Review Of "Neo-Burlesque: Striptease As Transformation" By L. Sally

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This second book by Sally (performance studies, New York Univ.) builds on her interest in spectacular performance, as revealed in Fighting the Flames: The Spectacular Performance of Fire at Coney Island (2006). In the present volume she writes from the dual perspectives of participating artist and scholar. Sally interweaves critical theory with original interviews and profiles of performers central to the rise of neo-burlesque, from the 1990s through the 2010s in New York City and beyond. Drawing on philosophies of writers in a wide variety of academic disciplines, Sally anchors her overview of neo-burlesque history and culture in close analysis of a number of iconic performers with whom she worked. Chapters explore individual performances and the different styles of neo-burlesque as an art form and participatory culture. These include the monster/beauty and pretty/funny dualities inherent in the form and ways in which political comment, parody, pageantry, camp, and gender can be effectively interrogated through neo-burlesque. Engagingly written, this book positions neo-burlesque and those who perform it as self-aware. The actors' stage personas allow them to claim a revolutionary feminist position. In addition to chapter notes and an extensive bibliography, numerous quotes from performers and well-chosen photographs support Sally’s text. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.


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