Images courtesy of Hubba Hubba Revue
A well-done burlesque show is a guaranteed good time with its bawdy humor, raucous MCs and, most importantly, costumed performers tempting and teasing the audience with her, or his, strategically placed tassels.
And the best part about being able to experience this growing trend in entertainment is you don’t have to go far to enjoy a show – Oakland is home to a thriving juicy neo-burlesque scene.
That’s right … the art of the shimmy-shake is alive and well in Oakland.
From the Can-Cannibals to Gender-Bending Boylesque, several different revues perform weekly and monthly at venues in Uptown, Downtown and North Oakland. Oakland also is home to burlesque dance troupes that tour the state and country.
The Hubba Hubba Revue – while based in San Francisco – performs at the Uptown every Monday night and has done so since the venue re-opened more than two years ago. The weekly performances have become an Oakland institution for fans of fancy costumes and synchronized seduction.
“Oakland has really supported us, especially in the last year or so,” said Jim Sweeney, co-creator and producer of Hubba Hubba. “We get loads of new people every week, but we also have a ton of regulars who are very familiar with us, the performers and with the Uptown and it's awesome bartenders and staff. Lots of energy, lots and lots of people and everyone, including us, having a blast!”
In addition to the weekly Hubba Hubba show at the Uptown, you can catch monthly performances of First Friday Follies – a community supported troupe based in Oakland – at the Stork Club every first Friday and Hot Pink Feathers, an SF troupe, performing every first Saturday at Café Van Kleef for Brass n’ Burlesque. Community is a huge aspect of the neo-burlesque scene. The inclusive sensuality of the style incorporates a larger, more diverse group of both performers and enthusiasts.
Every second Saturday of the month, Le Boy Queer Gender-Bending Boylesque performs at The White Horse in North Oakland. Le Boy is a Fella Fem production. Fella Fem’s goal, per its website, “is to blur the lines of gender with sharp, intellectual, diverse, hard to forget, ultimately sexy, drag, spoken word, theatre, dance, comedy and burlesque.”
Mangos with Chili, known as “the floating cabaret of QTPOC – or Queer, Trans, People of Color – bliss, dreams sweat, sweets and nightmares,” is an Oakland-based performance group currently touring the United States. The group’s most recent show in Oakland was “April’s Freedom of Dreams: A Launch Party for CUAV’s Safetyfest” at Bench and Bar. Mangos with Chili is a highly-diverse, highly-talented troupe bringing the saucy and sexy spectrum of Oakland sex positivity to the rest of North America.
The Oakland-based Rubenesque Burlesque is a touring troupe that also performs with Hubba Hubba in San Francisco and at the Uptown. Known as the city across the Bay’s favorite troupe of round and rowdy Rump Shakers, the full-figured ladies bring adipositivity (the fat and size acceptance movement) to life as ample fleshed curvy campy provocateurs.
Another Oakland-base group, the Can-Cannibals Dance Troupe, will kickoff their Piss On Your Brains West Coast Tour with a show at The Hazmat Warehouse in Oakland on June 12th. With the motto of “Blood, Guts and Garter belts,” the eight-woman group brings the grotesque to burlesque. Created by Miss Vaudie Va-boom! in 2008, the Can-Cannibals have performed their hot zombie girl, diabolic undead punk rock cabaret throughout the Bay Area and West Coast.
Due to the insatiable desires of the Oakland burlesque audience, Hubba Hubba Revue is increasing their performances at the Uptown to include weekend showcases. The next is July 3!
Sweeney explains the relationship between Hubba Hubba and it’s Oakland audience as being unique with “a more intimate feel to them.
“Even when they're the bigger, more elaborate weekend shows. It's almost like at the Uptown all of us – the audience and the show – grew up together and so there's this shared feeling that we're all kind of "in on it" together,” Sweeney said. “I think that might also be a little bit of an Oakland thing, too. People in Oakland seem to be less likely to be "just passing through" and there's more of a feeling like you're part of a community when you're part of something in Oakland.”
TAKE ACTION See burlesque in Oakland!
Hubba Hubba Revierw at The Uptown The next is July 3!
Can-Cannibals Dance Troupe June 12