Creative inspiration can come in so many forms; and for those of you who love a little literary goodness, here’s an inspirational list of burlesque books that may spark an idea for a new burlesque act, or perhaps help you to reinvent or revive an existing one! A mix of fiction and fact, with a touch of history and good dose of leopard print, click on the titles below to get reading…
Tease – Immodesty Blaize
Immodesty Blaize’s career highlights reach far beyond the burlesque stage: did you know she is a multi-published author too? The first of two fictional books she’s written follows the story of Tiger Starr and how she’s going to keep on top of the burlesque game and rise to stardom whilst keeping a secret. Her second book, Ambition ∆, follows Sienna Starr – Tiger’s daughter – stepping out of her Mum’s showbiz shadow to make a name for herself too. I love that immodesty said of writing them, “I have experienced so many absurd, eccentric, bizarre, surreal things in my job that [I could channel into ﬁction].” I’m yet to read these myself, but they’re top of the list for my next vacation!
Fierce: The History of Leopard Print – Jo Weldon
Jo ‘Boobs’ Weldon is the award-winning founder and Headmistress of the New York School of Burlesque and a bigger leopard print lover than me! So much so, that she’s written a book about the History of Leopard Print ∆ and how a pattern once reserved for royalty came into vogue and became a staple of fashion. I know they say never judge a book by its cover, but if you’re a lover of leopard print like me and need a little more encouragement to buy a copy, it will look REALLY good on your shelf!
The Burlesque Handbook – Jo Weldon
If there’s one burlesque book I’ve heard referenced more than ANY other burlesque book on the planet, its The Burlesque Handbook ∆. Another fabulous offering from Jo Weldon, this “pocketbook of burlesque” is a must-have for anyone in the burlesque world, whether you’re dipping a toe in to test the water or you have already dived straight in! Kindle editions are available, but this is another one you’re going to want to give pride of place on your shelf.
Neo-Burlesque: Striptease as Transformation
Fancy delving a little deeper into the neo-burlesque scene? Neo-Burlesque: Striptease as Transformation ∆ by Dr. Lynn Sally takes us on a guided tour of the burlesque revival movement from an academic viewpoint. Featuring Dita Von Teese, Perle Noire, MsTickle, Julie Atlas Muz and World Famous *BOB*, there is also a chapter on Dirty Martini (which just so happens to feature some of my photography!) I’ve literally only just received my copy, so have had no more than a flick of the pages, but once I’ve had a chance to give it a read, I’ll be back with more of a review!
Burlesque and the Art of the Teese/ Fetish – Dita von Teese
Two books for the price of one! ∆ This is one (two!) of the first-ever burlesque related books I bought for myself and still has pride of place on my studio shelf. Offering a picturesque tour of the worlds of burlesque & fetish – and how they intertwine – Dita’s clearly very clued-up and passionate about her art. While it’s beautiful to read (and I have, cover to cover), it’s great to flick through for posing or style inspiration!
The Magical World of Burlesque – Dusty Summers
I had the distinct pleasure of seeing “Las Vegas’ Only Nude Magician” Dusty Summers perform at Burlesque Hall of Fame in 2019 and since then, it has been a real privilege to connect with her over social media and learn more about her incredible life and career. The Magical World of Burlesque ∆ tells her story of the legendary Las Vegas burlesque and showbusiness scene in the 1970s and 1980s. It also includes interviews with burlesque icons such as Christine Darling, Angelique Pettyjohn, Gina Bon Bon, Delilah Jones, Susi Midnight, and Georgette Dante. Grab your copy and support our wonderful burlesque legends.
The Lady Is a Vamp – Tempest Storm
Speaking of burlesque legends, we absolutely must include this offering from none other than burlesque goddess Tempest Storm. The Lady Is a Vamp ∆ recounts Tempest’s career as a performer and her life before burlesque – and I hear there’s mention of a rock star or two and a president in there too! This one is currently on my ‘to read’ list and I wholeheartedly believe it should be on yours too!
A little shameless plug here, but there’s also a brand new burlesque book that has just been released: MINE! Published by the incredible team at Working Class Publishing and perfectly timed to coincide with my 10th business birthday, – STRIP/TEASE – is a beautiful hardbound coffee table book showcasing my work within the burlesque community over the past decade. From those early days at Proud Cabaret – when I was finding my feet as a photographer – to my most recent burlesque-apades with notable performers throughout the international burlesque scene. If you haven’t already bought your copy, you can do so here.
Are there any other burlesque books you’d like to recommend to me? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!