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Burlesque is back big time thanks to Dita Von Teese and her spectacular, diamond-studded costumes that cost a cool $100,000 a piece, and she tosses them with the passion of a World Series pitcher in her new show “Strip, Strip, Hooray” at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay.
She came, she conquered, and burlesque is firmly back on the map again. “It’s more than I even dreamed of for all the years I wanted my own burlesque show,” Dita told me.
The audience at HOB, which included Las Vegas resident Tempest Storm and other burlesque legends, went wild for the pint-sized brunette bombshell as she unzipped tight bustiers and corsets, peeled off high-heels and seductively slinked out of diamond-seamed stockings. Her tiny 19-inch waist, perfect hourglass figure, porcelain features, bare treasure-trove thighs and bright red lipstick are a pinup’s dream.
Dita splashed from a diamond-crusted martini glass, sprawled sexily over a red-and-pink-sequined bucking bronco, posed provocatively inside a supersized powder compact and was gladly groped by many hands in the Chinese Opium box for her final number.
The show is 90 minutes, and Dita was onstage stripping, teasing, posing and dancing for 40 fabulous minutes of it with four exquisitely choreographed routines. Her cross-gender MC Murray Hill, two backup blonde lookalike stage mates, a Russian dominatrix, her spider web-crawling pal Catherine DeLish and “to hell with the weight” Dirty Martini, winner of numerous Las Vegas burlesque awards, round out the production.
Las Vegas is the third stop on Dita’s new cross-country tour, and reviewers and fans in L.A. and San Diego have gone wild for her. My exclusive interview with Dita as she prepared her “Strip, Strip, Hooray” was posted April 11.
“We’ve already been adding dates,” Dita said. “Some venues have asked if we could do two shows a night to meet the demand. But that would be too tough on us, on the clothes, on the seamstresses. This is a tough workout, and we want to give our all with each one, so a second show the same night wouldn’t quite work when we strive for such perfection.”
Contributing photographer Scott Harrison joined me to shoot this spectacular photo gallery Thursday night. Dita dazzled every second she was onstage, and the climax to her “Urban Cowboy” spoof was over the top. As she massaged and writhed atop the bull, the ceiling opened up and showered her in red-and-pink metallic confetti, and the audience erupted as if in mutual orgasm.
Girls kissed girls, girls kissed boys, and boys kissed boys Yes, it was that kind of a wild night of pasties and panties. “I’m loving the audience loving us and each other. It’s a turn on to know we’re turning them on.” Dita performs one more time tonight at HOB before hitting the road for San Francisco.
“We’re having some technical challenges with our props and scenery,” she told me. “House of Blues venues are perfect for rock groups and musicians bringing in guitars, but we’ve got everything from the bull to the 6-foot-tall glass to load -- I’m not adjusting what we do, so the venues are working around our needs.
“It all takes a little longer than planned, but we produced a beautiful show, and the audiences see that and are enjoying it fully. We give them an intermission and encourage them to come early and stay late to really enjoy the mood we’ve created.
“I’ve learned so much from the first seven performances of the show. It’s an incredible experience, and I’ve already got ideas for the next show. Maybe as the tour ticks on, we may even add them or swap them in.”
She excitedly summed up: “I’d waited ever since I decided I was bringing back burlesque to do this show. It’s turned out exactly what I hoped for -- and more. I wanted to take burlesque mainstream with today’s theatrics as opposed to the old-time vision of stripping, and audiences are loving it.”
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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