Ted D'Ottavio Menendez
Peaks and Pasties 10-Year Anniversary Celebration Weekend
March 22-24, times and venues vary, see peaksandpasties.com for details.
unny Bee, director of local burlesque troupe Peaks and Pasties
, says that she can measure the passage of time by looking at the size of her previous costumes’ pasties (those sparkly and/or tasseled stickers, meant to cover nipples during a burlesque act). When Peaks and Pasties began in 2008, their fledgling burlesque dancers didn’t strip down too much. Bee says her pasties used to cover nearly as much as your average bra — now she makes a tiny circle with her fingers and holds it up to her eye. “They’re about this big,” she says with a laugh.
Peaks and Pasties founder, Lola Spitfire, explains: “The more mature we got, the more naked we got. ... We became more comfortable being onstage, and we became more comfortable with our audience, and we became more comfortable with our venues. And I think we became more comfortable with ourselves.”
It’s been a long road for Peaks and Pasties, which initially had to battle the city’s relative conservatism, but found the support of the community vastly outweighed it. From the beginning, the group (which started with “ladies’ night out” burlesque classes, hosted by Spitfire) has been about fostering a community and promoting self-love. They’ve trained hundreds of people of all shapes and ages through the Peaks and Pasties Academy of Burlesque, and now boast 92 members, with more than 40 active on the scene.
“I think women were drawn to what we were doing because they saw women being friends in this community,” Spitfire says. “They also saw imperfect, perfect bodies being showcased.” They found that embracing their own cellulite and stretch marks helped others — fellow performers and audience members — do the same.
As burlesque historians, Bee and Spitfire try to build on the legacy of the dancers who used their art to empower women, beginning with vaudeville acts in the 1800s. In honor of them, and the burlesque revival of the 1990s that spawned modern interest in the art, they’ve invited nationally recognized, influential performers to help them celebrate their 10-year anniversary.
Dirty Martini out of New York City (a pioneer of the ‘90s revival whom Spitfire calls “groundbreaking”) and Foxy Tann from Minneapolis will be performing alongside Peaks and Pasties all-stars such as Spitfire and Bee, Ruby Sparkle and more.
The celebration lasts four days, and no two shows will be the same. If you can’t help P&P celebrate their birthday, catch them weekly at The Gold Room for their ever-evolving Champagne Cabaret.