Night School: History of the Art of Burlesque. The one class you shouldn’t miss.
If asked to describe the perfect learning environment, a fully stocked bar, a sexy and hilarious teacher and an equally sexy teacher’s pet wearing outfits that leave little to the imagination is not what would come to most people’s minds.
Well, that was what was in store at The Wiggle Room’s Burlesque Night School: History of the Tease, hosted by Miss Education, better known as The Lady Josephine, and her A+ student Miss Lavender May.
The Lady Josephine ran a tight ship. Class starts with an introduction, followed by setting the rules of the classroom. Rule #1: “Do not have any nasty thoughts about the teacher.” Rule #2: “Do not enjoy the punishment.” Rule #3: “Never speak without putting your hand up.” Rule #4: “Answer my f***ing questions.” And Rule #5: “Don’t be late.”
Audience members who break the rules are punished by being brought up on stage and spanked, which leads to breaking the second rule, as it is tough not to enjoy the punishment. Those who follow the rules and answer questions correctly are rewarded with a gold star, one that The Lady Josephine “marinates in her own saliva” and places on your forehead — that, you are allowed to enjoy.
After that, the class consists of a “lesson” on the History of the Tease presented by the funny and talented The Lady Josephine, with several burlesque performances in between by her favorite student, Miss Lavender May. It is easy to understand why Miss Lavender May is an A+ student; her sexy yet tasteful performances leave the crowd “hooting and hollering,” something the audience is actively encouraged to do.
As for the venue, The Wiggle Room promises a great, intimate environment for a night out. While not easy to find, it is one of the hidden gems on Saint-Laurent Blvd. At the entrance, the hostess behind an old-fashioned ticket booth greets you. One look at the bar and you are immediately transported to a different era. Everything from the bar, to the stage, to the way the servers are dressed creates the perfect atmosphere to accompany the event of the evening. The staff was friendly and engaging, making audience members feel like they belonged to an exclusive club.
This intimate venue also boasted a mixed and vibrant crowd. Students, couples, groups of friends on a night out, a man wearing a three piece suit and a top hat and holding a skull staff–everyone is welcome at the place with the motto, “A Little Wiggle Goes a Long Way.”
After a great show, The Lady Josephine kindly agreed to meet me at the bar for a small chat. Her love of burlesque started when she attended a show in Vancouver six years ago. She fell in love with “the way the women on stage were owning their own sensuality,” as well as the ability to transport those involved to a different time. Clearly a passionate and talented student of burlesque, her lesson about its history, while light hearted and comical, stems from her own admiration of the political, social and artistic contributions of the women who started it all. When asked what her message be to the student community at Concordia would be, The Lady Josephine said: “ take a chance, go and see a burlesque show. I guarantee, it’s the best foreplay you’ve ever had.”
For more information about burlesque and variety events, visit wiggleroom.ca.