Vegas may be the first place you think of when you think burlesque: tall feathered showgirl headdresses, shiny barely-there costumes, and big sparkly Rockette-like stage numbers. You might also think of Denver’s Clocktower Cabaret as the local locale for the same thing. What you may not realize is our very own little town of Boulder boasts some of the best burlesque boobies & bootys out there.
Boulder is a fit and beautiful city—we have been voted so more then once, but the crunchy hippie vibe doesn’t preclude the hopping burlesque scene, far from it: Boulder (both the county surrounding and the city proper) has a robust burlesque scene, with several different troupes and venues celebrating the boisterous art any week you’re likely to look.
Now there’s a difference between stripping and burlesque—Boulder only has downtown’s Nitro club for the former, since the venerable North Boulder joint BusTop closed down not too long ago. Burlesque is a different monster, though: less clothing taken off, more theatrical, more on the light side of entertainment, and the audience participation is more in the realm of music or circus than stripping. That being said, you can find anything at a contemporary burlesque show, including pole and aerial dancing, clowning, sideshow shenanigans, drag, performance art type acts, singing along with the burlesque, and much more. And Boulder’s got it all.
Here are the biggies when it comes to the beauties of the Boulder burlesque scene. Who are your favorites to watch shimmy and shake?
Blue Dime Cabaret
This motley crew of crazy geniuses aren’t strictly burlesque-only. They’re a variety show, a cabaret type sideshow meant to ignite laughs and squeals and awed hushed gasps of delight (sometimes all at once)! Blue Dime Cabaret’s main home venue is The Tap House at Full Cycle—a bar embedded into a bike shop, and if there’s a venue that’s more quintessentially Boulder, I don’t know what it could possibly be.
The Blue Dime pretty dime pieces pride themselves on their eclectic variety of acts, and their inclusiveness as far as body types. Past burlesque acts have included men, women ranging from their 20s to their 60s, and those of non-binary genders. All body types are welcome at Blue Dime Cabaret, and all body types will be shown. Non burlesque acts have included aerial chains, aerial hoop, hula hoop, contortionism, standup as well as improv comedy, opera, other vocals, and poetry, just to name a few. Blue Dime will be showcasing one of their well loved cabarets this coming weekend at Full Cycle—see below for more deets on that.
Pearl’s Treat burlesque (a clever play on words re: a Boulder landmark) is a go-to when it comes to classic burlesque, and burlesque with a theme. The lovely ladies (and sometimes gents) of Pearl’s Treat often can be seen in the Speakeasy up at Longmont’s rocking downtown area, but they get around too: see below for the big event at Deviant distillery in east Boulder for another mega popular event at which Pearl’s Treat is often featured.
Local burly favorites, The Jezzebelles, can be seen performing with Blue Dime as well, but very often with Pearl’s Treat, as this group epitomizes the beauty of what classic burlesque can be, of the very best vintage. Look for the Pearl’s Treat experience next down at Nissi’s in Lafayette—the theme is smooth 1970s yacht rock, and decadent or seductive costumes are required! July 12th at 8pm. Dust off your feather boas! But: You’ll want to check Nissi’s site first for any age attendance restrictions.
Also known as Conscious Burlesque, Boulder Burlesque rocks the Boulder/Denver area (but mainly the Boulder area) with their unique brand of punchy, in-your-face sex positivity and activism. The bouncy and beautiful humans at Boulder Burlesque maintain the motto: Where the profane is sacred, and with the BB, it’s easy to see how they manifest this motto.
Not only does Boulder Burlesque put on provocative burlesque shows (their next one is called Holy F#&%ing Sh*t and will explode upon CU’s Wesley Chapel on July 26), but they also are the purveyors of regular kink parties, also occurring in Boulder. What’s a kink party? It’s somewhere between a full fledged BDSM dungeon event and a burlesque show. Performances at the edge of kinky, as well as many booths of various kink-flavored experiences of all kinds happen there, that audience members can join or just observe, or a little of both.
Note: 25% of ticket sales for BB’s upcoming burlesque show will go to the Yellowhammer Fund, which provides funding for anyone looking for care at an independent Alabama abortion clinic. Putting their money where their pasties are, is Boulder Burlesque.
Want the Burning Man experience, but don’t want to travel all the way to the Playa? Interested in a costume-sharing and interpersonal dance experience with no strings (except maybe G-strings) attached? Boulder’s Apogea is your answer, and Apogea’s big (and thankfully, relatively frequent) event, the Wardrobe MalFUNKtion, is their answer to all your prayers. Plus burlesque, and fire dancing, and a dynamic flaming outdoor venue at Deviant Spirits distillery that all put together, make for an incredible night out.
Come for the big (free!) costume sharing part, stay for a dram or three of any of Deviant’s stellar handcrafted spirits, and dance the night away to the DJs, dance party, and burlesque and variety show that happens till late. Pearl’s Treat burlesque is known for making their glittery and glorious appearance at this event, but they do open it up to the other burlesque and variety performers around Boulder, making for an experience not to be missed.
Event: June is Busting Out at Full Cycle
Now that I’ve described what burlesque is, and how much of it we’ve got in our fair city, I’m sure you’re chomping at the bit and tugging at the reins to get yourself to a burlesque show (you kinky thing you)! Well worry not, because right on east pearl street, at the Tap House at Full Cycle Bikes, Blue Dime Cabaret will be erecting (!) their sparkling curtain on Saturday night (that’s June 22nd, kids), for a variety show the likes of which will make you stay on the edge of your seat (if not further up).
Blue Dime’s upcoming cabaret show is called June Is Busting Out All Over, and boy is it!—poetry, song, burlesque, a kiddie pool, audience members popping balloons, something amazing involving fruit, improv comedy, and much more are all on the bill for Saturday night! Visit Blue Dime’s website or Facebook event for tickets, or show up at the door for a mere $15 for all the burlesquey variety you can shake a noisemaker at (and you can—they’re passed out at the door)!
See you there, Boulder!