I haven't smiled that much in a really long time' -- I know I've done my job." Burlesque then and now, is entertainment.
From the other side of the footlights was a similar point of view. It's about how they get from A to B and tell a story doing it." How did the dancers feel about being called strippers? Maxi Millions, a long-haired blonde felt there was something glorious in the history of stripping from the circus "cooch shows." In burlesque she said, "We get to write our own stories and share them with strangers." Mis Red felt no longer defined by who she was to other people; "mother, wife, daughter." She put her "heart and "soul" into her performance with "no expectation to be other than what she" chose to present to the audience.
The pencil-thin Go Go, a dead ringer for Daphne Guinness, complete with white streak in hair was sporting a stylish cane due to a dance injury. As 1930s star Betty Rowland told me, if you didn't go on there was always someone in the wings ready to take your place.
Go Go celebrated the fact that in burlesque she could "do it all." Though many of the girls didn't make a living entirely off burlesque, it was a "passion" and not "a hobby," said Mis Red Delicious, from New Zealand.
Her next project is a documentary on legendary tiger trainer Mabel Stark, will be out in 2016.
Zemeckis has one of the largest collections of burlesque memorabilia.
Burlesque gave her the outlet to combine an interest in lights, costumes and performance.
I asked Go Go was there a difference with strip club dancers and burlesque dancers. They inspired one another, gave classes, advice, and mentored each other. "It is an important art form." Audrey Ivory felt it was "important to celebrate the legends." Most of whom are no longer with us.
Kitty West, a mainstay on Bourbon Street during the 1950s performing as Evangeline the Oyster Girl, who stripped from an oyster shell was too sick to attend the performance by Ginger Valentine, whom she had mentored.
In the nearly 15 minute act, Gayle strips to the theme music from "Goldfinger" until she is shot dead by a trench coat-wearing spy. This very female-driven industry had provided the girls with family. Burlesque performers didn't need anything from their audience.
It was strength, femininity, vintage and nostalgia. The strippers were a "special group of women," said Missy Lisa. "History," said Go Go "is our mother" and "we're paying homage, not copying by adding to it and making burlesque grow." Mis Red taught the history in her burlesque classes.