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Burlesque bombshell Dita Von Teese, a one-time Las Vegas stripper, returns to town tonight in glory headlining her own “feathers and fans” variety show, “Strip, Strip, Hooray,” at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay.
“It’s been a longtime dream of mine, forever -- and finally it’s come true,” she said. It’s the third stop on a two-year global tour for “Strip, Strip, Hooray,” and she arrived Wednesday from rave reviews in L.A. and San Diego for her three-night run at HOB.
She was serenaded over the speaker system by flight attendants on Southwest from Southern California, and her show MC Murray Hill was invited to make one of the passenger announcements. (Will those 200 passengers will be at tonight’s debut?!)
Dita, who has appeared regularly here (“Crazy Horse Paris” at MGM Grand and Hyde Bellagio are two recent visits), simply casts spells onstage and off with her pint-sized power and mindboggling measurements.
“My waist is naturally around 23 inches,” she told me. “These days, I’m probably corseting around 18 to 19 inches -- somewhere around there! I stopped carrying around a measuring tape because my aim is not to have the smallest waist; my aim is just to have that hourglass shape. Plus, I love the look of a corset, so I kind of stopped trying to have the smallest waist a long time ago.”
We posted an interview with Dita last month when she began preparing for “Strip, Strip, Hooray.” I asked her to define “sexy” onstage and at home. She told me: “Sexy onstage is definitely about extravagance, a playful sense of humor infused with sexuality, full opulence, and, at home, I would say no rhinestones, no feathers, but definitely glamour still exists, but with a lot less makeup, yet plenty of lingerie!”
Dita, who has turned her 20 years of unique and historical art of burlesque into a global products business machine, will have her own merchandise area at HOB for the mini-run. “I’m really excited about my makeup line, Dita Von Teese for Art Deco, a German company, but we are working on it becoming available in America. We’re going to have a few of the products at ‘Strip, Strip, Hooray,” including the line of striptease writing instruments,” she said.
“More important than making money was for me to create a full-length show and do a proper U.S. tour. I’m really excited about the production, and the critics at the first shows in L.A. and San Diego loved it -- raved about it. It’s a whole production -- my biggest shows and a cast of what I consider to be the best of burlesque. This is the real big opportunity for anyone to see my shows on the big scale that they were meant to be seen.”
Dita has specially created costumes -- they weigh 60 pounds each -- for the show in which she performs four separate, 10-minute acts around other performers. Each outfit cost $100,000 and is decorated with half-a-million crystals. “Nobody has ever seen anything like it in burlesque,” she added.
The 90-minute production -- Dita is onstage for 40 minutes of it -- also stars Lada, one-time dancer at “Crazy Horse Paris,” the oversized Dirty Martini, Selena Luna and MC Murray Hill. Dita closes out the show with her “Opium Den” and starts the show with “Martini Glass,” in which she’ll get soaking wet.
She knows that she has to beat the clock to dry off and get new hair and makeup and into her next costume for the “Powder Compact” routine. “It’s too good not to intro the show with, but it doesn’t make any running order sense. So I just towel off and start all over again!” she laughed
Dita also will ride a full-sized mechanical bull with 6-foot-long, crystal-covered steer horns. “It’s a lot. I’m pushing myself because normally in my shows, it’s just one or two numbers maximum,” she summed up. “This time, it’s intense, but it’s the show I always dreamed of having -- and burlesque is back on the Strip!”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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