EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s that time of the year again when Robin takes off for his monthlong family trip to Europe. His travels this week begin in Athens and its historical treasures before he moves onto the Greek island of Santorini. Next weekend, he’ll wind up as usual in Italy exploring the delights of Tuscany.
In his absence, a great number of showbiz entertainers, celebrity VIP’s, chefs, restaurateurs and Vegas dignitaries have stepped forward to write their guest columns.
And, it all starts today with the Green Fairy from the hit “Absinthe” show, Melody Sweets who opens every show there descending from the roof in a sassy, green burlesque gown.
Later this week Strip headliners, Criss Angel, Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz put pen to paper along with television reality star Chumlee aka Austin Russell from “Pawn Stars.”
Sweets, who also performs at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, shares the excitement of the recent fundraiser show for our Burlesque Hall of Fame.
Ladies and Gentlemen … Melody Sweets!
The curtain had yet to open, but I could hear the sound of the sold-out crowd roaring as my four friends (and glamourpuss burlesque babes) Bettina May, Kitten LaRue, Miss Miranda and Elektra Cute made their way through the audience to the stage. (Don’t you just love Burlesque names?)
It’s an unexplainable feeling standing behind the curtain, alone with your own thoughts — knowing that you’re about to perform to a house full of fans, peers and people who inspire and motivate you to keep growing.
The nerves, the excitement, the anticipation of it all. It’s terrifying really — but the moment you hit the stage, it’s all love.
My girls were dancing to choreography created just a few hours prior to our “purrrrrrformance.” There’s never enough rehearsal time. Most performers are flying to Vegas on the day of the show from around the globe to take part in the world’s largest international fundraiser for the Burlesque Hall of Fame and largest, longest-running burlesque event in the world!
The best of the best battle it out in the Tournament of Tease, competing for the chance to win the coveted title of Reigning Queen of Burlesque.
In past years, I have been a judge for this competition; but this year I had the honor to perform as the event’s special guest. It’s an exhilarating honor I’ve now had the chance to experience a few times over.
My girls are professional crowd-pleasers who hold court in their own parts of the world, so I was not worried over the fact that we hadn’t fully run the number once until that moment. Showbiz!
Matter of fact, the paint was still drying on the over-sized prop I had built for the act; and we had yet had the chance to test the final “BANG.”
“Make it work” is was an understatement at this point.
The music changed. I know at this very moment, just on the other side of the curtain, my four dancers have seductively removed their 007-fashioned tux jackets with synchronized flair, tossing them into the audience, revealing their Dick Tracy-style black lingerie. This cued the grand curtain — and it was glorious. The way the lights shined through as the curtains open; the way the haze made everything look so magical. It was mesmerizing — blinding. You couldn’t see a thing … but you could hear everything. And, it was awesome!
The curtain opened to reveal a 7-foot-long, 300-pound, rotating gun with a silencer that stretches another 10 feet. So, I guess you can say the rumors are true — I am a size queen.
I started to strip and sing the song, “The Silencer.” It’s a song from an old Dean Martin film of the same name and my tribute to what would have been his 100th birthday this month. The lights leveled out, allowing me to see and connect with the audience. That has to be my favorite thing about performing — being able to connect with the audience. I’ve seen some “top” performers never connect with their audience, relying on all the bells and whistles surrounding them, and I often wonder if they feel as unfulfilled as I would feel.
As the song went into its final verse, I mount the gun (and, might I add, not as gracefully as I had hoped for. Ha! But, I made it work!). The gun starts to revolve, and as I’m getting into the final pose, a stream of flowers is pulled from the gun’s muzzle — a peaceful message that brought a huge response from the sold-out crowd.
It was the BEST feeling, and worth all the hard work to pull it all together. From organizing the girls, designing and making the costume (Thank you to the extremely talented Diana Eden, who honed her craft with the one and only, Bob Mackie!); having the prop built (shout out to Cree of Cree8 Studios); to having one of Las Vegas’ most talented musicians (Eric Plante of Cirque du Soleil’s “O”) record the music. It takes a team, or better yet — a family. That’s how these weekenders always feel to me… an oversized, and continuously growing, glittery family reunion.
It’s a bitter “Sweets” feeling when it’s all over.
The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend is not only four days of incredible fun, learning and performance, and a fundraiser for The Burlesque Hall of Fame — it’s the only place to see a cast full of top, international, authentic, live burlesque in Las Vegas.
Unless, of course, you visit the cast of “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace. It’s live; it’s raw; it’s authentic; and it’s in-your-face fun. Come play with us. We’re there every night, 8 and 10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. We might not use an oversized firearm, but the show is a guaranteed blast! We haven’t been called “The Best Show in Las Vegas History” for nothin’!
The Burlesque Hall of Fame has been one of the world’s only institutions dedicated to preserving the art, artifacts and traditions of this uniquely modern art form. With a collection of several thousand costumes, stage props, photographs and personal effects documenting the careers and lives of burlesque dancers, comics and producers over nearly a century, the museum is a growing testament to the power and social impact of the art of the tease.
The Burlesque Hall of Fame is a nonprofit museum committed to preserving, sharing, celebrating, and inspiring the art of burlesque. For more information about The Burlesque Hall of Fame, or to make a donation to help move the museum into their new permanent home in Las Vegas, visit the museum’s website at burlesquehall.com.