Only adults are welcome at the Hardback Cafe tonight. The audience should be ready for a show that combines hilarity with sexuality, while redefining traditional femininity.
The touring and local burlesque performers will take the stage at 8 p.m. with doors opening at 7 p.m.
“Tainted Cabaret” is a neo-burlesque ensemble show featuring producer Ula Uberbusen, James & The Giant Pasty and Shirley Gnome. “Tainted Cabaret” will be performing along with local performers Jenny Castle and Sally B. Dash. Their hilarious sexual dance performances will bring the audience to their feet.
Although the art is built on positivity, these performers cannot use their legal names in conjunction with this work. In the fields of burlesque, stripping, drag and adult cabaret, to “out” an artist is to immediately expose them to an extraordinary amount of sexual harassment on and offline, including the possibility of losing their day job, said Shirley Gnome.
The stars of “Tainted Cabaret” bring their own acts from past productions, solo shows and different ensemble shows. They also put together three group numbers with pantomime, burlesque and singing.
“In a way, it’s a little bit different from a local burlesque show because we are able to work together to create pieces together and make it into a whole unit of a show,” Gnome said. “We all have different skills and we all bring something different to the table.”
Gnome, 35, said she started getting involved in burlesque shows because she thought it matched her comedy style. As a musical comedian, she described her style as sex and body positive.
James & The Giant Pasty, 35, watched his first burlesque show when he was 16. His uncle snuck him into the show on Coney Island, and he was fascinated by how entertaining and positive the performers were.
“It was super powerful, and I was addicted,” James & The Giant Pasty said. “It took me a while after that to actually perform myself, but I fell in love with the art form.”
Unlike traditional theater, the neo-burlesque show interacts directly with audience members and encourages them to connect with the performers.
“We talk to the audience directly, that’s the nature of cabaret,” Gnome said.
It relies on us to truly acknowledge the audience and include them as a part of the show, she said.
With six suitcases full of costumes, Pasty said the wardrobe is one of the best parts of the show.
“One of the real fun parts about burlesque in general is you get to wear glitz and glamour, sometimes ridiculous, sometimes just really surprising and fun costumes,” Pasty said. “It’s such a huge part of the act.”
He hopes the audience will be able to engage with sexual content in a positive, affirming way.
With 30 shows in 29 cities, the six-week tour of “Tainted Cabaret” is their second national tour in the United States but their first international tour in Canada. Pre-show tickets cost $10, tickets cost $15 at the door and VIP tickets are $25.