Burlesque show ends with a bang, a shake and ‘Who’s on first’

Updated June 4, 2017 - 6:51 pm

As the clock inched toward midnight, Blanche de Bris and Jonny Porkpie delved into a recitation of “Who’s On First.”

“Who opened the show?”

“That’s right.”

“Who?”

“Exactly.”

“What’s the performer’s name up first in the lineup?”

“What’s the name of the person up second in the lineup.”

“I’m not asking you about second.”

“Who’s on first.”

“I don’t know!”

“She’s the third act!”

You didn’t need to be a fan of Abbott & Costello, or even know of the legendary comedy team, to laugh at this rekindling of this classic routine. DeBris (known around VegasVille as the comic actress Annette Houlihan Verdolino) and Porkpie (the self-appointed Mayor of Burlesque, who never terms out) kept the action moving during Saturday night’s Miss Exotic World competition at Orleans Showroom.

 

The event is the annual highlight of the four-day Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender at the Orleans. The four-hour Miss Exotic contest and production was further distinguished by a performance by Melody Sweets of “Absinthe,” who stripped and sang the Dean Martin number “The Silencers” from the 1966 film of the same name.

Sweets was backed by a lineup of friends and fellow Burlesque performers Bettina May, Kitten LaRue, Elektra Cute and Miss Miranda. Their performance was spot-on, as captivating as their various stage names. A stream of flowers was pulled from the gun’s muzzle to cap the number, a peaceful message that brought huge response from the sold-out crowd.

“I wanted to ride a really large gun,” Sweets said afterward, and she’ll have many more opportunities as she now owns that oversized prop.

Topping the event as this year’s Miss Exotic World was New York City-based artist Medianoche, previously a first runner-up in the competition and an international performer. Her nickname, Sin in an Hourglass, is well deserved, even as she packed all her sin into a striptease of four minutes on Saturday.

The entire Weekender event was to help sustain the Burlesque Hall of Fame, which is headquartered in Las Vegas and is nearly finished construction of its new space at 1027 S. Main Street at Arts Square in the Arts District. BHOF Executive Direct says the museum could be open as early as June 15, likely no later than July.

That project, and the continuing popularity of the annual festival at Orleans, is realizing the dream of the late Burlesque legend Dixie Evans. She moved her collection from the onetime goat farm near Helendale, Calif., to Las Vegas a decade ago, with a vision that this city would be the country’s burlesque capital. When the new space opens, someone out there can offer a one-gun salute.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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