Colorado Creatives

100 Colorado Creatives: Burlesque and cabaret queen Cora Vette

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What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

With the increased popularity of burlesque, there are more and more shows popping up all over, not just in Denver, but all over the country. Seeing a poorly produced burlesque show can convince a potential audience member that they do not care for burlesque. There are too many people producing burlesque shows without the proper experience. It's not enough to take a class and put together a show. The onus is not just on the people putting the shows together, but also the bars or performance venues. Everyone wants a burlesque show now...but seeing a bad one can really hurt the art form as a whole. Yes, art form: burlesque has been around since the late 1800s in Europe. America added the striptease aspect in the late 1920s/early 1930s (there are conflicting claims as to who actually was the first). So, yes, the striptease aspect of burlesque specifically is a uniquely American art form, and it should be protected and celebrated.

What's your day job?

My full-time job is being a mom to my seven-year-old son. I travel and host burlesque festivals all around the country. I run my shop "VaVaVette" where I make burlesque costumes and vintage clothing reproductions. I run two burlesque troupes -- the VaVaVettes (burlesque) and the Hot Rods (boylesque). I make all my own costumes and most of the costumes for my performers, so right now, that takes up a lot of my time. The rest of my day job is coming up with the next crazy idea...

A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

Open a theatrical burlesque/cabaret club and have the money to get it off the ground. Hands down. I've always been of the opinion that burlesque shows belong in a proper venue. We had our own space we were leasing at the Denver Civic Theater, but we lost it in a scam by a crooked landlord. So, I guess all I want to do is to get back to where we started five years ago. 

What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

To the people in Denver and Colorado, go out and see live events! See different shows at different venues, get out and help make art a for-profit business. Every butt in a seat makes a difference. I'd like to see the artists in this town get a tiny percentage of the recognition that we give our professional sports teams. Denver is a great city. Get out there and enjoy it and support the little guys!

Continue reading for more from Cora Vette.
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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd