Dita Von Teese and Co. Performed Strip Strip Hooray in Atlanta and we went.

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story /  Cetoria Tomberlin and Mary Lynn Ritch
photos / Scott Harrison

Dita Von Teese scheduled her last show of her Strip Strip Hooray tour in Atlanta, Georgia and I was determined to be in attendance. It was on Palm Sunday at the Tabernacle, which is a venue that was once a former church—it was almost as if it was what Jesus with his sense of humor wanted for me that beautiful Sunday hahaha jk.
As someone who knew of Dita but knew nothing about Burlesque, I wasn’t sure what was in store for me.  So I asked the Queen of Burlesque herself.
“What you will experience is a lot of diverse and big personalities from my favorite talent,” Dita said back in March, ” Also, you’ll notice that people tend to dress up for a Burlesque show and I’m not talking just the performers. It’s fabulous.”
Dita was excited to bring her first and final Strip Strip Hooray of the year to Atlanta.  “I love it there. Every time I get the chance to visit, I walk around Little Five and browse the shops,” she said, “I am completely thrilled to finally get the performance to the south.”
For research, I looked up YouTube videos of her shows and I was shocked at how detailed her costumes were and I was curious at how much they weighed.
“My heaviest costume weighs about 50 pounds” she said, “but of course that changes since I take it off.”
When we got to the Tabernacle, I was completely stoked once I saw the crowd because Dita was right, people dressed up.  It looked like everyone was dressed up to go to Elton John’s or Cher’s funeral but I mean that in the best way.  Everyone looked amazing and everyone was friendly which made for a great crowd and show.

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Dita opened the show with her signature Swarovski Martini Glass act. When the curtain opened, she stood proud in a classic, clearly custom made, tuxedo, with her tiny cinched waist. Striking doesn’t really do the scene justice because every act she performed was styled to perfection. As she strutted across the stage to the coy “A Guy Who Takes His Time” it was obvious this wasn’t Dita’s first time. From costumes to make-up to the Texas shaped confetti during her “Rhinestone Cowgirl” act, it was blindingly obvious Dita doesn’t do anything half-assed.
Behind the glitz and glamour what the fans adore is a live show with a surprising vein of diversity. Of the ten acts there were seven main performers ranging from big and busty, slim and French, athletic and ethnic, and the most surprising of all was the male performer. The diversity of the show speaks volumes to the environment fostered in the crowd of mostly girls and women, but of all different varieties. Who knew you’d find an accepting, and not to mention wildly fun, atmosphere at burlesque show? Dita chose her line-up well, but that’s really not a surprise, the business woman—who sold merchandise downstairs that included a $190 cardigan– chooses everything well.
Above all else, Dita seems to believe in giving an audience their money’s worth. The show contained ten acts, nine of which were burlesque performances, four of those being Dita herself. Throughout the night’s performances Mr. Murray Hill, the most wonderfully inappropriate emcee you’ll ever have the pleasure hearing, entertained the sold out 1300 plus audience, some of which were willing to stand throughout the entire 90 minute set right next to the stage so they didn’t miss one single sashay, with deliciously dirty jokes and hilarious banter between himself and audience members. His mark of a talented host was blindingly displayed as he ad-libbed half the time. One entire act late in the show was devoted to his own personal dance challenge where three lucky audience members competed for Dita memorabilia, but mainly bragging rights.
After Dita’s dramatic opening number, Hill introduced the second performer of the night, Dirty Martini. Martini is a plus-size woman with generous curves and endless confidence. After busting out of her evening gown she wowed the crowd with her talented tits. Her pasty twirling ability—the woman can not only twirl them individually, but also control the direction—deserves its own round of applause, which she got over and over again. Martini’s act also brought a playful sense of humor. She and Hill bantered after her performance and in the process she lost a pasty. She was not bothered; she looked great.
Once Martini scuttled off stage, the curtain lifted engulfing the audience in a heavy screen of smoke as Catherine D’lish slithered to center stage right in front of an oversized spider web made of rope. This woman defied the laws of physics as she seductively climbed and stretched herself in her web. In the moment it was hard to decide if you wanted her to get tangled or not. At one point she was completely inverted and all I could think was, Sweet Jesus, don’t fall. If it were me, I’d fall. She didn’t. Of course she didn’t.  She’s Catherine D’lish.
Despite the audience being predominately female, it was still a surprise when Monsieur Romeo took to the stage. Even with the popularity of movies such as Magic Mike, which granted is about stripping, not burlesque, the imagines that come to mind when considering exotic dancers aren’t usually masculine. Fortunately, M. Romeo gave American men another reason to hate the French. M. Romeo gave a performance of mostly tease and waxed abs. But it was all worth it when he finally lost his trousers to reveal the he was wearing fishnets and garters underneath. I didn’t hate it. It was sexy and hilarious and I found myself feeling really bad for Tim Curry because M. Romeo has completely outshined him in the hosiery department.

