Backwash

Trace Reddell is in touch with his computer. They make beautiful music together.

That's the implication of Burlesquefest, the movement's first official cross-country tour, which launches at the Ogden Theatre on Saturday, May 17. Organized by Jerri Theil, a talent buyer with Nobody in Particular Presents, Burlesquefest will hit twenty cities in the United States and Canada by the end of June, when the jaunt winds up in San Francisco. Empire Burlesque Follies, Oracle Dance, local dancer Miss Kitty Crimson and headliner Catherine D'Lish will shimmy across the land, caravan-style, tailed by Nick Urata and the other members of Boulder's DeVotchKa, house band for the tour. For the Denver date, DJ Vivian VaVoom (aka Michelle Baldwin, founder of Burlesque As It Was) will provide music between sets; drag queen Joey Lane will also perform, adding an element of is-that-a-man? intrigue to the evening.

Considering that last year's most popular film featured svelte starlets writhing around in fishnets, dancing, Burlesquefest's timing seems perfect. Maybe the American public simply needs a good bump and grind now and then.

"When we did the first shows, we kind of tailored them to the Radio 1190 crowd; it had an underground vibe and was kind of small," Theil says. "But afterwards, people were just freaking out, e-mailing me and calling, like, 'When are you going to do another one?' I realized that we should open it up to everyone. After we did that, we had all kinds of people turning up. I realized that this is a concept that works."

Theil, who's produced burlesque events at the Ogden and Gothic theaters in the past, is functioning as Burlesquefest's Mama Rose, shaping the tour to meet her vision of a proper cabaret-style showcase. She was choosy about whom she cast in the company, using local and non-local talent, and she's staging each date as a theater experience, not a concert.

"People won't get up from their seats," she says. "We'll have tables and candles and cocktail waitresses -- and we dress them up adorably -- to make the entire experience an event rather than just a show that you go to and split. It's supposed to be an experience. It's not sleazy or weird; it's a hoot and a holler, and you just go and laugh and scream."

What? It's a hoot and a holler and a laugh and a scream? Sounds like a fine evening to Backwash. Va-va-voom.


There are goings-on in the world of the fully dressed, as well.

Prolific songwriter Eric Shiveley releases his second full-length CD, The Way It's Going to Be, on Saturday, May 17, at Herman's Hideaway. Though it seems like Shiveley's played with everyone in town over the past couple of years, for the moment he's settled on a lineup -- and an impressive one it is: Tarantella bassist Chad Johnson, Space Team Elektra guitarist Matt Deason and Dado Saand Behomoth drummer Jim Ruberto are his current mates.... The Breezy Porticos are planning to take a break from playing in order to focus on recording; before the hiatus, the band will open for Dressy Bessy and Essex Green, who appear at the Larimer Lounge on Saturday, May 17. That's a power-pop trifecta, folks.... The tireless Mr. David Booker helps christen the High Street Speakeasy, a nearly hidden watering hole at 39th and High streets that celebrates a grand opening on Friday, May 16. Do you deserve a drink today? Yes, you do. Get thee to High.

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