Arts and Culture

Sink in the Pink: Third Time's the Charm for Cora Vette's Burlesque Revue

Cora Vette, aka Reyna Von Vett, is tickled pink.
Cora Vette, aka Reyna Von Vett, is tickled pink. Cora Vette
Almost thirteen years ago, Reyna Von Vett's burlesque madam alter ego, Cora Vette, made her first Colorado appearance at a show highlighting vintage tunes about sex, drugs and partying. Last year, the Las Vegas-based performer planned to bring back history with pandemic-related songs from the late 1910s and early 1920s in both the summer and the fall. But COVID-19 upended each of her pandemic performances.

On Saturday, July 31, Cora Vette will be back for the thrice-scheduled Tickled Pink, at the Oriental Theater, a pink-themed dirty jazz and blues revue loaded with the songs she'd planned to work into last year's ill-fated performances.

"It's going to be a delicious confection of pinkness," Von Vett says. "I've had another whole year to refine it, to find new material, to make more pink costumes, and a friend of mine has put together a bunch of new music for me for the show, because I had the extra time."

The challenge with building a burlesque show around vintage songs is that there isn't always recorded music available, which limits the repertoire. So a friend of Von Vett's helped record versions of "the most fun, dirtiest, most inappropriate subject matter that was taboo" that she could mine from the archives, she says.

"We're doing 'Alexander's Ragtime Band.' Everyone knows that song," she says. "But we're also doing a Sophie Tucker version of 'The Last of the Red Hot Mamas.' Nobody has a karaoke track, but I have a version of her singing it, and I can put it on stage again 100 years later."

Performing alongside Cora Vette will be the Chevettes (Ivy Faerie and Farrah Lane), Anastasia DuPree, Gigi O’Lovely and Evangeline Caine.
click to enlarge Burlesque queen Evangeline Caine. - LA PHOTOGRAPHIE
Burlesque queen Evangeline Caine.
La Photographie

"My passion has always been historically edgy music, because I think it’s fascinating that it was as shocking as it was," Von Vett explains. "As I get older, I’m stronger and more grounded in the filth that I want to share with the world. A lot of the stuff I’m looking at for this show is a new version of what I used to do. It feels like this show is a wrap-up of everything I’ve created ever since I stopped doing legitimate theater."

And about all that pink?

"When I hit my goth-punk stage, I wouldn't have been caught dead in pink," she reveals. But now her house (in Las Vegas) is entirely pink, and she's embraced pink as her aesthetic, so it only made sense to wrap it into this show, too.

"You don’t have to wear pink," Von Vett notes. "But if a drag queen wants to show up in full-on pink everything, that’s what I want for people."

Tickled Pink takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 31, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. Tickets, $20 to $30, are available here.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen