Performance Art With Boobs, Books, And Burlesque

A new show, "Naked Girls Reading," is one way to get people interested in literature. Sort of.

We can't decide whether "Naked Girls Reading,"is the most boring burlesque act in the world or the most titillating story-hour. In what the Globe and Mail terms "a tasteful, old-style salon," monthly gatherings of burlesque performers in the altogether read aloud from works whose themes change from salon to salon. "The format is generally four or five readers who take 10-minute turns, ending with a group read from a common book. The readers usually perch demurely on a chaise." Themes have included Mother's Day, queer lit, and "independent women" (Think Dorothy Parker, Mae West and Coco Chanel.) At tonight's Toronto Burlesque Festival, the ladies will be reading Science Fiction.

Says the article,

Everyone concedes that many NGR first-timers come because of shock value, but to their surprise, as Horra says, they discover that pretty girls can read. L'amour points out that the repeat audience at her salons come because of the readings. "They've already seen us naked, so that's routine for them," she says. "They come to hang on every word."

Of course, the literary burlesque show has a storied history: the legendary Gypsy Rose Lee (herself author of both an eponymous memoir and The G-String Murders) was famous for the high-minded recitations she'd give while stripping: the original burlesque subversive. And for those of us well aware of comely womens' powers of literacy, this would probably be less of a novelty. Indeed, for most of us, "naked girls reading" is otherwise known as "Tuesday in my apartment" - especially in a heat wave.

Naked Girls Reading? Burlesque Turns A Page
[Globe and Mail]