When Baltimore burlesque artist Paco Fish quit his day job to pursue performing, it resulted in serious financial repercussions: His home went into foreclosure. But Fish saw it as an opportunity, loading his entire life into a van and embarking on a 52-week burlesque tour of the U.S. and Canada. Inspired by bands like the Dresden Dolls who built success on touring, Fish is bringing his comical burlesque act to Denver for shows and workshops this week.
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"It's weird being homeless and trying to maintain at least an illusion of glamor," says Fish. "I've ended my life in Baltimore, and I'll be reborn in some other city after a year-long gestation in my van womb."
Whether he's doing a grim-reaper striptease on stilts or dressing up like a judge and singing love songs to his gavel, Fish's creative numbers combine the art of the striptease with theatrical performance, elaborate costumes and physical comedy.
"Burlesque is...self-aware satire. It's an interplay between the performer and the audience rather than a detached performance," Fish says. "I feel like burlesque is sort of the punk of the theater and dance world."
The Burlesque Vanguard Tour starts its Denver stint tonight at 8 p.m. at Follies Voudou at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse, 1260 22nd Street, alongside local burlesque stars like Gigi D'Lovely and Frenchie Renard. Tickets, $9, are available at the door or at voodoocomedy.com. Fish will also perform Friday at 11 p.m. in Midnite Martini's Sexy Circus Sideshow at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe Street; teach two afternoon workshops at Vivienne VaVoom's School of Burlesque, 244 Santa Fe Drive, on Saturday; and model for Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School at 7 p.m. Sunday at Crash 45, 321 45th Avenue. For more information, visit burlesquevanguard.com and pacofish.net.
Tue., May 14, 8 p.m., 2013