Behind the scenes look at a Black Diamond Burlesque photo shoot!

 

 

A behind the scenes peek at our silly little circus called Black Diamond Burlesque, where we never take ourselves too seriously!

Thank you to Corse' la Creme for shooting and editing, and capturing how much fun we have together! Photo shoot by Matthew Holler Photography. Hair by Cutting Loose on Main. Gowns by Alice Bee Designs. Shout out to Mike 'Cherry' Marraccini and The Asolo Theatre for the beautiful setting."

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Through the Keyhole: Black Diamond Peep Shows

After Miss Petite Coquette and I traveled to NYC last summer, she to perform, and I to enjoy, we felt that adding a speakeasy-style mini-show to our repertoire made perfect sense.

Confession: The first 'non-Black Diamond' burlesque show I ever saw was two months after we debuted our first show here in September 2010. I have to be honest, I stepped away, having seen a very good show at The Delancey in New York City, knowing that we had something special back at home in Sarasota: very high production value, great variety and pacing, and amazing talent!

New York City has a long standing and highly diverse burlesque scene. I always come away inspired. Miss Petite's performance at Nurse Betty, a great venue on Norfolk Street (just a few doors up from a bona fide Speakeasy that blew us away!), with the famous 'Asian Sexation' Calamity Chang at the helm of her weekly "Spanking the Lower East Side" offering, was such a thrill and gave us some yummy new ideas for our own BDB.

Both of us, performer and producer, came away loving the informality of it. It felt old-fashioned and a bit naughtier than our full blown productions. Instead of an hour and a half striptease/vaudeville staging, it was just beautiful performers bumping, grinding, stripteasing to a standing room only crowd of appreciative voyeurs. A red light hung from the ceiling. The dressing room consisted of a tablecloth hung for privacy from any already compact bar and serving area. Gorgeous, seductive works of art on the wall. Low couches and the unmistakable vibe of a seriously cool off-the-beaten-path club. We were intoxicated.

Petite and I returned to SRQ and quickly decided that the "brothel" upstairs at The Gator Club was the perfect place for our Peep Show idea. A four month run there, with a mini-show of bump and grind plus two four-act sets of our delectable dames, proved to us that Sarasota was hungry for more of what we were best at: offering stunning eye candy and a trip in a time machine to a more innocent and sexier era.

This month, we moved our little "pop-up peep-show" to Perq Coffee Bar on Hillview. What a great energy! A majority of the crowd were Black Diamond virgins, and dare I say burlesque newbies as well. They were delighted at our performance, especially the Peep Show debut of our boylesque dandy Johnny Sparks!

There will be more Peep Shows in the near future. Black Diamond has always desired to bring something old/new to our fans. Whether it's a taste of old-school elegance, or a trip to 1920s New York City, trust us: it is delightful on this side of the keyhole!

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The Troupe

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Black Diamond Burlesque: Behind the Scenes photo shoot

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Time to Say Goodbye, to....

Black Diamond bid farewell to three important members of our family at our May 10th show at McCurdy’s. My heart tells me, this speech I wrote bears repeating:

Our own Vincent Voyeur, better known as photographer extraordinaire Matthew Holler, will be heading to the Big Apple soon! He has been an integral part of this troupe from Day One. His gorgeous vision of Black Diamond Burlesque, captured by his amazing eye, has been KEY in providing us with the elegant light we bask in. Through many very sweaty photoshoots (Matt, why do we always shoot in August?), and every single live show, you has made us look better than we deserve to. The entire troupe thanks you and loves you. Thank you for running away and joining the circus with us!

And, with a lump in my throat, moving on to our next goodbye...

While we were rehearsing for our New Year’s Eve show 2010, our original emcee Tasty Tom said to me: “We need Sarah and Brittany to round out the variety” I said “Who are they?” He said “Friends from the Asolo and they are amazing.” They came to the next rehearsal and the Titty Sisters were born. Titty Bella, with her angelic voice and great rack, Titty Titty Bang Bang with her Italian accent and overly refined manners. They were a hit from this show forward. Adding sex appeal, comedy, great live singing, and a ridiculous amount of talent to Black Diamond.

