Luscious sight and sound combine to create spectacle at the AllWays Lounge on St Claude Avenue. Among the bar and performance space’s assortment of musical theater and performances is its bawdy monthly burlesque — the Dirty Dime Peepshow.
It happens monthly at the lounge, with the latest teasingly debaucherous demonstration coming Friday.
Produced by Bella Blue, headmistress of the New Orleans School of Burlesque, Dirty Dime is a creative extravaganza that makes even the AllWays Lounge staff blush.
“Not going to lie,” artistic director Dennis Monn said. “It’s pretty risqué . But that’s a good thing.”
Dirty Dime abandons many of the over-the-top trappings of burlesque in favor of an approach that maximizes the creative freedom of its performers.
Freed from the constraints of showy self-awareness, the ladies — and sometimes men — can perform anything they can dream up.
This might just make Dirty Dime the most unpredictable and exciting burlesque in the city.
Said bartender Rebecca Draves: “It’s burlesque for people who complain about burlesque.”
Burlesque has a reputation for stylized costumes, vampy music and crashing cymbals, but Dirty Dime gives performers freedom to create their own costumes, routine and music.
The show originated in Bella Blue’s School of Burlesque classes, where women learn showy steps while getting one heck of a workout. It’s also about confidence, Bella Blue said: “Learning to move in an artistic and sensual way does wonders for your self-esteem and body.”
Soon, the women got a chance to exhibit their new expertise on-stage during the Student Showcase at the Allways Lounge.
From that grew Dirty Dime, which was meant to be a burlesque exhibition like nothing else in New Orleans.
It is absolutely, positively, 100 percent for mature audiences only.
“It’s one of the most popular shows in the city,” Monn said. “Every time, there’s people spilling out into the street.”
This is “creative burlesque” for those who aren’t impressed by the sequined stereotypes of the form.
“This isn’t about silly themes or being overly clever,” Monn said. “It’s about being the best — and the dirtiest.”
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