The Freelancer's FashionBlog said...

Anonymous: Well, I was only going to answer this thing with asking weather the Finnish expression "kaivaa vert nenästä" is familiar; I cannot have an opinion on a non-existing thing (such as racism in burlesque?).
But, I can give you sow think abouts however:

First, the two clips featured in this post are not burlesque videos, but a music video consisting of old movie clips by Messer Chups, and the second is from Fritz Lang's "indian Epic" from 1959; these posted to give some vibes for the evening's burlesque festive and it's theme. Old movies situated elsewhere than in the western society or the present day are not always realistic, but that does not still make them automatically racist. These clips are full of kitsch and camp which are also elements vividly used in burlesque.

Second, it struck me that you are most likely not familiar with real burlesque and have seen it live - it is the form of entertainment that might even be the most diverse when it come to performers (and spectators) as everyone is welcomed and included regardless of race, size, age, sexual orientation or gender- the environment is open minded. Numbers can be exactly anything and influenced bu anything; classical, rock n'roll, oriental, latin, it can be geisha dances, ballet, monkeys chickens tigers volcano girls giant cupcakes and you-name-its.

Third, imitating is not the same as mocking. (You mention black face bands - you won't (hopefully) see that happening today, but back in the days it was different and not perhaps thought of as racist - it could also be a lack of better knowledge. As an example I can mention that in FInland it even made the newspapers in the early fifties that a black man had been in Helsinki. That might seem unbelievable, but tree was not exactly diversity in the population here at that time so it was actually a thing that someone so "exotic" would come all the way up here. So you can imagine that Finnish film did use guys with shoe polish in their faces when they wanted a jazz band in a scene, which I believe in most cases were not meant to be racist but pretty much an accepted solution at that time.) But like said, that was then and now is now - and that has nothing to do with burlesque. Dressing up inspired by something is not the same thing as painting one's face black.

Last but not least, like I said; imitating is not the same thing as mocking. And getting inspiration from something is not the same thing as imitating. For example, during the this festivals' shows we saw a couple of Japan inspired numbers, which did not offend the lovely and amazing!)fan dancer from Japan. In fact, she held a workshop about Japanese fan dance and said she was honored so many were interested in her culture. Some numbers can be seen as a tribute. Others can be a fun and innocent way of being inspired by something that might be a cliché. Like you mention our "native american" number. It's done to a fifties classic where they sing about an indian boy and girl. It's fun. And entertaining. And we can wear whatever the fuck we want when we perform. Do you also find it racists when children (or grown ups) dress up as native americans to masquerades? Or as cowboys or in Lederhosen or as hula girls or anything else taking influences of something typical or stereotypical?

Hele : yes isn't she? And I don' think the words are that important in this case, more to enjoy the dance and the, ahum, realistic snake :D

Maja : yes, you're right, a glitter diaper :)

Anonymous 2 : on siinä sekä apinan pää, häntä että masukin.

tanjapauliina said...

Hei, I just wanted to say thank you for last night's shows at Helsinki Burlesque Festival! You are smokin' hot and the shows were so funny and fantastic!!! Thank you thank you thank you, I had the best time!

And good answer to that previous comment, by the way.

The Freelancer's FashionBlog said...

Tanjapauliina : kiitos :) Glad you had fun - it was a great night! And everybody looked so nice, all dressed up according to the theme!

Anonymous said...

hi, this is the anonymous poster again. it seems i may have offended you with my comment, and as i said before i did not mean to insinuate that you are racist, i truly was just looking for some interesting conversation on the matter.

i'm a college student in america and i do a lot of race studies so perhaps i'm just coming from a different school of thought, but actually yes i would find something problematic in someone dressing up as native americans or geisha girls for halloween for example. it appropriates and perpetuates stereotypes that historically were created by white majority society to exert their power.

however, i do realize that "performance" is a different avenue which is why the use of kitsch and stereotypical imagery in burlesque and film is so interesting to me.

i hope you didn't take my comment as an attack, as i really do enjoy your blog. i was just hoping that as someone more informed about burlesque, you would have some interesting insight into these issues which i wouldn't agree "don't exist" in burlesque.

Maja said...

You are so right about the above. It was the same in denmark when the first black men came here. But it isn't the same as being a racist!

Anonymous said...

**also, i'm sure my views are very much shaped by america and acknowledge that they are probably very different views in other countries.

The Freelancer's FashionBlog said...

Anonymous : I didn't think it was an attack but I just think you are totally wrong. I do give you my insight in your post. And yes, I think there is more talk about race in the states than here. And as said, the people I met that are from countries seeing their "national stereotypes" on the burlesque stage do not seem to mind, in fact, they do it themselves :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for the lengthy responses. i appreciate your thoughts, and they have given me something interesting to think about!

and now onto mastering the hair roll...

The Freelancer's FashionBlog said...

Good luck with the rolling :) I've noticed it's a do that suits the most!

Fiona Timantti said...

I think it's a bit funny that someone can see racism in burlesque. But if you are looking for it, i guess you could find it almost anywhere.
But i get your point, anonymous, atleast i think i do.. I think it's true that you do think more about racism there in America (USA) then we do in here. Is it because you have more racist people over there? Or because you have to be careful not to get sued? No, wait, thats stereotypic of me ;)
I think those burlesque acts that got their influeces from geishas or indians etc. are more like tributes then mockery.
Or, is it only aloud for a Native Americans to do an act dressed up as a Native Americans?

And the Itty Bitty "Native American"-act is, in my opinion, more like a parody of the white america of the fifties than racist against the real native Americans.

Burlesque is about having fun, acceptance and letting people be who they are. And sometimes preted to be someone else, play a role.


Anonymous said...

@fiona timantti

actually i think race studies in america is very unique to the u.s. because of the unique racial make up of its society and the idea of a "melting pot" -- which means also that we have a unique history of racism that other countries have not had to the same extent because there may be less "mixing" historically.

i guess my problem with the idea of a "tribute" is that unless the performer has done a cultural study beforehand, it can more like a tribute to the stereotypical aspects of a culture rather than the actual culture itself. in other words, reproducing exotic images of how a culture has been "presented" by white society rather than what it actually is. does that make any sense?

i appreciate your comment about it being a "mockery of white america of the 50s." i admit that is the type of thing i was wondering about when i posted in the first place. thanks for the info! also i am auditioning to sing at a burlesque show held on my campus at the end of this semester and i'm very excited :)