Dita Von Teese, the biggest name in American burlesque, returns to San Francisco this month for the second year of her Burlesque: Strip Strip Hooray tour at the Fillmore.
The tour, which debuted to capacity crowds over two nights at the Fillmore last year, returns for four days June 26-29. We spoke with Von Teese about what’s new for this tour, her large female fan base and her plans for San Francisco. Enter to win tickets to the show HERE.
It has been a year since we last saw you in San Francisco with Burlesque: Strip Strip Hooray. What’s new for this tour?
We have a slightly different lineup, and there are definitely a lot of new things. For anyone who was at the show last time, there will be a lot of things that they saw before, but this time we will have a few other performers like Prince Poppycock. I also have a number from the Crazy Horse Paris that I was able to secure for the show.
You also doubled the number of shows you are doing in San Francisco, from two shows to four. Is it difficult to do that many performances in a row?
I like it. The thing that I have a hard time with is doing the show twice in a night. That’s really difficult. Fortunately, I’m only doing that one time with this tour, which I’m dreading.
I don’t mind doing a show every night. It feels good once you start hitting a routine and it becomes second nature. That’s when it becomes magical.
Your last run at the Fillmore had the loudest crowd I have experienced there, and it was mostly women. Is that unique to San Francisco?
No, that’s pretty much everywhere that we’ve been so far. The majority of the audience is female, which is a very interesting development for burlesque, or at least for me. I started doing my show in 1992 and clearly the audience and my fans were different. It’s been interesting for me to watch the evolution of the audience and how large the burlesque community has become.
Because burlesque was originally entertainment that was geared toward working-class men, it’s really amazing that there’s a completely different revival now. I think a lot of women are looking for some kind of interesting spin on erotica and there are different kinds of role models for eroticism and sexuality that people are looking for other than what we’ve seen in the mainstream media.
Do you have any tips for women who are interested in burlesque and getting acquainted with that scene?
I get a lot of girls asking what they should do and how they should do it. Also, a lot of women tell me they want to be a burlesque dancer but they are paralyzed about getting on stage—they shouldn’t be a burlesque dancer.
There are lots of ways to enjoy the burlesque scene without having to go on stage. You can capture the spirit of burlesque and strip tease without having to be a professional dancer or having to go onstage in front of an audience. There are lots of ways to work it into your home life and work the aesthetics into your fashion style. There are also lots of classes where you can do it just for fun. Just because you love it doesn’t mean you have to be a performer.
Were there any learning experiences with Strip Strip Hooray after the first tour last year?
Personally, in the last three years I’ve pushed myself to bring more of my show into a full-length review. That’s been my biggest challenge to work out.
When I perform, I usually get hired to do two 11-minute acts a night and I have an hour break. I’ve had to learn how to make all of the quick outfit changes and do all of my hair and makeup. I don’t have a glam squad backstage that’s putting me together, so I have to learn how to speed things up and recover from the last show and get ready for the next one.
You have four nights in SF. Are you going to be able to get out and see the city at all or is it strictly business?
Oh, yeah. I hit the town last time with Murray Hill and Dirty Martini. We all went out and had cocktails after the shows. We had a pretty good time and I always try to wake up early enough to hit some of my favorite vintage stores. I keep hoping I’ll find a boyfriend there so I can move there.