2 posts in one weekend, hmmm.
Last night I went with a few friends to a party in town - a New England town of about 30,000 with people who are generally politically progressive but socially conservative. Sensible LLBean clothing and hiker gear is the norm, conservative suits during weekdays for the lawyers and other professionals who work in town.
We went to a movie first and showed up at the party around 8PM, I believe it started at 6. It was to celebrate the completion of road renovations and sidewalk changes on Main St. - construction that had taken place for 1-2 years. I believe a combination of commercial real estate agencies and some local businesses "sponsored" the party. It was in an old ballroom-type theater, open bar - lots of drink choices, no cover or guest list, live band playing cover songs. Most of the party goers were professionals in their 40's, 50's and 60's. My friends and I - mostly in our 30's - stood out as youngish.
Since the booze was flowing free, the party seemed to be in full swing when we arrived, just as the band started playing. People got on the dance floor right away and I was having fun dancing with my friends and other people I didn't know, mainly women. H was chilling at home working on his truck, so I knew I wasn't going to stay too long.
The band took a break around 9.30 and a guy in a suit arrived onstage announcing a Burlesque Show. Then there were about 4 burlesque acts, the first with women in PJs eventually in lingerie, the second with a woman who twirled a baton in various ways, the third I don't remember and the fourth made me really sad. A woman came on stage looking completely out of it. She was probably either intoxicated or under the influence of something else because her eyes weren't focusing and she didn't seem to be aware of what was going on. She was probably late 40's - early 50's and eventually stripped down to underwear and tassles on her breasts. The crowd kept moving further and further from the stage. A young tipsy female partygoer, not part of the show, went up to the stage close to the woman and gave her a tip, on the floor of the stage. I think at the point people were uncomfortable and didn't know what to do - the young drunk woman left the stage area soon thereafter. That's when the friend I drove with and I decided to leave.
I've been to strip clubs in the past - I had a boyfriend when I was in college who was into them and I believe I went about 3 times in different cities, twice alone with him and once with him and a few friends. I don't believe we stayed longer than 20 minutes in any of them. For some reason those didn't bother me. But I was also a lot younger and haven't seen the inside of one in at least 15 years. The women seemed okay with their work and were relatively good at it.
This particular show seemed out of place and not right for the crowd. I could understand it for a more private party or a younger audience, but it just left me with a sickness to my stomach. I've also been to the theater and seen performances like Cabaret, which was a strong contrast to this particular show. With one or two exceptions, the women didn't seem to be enjoying themselves and frankly weren't that great at dancing or appearing seductive. The woman who seemed to be on drugs did not seem comfortable in her body and appeared more desperate and sad than anything else. She was also older than the other dancers.
I'm not sure how I was supposed to feel about the show, which is why I'm writing here. Have any of you been to burlesque shows? Was it more of an artistic performance with the audience sitting down? This seemed like stripping under the guise of burlesque, with most of the "performers" looking like they didn't have a lot of other options. What would you have done in this situation? What are your thoughts on strip clubs?