After seven years of lace garter belts, fishnets, and bustiers, Red Palace, the DC mecca of burlesque entertainment, closed its doors, leaving us heartbroken and strip-tease-less. Left with countless memories of the sexy and shocking, we are now faced with the daunting task of…moving.on.
But fear not mortal lovers of eccentric variety, your heroes here at Brightest Young Things have compiled a list of burlesque entertainment and venues around the city.
feature image: Chris Chen. listing image: Kimberly Cadena
We present to you, The BYT Burlesque Guide:
Melina “Mel” Afzal , the former variety show talent buyer and sound engineer for the Red Palace knew that although Red Palace had closed, the shows must go on! Palace Productions rose out of the fall of the Red Palace. Under the lead of Mel, Palace Productions emerged with the mission to continue providing quality burlesque, sideshow, and variety shows throughout the Washington Metro area. They partner with such venues as:
- Black Cat 1811 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009
- Bier Baron 1523 22nd St NW Washington, DC 20037
- Howard Theater 620 T Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
- State Theater 220 N Washington St Falls Church, VA 22046
On top of that, keep an eye out for other great venues for burlesque:
- Phase 1 525 8th St. SE Washington DC 20003
- Chef Ike’s 1725 Columbia Rd NW Washington, DC 20009
- Sax Dc 734 11th St NW Washington, DC 20004
- The Wonderland Ballroom 1101 Kenyon St. NW Washington, DC
- The Pinch 3548 14th St NW Washington, DC 20010
- The Gibson 2009 14th St NW Washington, DC 20009
- Artisphere 1101 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington VA 22209
Now, for a brief cheat sheet and what to expect at each venue, plus some shows to look forward to:
Palace Productions has found a home in the Black Cat; the venue has arguably re-sparked the Red Palace burlesque flame. They’ve geeked out at the Black Cat with nearly naked sexy geek girls and hot nerd boys at the EPIC WIN Burlesque show. We all quaked when the brown starlets shook it during the first Brown Girls Burlesque All-Star Show: She’s-A-Shaking and had the best time during the WHEDONISM series, which at this point had 2 different installments. We can’t wait for the upcoming Twisted Teases show that is sure to take us on a journey of the weird, dark and twisted. (PHOTO by Steve Jeter for BYT)
- Deanna Danger Presents: Twisted Teases Friday May 24th @ 8:45 & 11:00
Can you believe the until 4 months a go, the last burlesque event they had at the Howard Theatre before its restoration was in 1955 with Duke Ellington? Now the Historic Howard Theater has been restored to its former glory, it’s bringing burl-sexy back…Yea! (hey, a quick JT reference never hurt anyone). Palace Productions has hosted the breathtaking Sunday Burlesque Soiree’s including the hot and spicy Cinco de Mayo edition. It was Muy Caliente! This weekend we can get pumped for the Burlesque-A-Pades beach party. What better way to bring in the summer season than with a burlesque beach themed bump-and-grind?
- Burlesque-A-Pades: Saturday May 25th @ 8:00 $25 in advance/ $30 day of show
(Photos courtesy of Burlesque-a-pades)
Looking for a weekly burlesque fix? The Bier Baron Tavern in hosts crazy themed burlesque shows every Thursday. They’ve put on a fair share of quirky burlesque shows including the Celebritease Burlesque Hall of Fame Fundraiser, Star Trek vs. Star Wars burlesque for all you sci-fi nerds, and the Moonshine Cabaret . They’ve also hosted the Lucky Daredevil Thrill Show, a fast paced and funny, death-defying daredevil stunt spectacular with all the glitter, glamour, and gut-wrenching thrills. This summer we are looking forward to even more quirky and sexy shows.
Phase 1 is the mainstay watering hole for lesbians cool cats in the DC area and has entertainment for everyone. We love local talent and so does Phase 1; It’s been the go-to spot to see the local Burlesque troupe, the DC Gurly Show, in all their glory. The girls got our knickers in a twist (Russel Brand voice) with the British Invasion show, and again with the Femme Noir, a Film Noir themed Burlesqued show. The ladies were armed, dangerous and decadent.
(Photo courtesy of D.C. Gurly Show)
Chief Ike’s is not just a great dive bar. The dim lighting, neon signs and gritty atmosphere of Chief Ike’s Mambo Room makes it the perfect venue for burlesque. Chief Ike’s has has hosted
Birthday Suit Burlesque, Valentine Candy Burlesque, and is the new home of Dr. Sketchy’s DC, a monthly burlesque figure modeling class. Grab a cocktail, we’ll see you there.
(Photo Courtesy of Birthday Suit Burlesque)
Entertaining DC for 70 years with musical legends, uprising local talent, and of course burlesque. The State theater has featured shows like “CARNIVALESQUE”, an immersive 1930’s Dust Bowl Themed , and “Burlesque to Broadway” which paid tribute to the female artists who started from burlesque stage and went on to Broadway . We’re looking forward to having a blast and getting some summer lovin’ this weekend.
- Summer Lovin’ Burlesque Saturday May 25th @ 9:00
Where else can you find FREE SHOWS? FREE IMPROV? and FREE BOOBIES? Nowhere but The Pinch.Your guaranteed to love Burlesque and Belly Laughs. Every fourth Friday of the month fabulous ladies of burlesque bring their tassels, song, and dance to The Pinch for the free! With a cast of improv actors and burlesque dancers from troupes around DC, the evening alternates between improv sketches and more traditional burlesque acts. It’s the best of both worlds.
Walk into The Gibson and you will instantly feel as if you’ve been transported in a 1920’s speakeasy. The member’s only feel of this bar and lounge makes it the perfect venue for burlesque entertainment. The Gibson recently hosted Lace and Feathers Burlesque by Valentine Candy Burlesque. Be on the lookout for more burlesque at The Gibson (every last Thursday of the month) for a night of sexy fun and unique cocktail creations.
Go on an artistic adventure at the Artisphere. Specializing in everything from contemporary visual art, live music and theatre to new media, film and dance, this venue is easily your left brain’s happy place.
- Shocked + Amazed Presents the Lucky Dare Devil Thrill Show SAT JUNE 15 / 9:30PM.
(Photo Courtesy of Krissy Kocktail) (Photo Courtesy of StereoVision)
If your interested in a great burlesque show with your pinky up (that’s the symbol for fancy shmacy for all of you unfancy people) head to Sax Restaurant and Lounge. Sax provides continuous performances ranging from burlesque, alluring acrobatic pole performers to theatrical ballet. They also feature both a full dinner menu and Bottomless Sunday Burlesque Brunch.
- Burlesque Sunday Brunch Brunch goes from 11:30am to 4pm. Performances run every 10 minutes and are 4 to 5 minutes long.
- Burlesque and Bubbles Wednesdays $35 3-COURSE PRIX FIXE DINNER and a complementary glass of Champagne
- Bal Masque Thursdays Complimentary cocktail toast to start your evening and a $35 3-Course Prix Fixe Dinner while watching the best from the SAX performers
- Bal Masque Late Night Every Thursday 10 pm to 2am for great cocktails, burlesque, acrobatic pole and other alluring cabaret performance. Music by our very own DJ Bazza. Performances start at 6:30pm and continue throughout the night. The performances are every 10 minutes and are 4 to 5 minutes long
Let us know if we missed someplace in the comments. Sharing is the new caring.