I wrote and performed this manifesto for a show my drag daughter, Melody Jane, produced in December of 2013 at Parkside Lounge as part of the “Driver’s Seat” Producer’s Series at the NYSB. ENJOY!
Boundless Burlesque Manifesto
I have long predicted the end of burlesque.
When the time came that you could buy a burlesque costume at Kmart during Halloween, then burlesque would be over.
This time has come.
However, we will not let corporate America co-opt our art form.
We will not let heterosexual male producers turn the variety of burlesque into a single image of what women should look like.
We will not let dinner theater dictate what deserves to be on stage while rich people each overpriced steak and judge other women.
Burlesque is for women (and some men) with life experience.
Burlesque is for women (and some men) with self confidence.
Burlesque is for women (and some men) with something to say.
We are tired of boring burlesque. We are tired of burlesque as simulacrum. We are tired of the predictable. We are tired of competition. (The ladder in burlesque, my friends, is horizontal.)
Boundless burlesque reminds us that burlesque has no formula.
Boundless Burlesque celebrates diversity and individuality
Boundless Burlesque cannot be commodified.
It cannot be copied.
It is DYI.
It is unexpected and new.
It is for your brain not your dick.
Repeat after me the tenants of the Boundless Burlesque Manifesto
“I promise to support Boundless Burlesque
in all its many forms.
I promise to applaud
the strange, the bizarre, the nonsequitar.
I promise to boycott all burlesque
that is predictable
that refuses to take chances
that presents one type of body and style
We the people