Bottoms up! Burlesque revue makes an opening splash

Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2012, 5:01 pm
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By Laura Anderson Shaw,
With sparkle, high heels and playful seduction, Bottoms Up Quad City Burlesque will sprinkle some sass on Skellington Manor's Vaudeville Revue and Dinner Show Saturday night.

Skellington's first Vaudeville Revue -- already sold out -- will showcase a variety of local acts for a mix of improv, stand-up comedy, music, an escape artist, magic and more -- and, of course, some burlesque performances.

Some performers refer to the show as "modville," a modern twist on the old-school vaudeville shows of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Those shows would bring numerous unrelated acts together for nights of entertainment.

The Vaudeville Revue will mark the first performance as a troupe for the Bottoms Up girls, and they're excited. Some of the ladies previously performed with another Quad-Cities troupe, Burlesque Le'Moustache, and decided to start another troupe when Le'Moustache wanted to pursue national ventures. With families and full-time jobs in the Quad-Cities, the girls said they're happier staying closer to home.

"This is where we started," said Cameron Jaime, of Davenport. On stage, she becomes Mac DeVille, a sassy, flirty girl who sometimes carries a feather boa.

"Burlesque is a way for me to express who I am on the inside," Ms. Jaime said. "It allows me to be all of the fantasy characters I dreamt of as a little girl."

The other members of Bottoms Up Quad City Burlesque are Lily L'Amour (Rachel Weed, Moline); Betty Von Vandersnatch (Liz Kuhnle, Davenport); Dolly Demure (Jenn Mariman, Geneseo), Mary Quite Contrary (Mary Francis, Rock Island) and Kitty Bardot (Andrea Myer, Davenport).

Ms. Jaime said some of the performers incorporate a lot of dance into their routines, while others focus more on simply being cute. Then there are some routines that are "pee-your-pants funny," Ms. Jaime said, looking to another performer and laughing.

Ms. Weed has learned to open up on stage. She said her work with burlesque began when she was talking with two powerful female friends who encouraged her to explore her "body-image hangups."

She learned to embrace them, she said, and put them on stage.

"We don't have to be size 2s," she said.

The crowd's reaction also is reassuring. "Damn, I love the sound of applause," she said.

While readying her snowflake-esque costume, Ms. Francis said people cheering for women of all body types is one of her favorite things about the art of burlesque. Some girls in the troupe are 90 pounds, and some are 200, she said, adding that they all receive applause.

"I want the audience to leave satisfied," Ms. Francis said. She wants them "leaving wanting more."

The idea for Quad-Cities vaudeville has been up the sleeves of Skellington Manor owners Penni and Mike Steen for a long time. When the couple held cast auditions for its other productions, including It's a Mystery's dinner shows and Skellington's haunted house, they called for vaudeville-like variety acts, too.

They "thought it would be fun to bring together different (area) talent," Ms. Steen said. After having burlesque performers in the house before, "we knew that would be a draw," she said.

Once the 2011 haunt season was over, Ms. Steen said, the group sat down and hammered out details.

"It's coming together really well," Ms. Steen said. "I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

For more on Bottoms Up Quad City Burlesque, visit

Missing out this weekend?

-- Skellington Manor, 420 18th St., Rock Island, will host another Vaudeville Revue Dinner, "Shake Your Shamrocks," for age 21 and older at 6 p.m. March 17. Tickets are $35; buy them online at or call (563) 344-9187.
-- Bottoms Up Quad City Burlesque also will perform regularly at The Speakeasy, 1828 3rd Ave., Rock Island, starting with 21-and-older shows at 7 p.m. April 27 and 28. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door.


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