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Peaks and Pasties shimmies its way into its 12th anniversary 

click to enlarge DEREK KUHN
  • Derek Kuhn

It hasn’t been easy producing a thriving burlesque troupe in a city known for its conservative leanings, but Peaks and Pasties has been a stalwart, bawdy and determined vanguard from day one. Now celebrating its 12th year of tassel-twirling, provocative performance art, the troupe shows no signs of slowing down — after all, there is no rest for the wicked.

“Peaks and Pasties is constantly challenging the conservative stereotypes in and about this town,” says Lola Spitfire, the Sanctioned Fire Tassel Queen and the founder and advising director at Peaks and Pasties. “We are nurturing the need for counterculture and writing a new narrative as to what community means in Colorado Springs.”

Spitfire says burlesque serves as an excellent ambassador for combating the city’s conservative image. It’s funny, fun, body-positive, sensual and liberating for both the performer and the audience.

Peaks and Pasties may be celebrating its 12th year, but the art of burlesque is far older than that. Spitfire says it made its way to the United States in the 1880s and created quite a stir with its humor, sexual content and female-focused performances.

“It was a very important time when we saw women take the reins onstage, using every asset to entertain and stir up a bit of controversy,” says Spitfire. “It was on their terms.”

Burlesque is still creating a ruckus even in these — slightly — more accepting times but Spitfire notes that the troupe has won over many a skeptic and generated quite the fan base.
“I went from receiving hate mail, to having women, men and non-conformers flocking to our workshops and shows so they could find sanctuary from the mainstream media’s unrealistic portrayal of how we are ‘supposed’ to look, behave and be.”

Asked what has been her favorite moment in her burlesque experience, Spitfire is hard-pressed to choose just one. Instead, she points to the camaraderie that burlesque builds among its participants.

“I think the best part of being a member of the burlesque community is the friendships I have made,” says Spitfire, rattling off an extensive list of friends with wild names that would serve equally well as the monikers of extravagant cocktails in a dark, swanky bar. “Every year I celebrate the birth and influence of Peaks and Pasties, but more importantly, I celebrate 12 years of profound friendship.”

Support Peaks and Pasties and find future show information at peaksandpasties.com; videos available on Facebook.

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