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Review: Sin's Last Stand at the Athenaeum

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Veronica Belvedere revisits the 1950s.
Sin's Last Stand: A Night of Historic Burlesque Acts
October 18, Athenaeum Theatre
Five stars

The folks who put together Sin’s Last Stand certainly knew what they were doing, right down to the cops in 1920s garb and the members of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union who admonished anyone who was drinking before the show. After all, It's just not really a burlesque performance until the fuzz show up. And all kidding aside, the stagecraft effectively brought to life a history of burlesque in these United States, with a supplemental program answering the FAQ about the artform for the uninitiated.

Respect for all that's come before has always been inherent in the neo-burlesque movement. This event reached perhaps the zenith of that respect, as members of Bottoms Up Burlesque, Crème De Les Femmes and Angel Burlesque delivered their renditions of classic routines and brought to life classic performers ranging from Gypsy Rose Lee to Bettie Page.

The presentation itself was stunning, right down to the live music and singers. Watching a crooner in a tux belt out a perfect rendition of “Minnie the Moocher” while a dancer does a striptease behind a white screen really manages to sum up why burlesque was invented to begin with.

Burlesque in Indianapolis started more or less with a bunch of Punk Rock Night regulars sitting around in Punk Rock Night founder Greg Brenner’s living room with a stack of Bettie Page DVDs, trying to figure out how the hell to actually make this work. If Sin’s Last Stand is any indication, things have turned out pretty well for those intrepid founders.

Rosie Rivette pays tribute to Gypsy Rose Lee.

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