 
Dita’s second appearance was her “Rhinestone Cowgirl” act that included a mechanical bull, Swarovski covered pistols, and were so very, very pink. What shined through this performance was her sexual playfulness that never crossed the line from seductive to slutty. The woman rode the bull in nothing but her pasties, thong, and cowgirl hat and still managed to permeate an air of sophistication.
After the short intermission Dita returned with her “Birds of Paradise” performance in which she sported a tail of feathers the cost upwards of $30,000. During the set, she eventually removed the glamorous bird bustle, along with everything else. Then, returned to the glided cage she started in to take a luxurious shower while she spun on the bird swing.
Up next on the roster was Lada Nikolsha, hailing from the famous Crazy Horse Paris iconic performance house, as Hill explained in his introduction. She gave the audience a lesson in French seduction as she performed the legendary “leçon d’érotisme” cabaret act. Nikolsha alternated between lounging and splaying her body across the cutest pink lip couch you’d ever see.
When Hill introduced Perle Noire as the new Josephine Baker I was thrilled, because finally, it was a name I recognized. Baker was famous and ground breaking and I was scared for Noire cause that’s a lot to live up to. But Noire wasn’t fazed. She began her act with simple coyness the eventually developed into wild energy. Before I knew what hit me–she’s bounced left and right, did cartwheels across the stage, did splits right down the center. Noire is her own legend in the making.

From her final act I learned that the one thing Dita will never be referred to as is shy. The “Opium Den,” she proved herself once again. The act featured the 50-pound pagoda costume where she spent 75% percent of the performance swinging from its built tassels calling up images of bondage. The finale culminated with Dita pressed up against the back wall simulating being pleasured by four long fingered red-gloved hands. Her climax arrived with a burst of confetti (red flowers this time) and the pleased smile she had sported all evening and I found myself basking in the afterglow wearing that same smile.
While the costumes, sets, and coyness are all fine and good, what I really took away from the show was confidence. The performers were all beautiful, but more importantly, human. They’re real and I found myself thinking that’s great because I’m real too. This is wonderful. This is so fucking wonderful.
The truth is Dita earned her celebrity from taking her clothes off.  And although many believe what she does doesn’t require talent or that she is famous for being famous– I’d argue the complete opposite. She is not only talented, but also dedicated, determined and a businesswoman who made a career off of her favorite hobby which is very inspiring. Yet Dita remains humble.
“I am no different from any woman who makes a living stripping or a woman who simply enjoys it,” Dita said, “ Truth be told, if I didn’t walk in a strip club in the early 90’s I wouldn’t be where I am today. I completely enjoy, support, respect and appreciate what those women do and I always will.”

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Dita Von Teese recently launched a sexy and affordable lingerie collection at select Bloomingdale’s locations and online at Bloomingdales.com, Asos.com and Stylebop.com  Prices range from $50-$500.
My personal favorite items which I intend to make a trip to Bloomingdales as soon as possible to purchase are the Dita Von Teese Savoir Fair Fitted Chemise, the Madame X Unlined Corset and the Suspender Man Catcher.
 

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