Those performers who toiled in vaudeville and burlesque circles after the turn of the century knew you had to have a gimmick -- hence the introduction of battery-operated lingerie and fetishism to striptease. Around the World in 80 Girls, Saturday, September 16, at the Gothic Theatre, continues the tradition by presenting a provocative roster of dishy dames, each of whom will represent a different culture through costume. Their saucy cloaks, however, will gradually be removed to represent, well, naked culture. While the burlesquian approach to stripping may seem tame by todays standards (dont expect any pole-climbing or lap dances), the creative and coy forces behind Burlesque As It Was (who will co-produce the show with Grim Productions) have taken pains to ensure an evening thats as enticing as it is nostalgic. Their approach has recently caught the attention of execs at the A&E network, who are considering using the local performance group in an upcoming documentary on burlesque. Such a high-brow endorsement might relax those who squirm at the thought of little glittery pasties. Others, we suspect, wont require such coaxing. Fire breathers, Tahitian dancers, belly dancers, comedians and a six-foot python are also on the bill, as is the music of the Perry Weissmann 3. Va-va-voom!