Vixens and vaudeville part 2: vintage voices

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Tonight , November 13, is opening night for Va Va Vintage at Art Sanctuary and the Alley Theater. A group of singers, dancers, contortionists, aerialists and an illusionist take you back in time to the era of vaudeville. The pre-show starts at about 7:40 and  is a medley of torch songs by elegantly clad ladies in sparkly dresses.

Many vocalists got their start or found fame in burlesque and vaudeville, including ladies like Mae West and Josephine Baker.  Some of them moved on to film and tours, while others remained at the burlesque level. Burlesque actually dates back to writing in the 14th century, but the striptease did not originate until about 1890(at the Moulin Rouge); right around the same time as Cabaret began to evolve.  Both forms of entertainment featured singers although Burlesque usually took a more “adult” tone.

Today's version of burlesque might lead some to be surprised to know that many of the most notable ladies were involved politically or overcame many trials in their rise to fame.  Mae West wrote stage plays and films that dealt with homosexuality, women's rights, hypocrisy and religion. Josephine Baker overcame abuse and teenage homelessness to rise to fame, was the first African American woman cast in a film, greatly affected the civil rights movement  and assisted the French resistance in World War II.

Much of the original Vaudeville, burlesque and cabaret styles are still present in today’s musical concerts and performances. Pop stars such as Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Madonna and Christina Aguilera are just a few to carry on some notable themes.

Many of today's performers are also bright, educated and engaging women. The Va Va Vintage show has three women singing in the show, known for this show as The Vintage Voices.

I am a performer, writer, speaker, producer, homeschooling mother and am also involved in many human rights causes in addition to dedication to raising public awareness of environmental issues. In addition to singing Why Don’t you Do Right, Fever, and Let Me Entertain You in the pre-show, I wrote the announcements, jokes, and the introductions  projected on the screen to the side of the stage.  I  will also be performing two original songs titled Baby Girl and Soul Hungry with music by Nick Layman.

Vicki Meares is a teacher and often entertains the cast during rehearsals with her original songs  set to catchy tunes about explorers, mathematics and geography. She is singing Hey Big Spender, Fever, and Let me Entertain You in the pre-show. She also dances in a parasol number in addition to singing an original song of hers while Lady Livie performs on the swing.

Lee Ann Cooper is a hair stylist, creative director,  volunteer beauty teacher, make-up artist and renaissance woman with vocal and dance training.  She is singing Let Me Entertain you and  Fever during the pre-show and performs the song Whatever Lola Wants from a bathtub before hopping out to do an adorable bubble dance routine, popping the balloons attached all around her. She also lets  the audience pop some of them.  That’s not all, though. This high energy wonder woman also performs in the Can- Can.

All of the Vintage Vocals return at the end with Cell Block Tango as the dancers perform on stage.

If you want to catch the pre-show, doors open at 7 pm, and the singing starts about 7:40. If you do not have your tickets yet, you might want to arrive early. There is always a line.
About Jessica Lynn
Jessica Lynn has been writing for Louisville.com since fall of 2010 and has also been published in LEO, Velocity, Voice-Tribune and others after serving as Editor in Chief of The JCC student newspaper, The Quadrangle. She has also served as columnist or contributing writer to an array of online publications.
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