In real life, these amazing young women are Brittany Proia and Sarah Razzman. Last week, they both graduated from the Master Acting program at FSU/Asolo Conservatory. They are now off to grand adventures, first some summer stock productions and then off the New York City (for Brittany) and Chicago (for Sarah) where I have no doubt they will flourish.

Sarah emceed our show many times as well, and Brittany taught everyone (with her rendition of ‘Sherman and Madeline’) what a rusty trombone is. What you may not know is that very often, they were too busy with their studies and their performances at the Asolo to preview their acts for me or to even come to rehearsal (which believe it or not, we do have rehearsals!) My often repeated line to them was: “I trust you guys” and they always delivered. It has been such an honor to work with these actors and to have them be a part of our half-naked, dysfunctional burlesque family. It is an even greater pleasure to call them my friends.

So, though Miss Brittany Proia and Miss Sarah Razzman are both destined to find bigger and better stages in their futures, please join me in welcoming to OUR stage one last time. … ladies and gentlemen…. Titty Bella and Titty Titty Bang Bang: THE TITTY SISTERS!

The Titties came to the stage and sang an incredible version of “Time to Say Goodbye” made popular by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman. There were chills in the air and not many dry eyes. Of course, the Sisters made it their own, and relieved our sorrow with a comedic ending, to the delight of the crowd. This performance earned Black Diamond Burlesque, or more accurately, Brittany and Sarah, our first complete standing ovation!

I shall never hear this song again without being in that moment. To all of you, Holler, Brit, and Razzman… “When you are far away, I dream of the horizon and words fail, and, yes, I know that you are with me… time to say goodbye.

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Bump-n-Grind...it's all in the shoulders

In eighteen days, I will have to pleasure of ushering another group of ladies into the behind-the-scenes world of Burlesque. At our third "playshop" (it's too much fun to be called a workshop), I am hopeful we will have more brave and open minded souls, similar to those who attended our first two gatherings.

Starting last November, Miss Petite Coquette (my BDB co-founder and co-hort) and I welcomed close to 20 women to McCurdy's Comedy Theatre for our first such offering. To be honest, despite a well thoughtout outline for our three hours together, neither Miss PC nor I knew exactly WHAT to expect. But the lovely gals started filing in, happy and eager on a Saturday afternoon.

The first hour or so was lots of laughs with anecdotes and secrets shared. Hair, make-up, costuming, and never-before-shared stories of what goes into the show and what ACTUALLY happens behind the scenes. A quick lunch and a delivered/promised shot of Vodka or Jack Daniels (ladies choice) led us to the time they were all there for: learn how to do it like a pro!

Miss Petite Coquette led the giggling crew through glove and stocking removal. Cheers and hoots were common place as our students encouraged each other. How to work a boa? Just watch Miss PC herself slither it over her shoulder, past her glittering skin. Ready to learn how to twirl your tassels? The energy heightened in the club. Most women attached the tassels to their tee shirts or bras. But this one beautiful girl dared to apply directly to her nipples! I do not think she would be upset that I mention she is not only beautiful and brave but plus sized. In her glory, proud of her loveliness, she alone inspired this bevy of beauties with her bravery. It was exhillarating and wonderful!

Flash forward to January, and 20+ chickypoos show up for Round #2! Same outline, same lunch, same shot of courage, but this time.... nearly ALL the women bared their breasts and went straight to nipples with their pasties! Led by our orignal BBW, this band of sisters ROCKED THE HOUSE, albeit in privacy of an afternoon at our favorite venue.

So on April 20th, we shall gather again. Who will attend? Who will giggle, shy away, or step forward? Who will be liberated by the glory of themselves? To celebrate what Black Diamond Burlesque preaches: that there are MANY versions of beauty. Trust me, I have seen them in person!

~Lady LaLa, producer

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