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Photos: From showgirls to vampires, the topless revues of the Strip

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Jubilee! at Bally’s photographed by Denise Truscello in May and June of 2011 for the show’s 30th anniversary on The Strip.
Photo: Denise Truscello/DeniseTruscello.net

By Andrea Domanick

Today marks the 10th anniversary of “X Burlesque” at the Flamingo. Topless revues are an iconic part of Las Vegas’ entertainment offerings; some, like “X,” have staying power, while others have fallen by the wayside.

But one thing’s for sure: There’s never a shortage (or variety) of lovely ladies to look at on the Strip’s showroom stages. From classic showgirls to vampires, here are the topless revues of the Strip.

Dita Von Teese in Crazy Horse Paris

The show with a little oh la la! 'Crazy Horse Paris'

Wine, cheese, pastries: Some things are just better when they’re imported from France, and that goes for burlesque shows, too. The production was first performed in Paris (and still is), and its ladies are always tres chic in shoulder-length candy-colored bobs and edgy, erotic costumes. The show, performed at MGM Grand, is perhaps a bit less “buck wild” than some of the other topless offerings on the Strip, sticking largely to dancing and lip syncing, but then again, it is like the French to keep things classy. On top of that, the show has featured burlesque goddess Dita Von Teese as a guest performer numerous times -- if that’s not a stamp of approval, what is?

Jubilee! 30th Anniversary Pink Carpet and Show

Jubilee! 30th Anniversary Exhibit by Denise Truscello

The classic: 'Jubilee!'

When you think of Las Vegas, a few images come to mind, and one of them is surely that of a buxom showgirl dripping in jewels and a feather headdress. You have "Jubilee!" to thank for that. Now going 30 years strong, the show at Bally’s is the longest running on the Strip and features iconic stage production themes like “There’s No Business (Like Show Business)," Samson & and Delilah and the sinking of the Titanic. It reminds you just why Las Vegas was dubbed the Entertainment Capital of the World in the first place.

Peepshow's 3rd Anniversary at Planet Hollywood

The star-powered burlesque: 'Peepshow'

Who better to strut their stuff before a crowd than former Playboy centerfold and reality TV star Holly Madison? The glitzy, high-production show at Planet Hollywood comes courtesy of Tony Award-winning choreographer Jerry Mitchell and is the only topless revue on the Strip to follow a full storyline that features characters -- even if it is a naughty adult take on nursery rhymes. If you’re looking for an X-rated show that’s as much song as it is dance, then this is the one to see.

Girls of X Burlesque

The show with personality: 'X Burlesque'

You’ll never get bored at this revue at the Flamingo, and that’s perhaps the secret to its 10-year success. The show is known for putting the “strip club” in “the Strip” but changes up its coy burlesque routines every year, updating its dance moves and dreaming up new teases to keep you coming back. The ladies are of a variety of shapes and statures, each sporting their own pick of costume and showing off their own strengths as performers. The dancers laugh and grin throughout much of the set and often look like they’re having an even better time than the audience.

'Crazy Girls' at the Riviera in Las Vegas

The throwback: 'Crazy Girls'

This show at the Riviera became something of an icon in the 1990s with its giddy, raunchy performances that feel something like a precursor to “Girls Gone Wild.” Its soundtrack (like Aerosmith’s “Pink,” which incidentally also is featured in "X Burlesque" and "Peepshow") and costumes haven’t exactly undergone a major update since it opened 20 years ago, but that’s part of its charm. The show is a relic of a Vegas past, and it’s a guaranteed goofy good time because of it.

'Bite' at the Stratosphere

The sexy vampire show: 'Bite'

Pop culture’s vampire craze of the past few years (“Twilight,” “True Blood”) didn’t leave Las Vegas un-bitten -- "Bite" has been tantalizing audiences at the Stratosphere with its fangs-and-flesh-themed revue since 2004. The dark, erotic show spices up its sensual dancing with a fun rock ’n’ roll soundtrack sampling the best of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. It’s just the right amount of camp -- and definitely distinct.

Fantasy's 12th Anniversary

Fantasy's 12th Anniversary VIP Party

The show that keeps it simple: 'Fantasy'

There’s no frills or crazy theme to "Fantasy" -- it sticks to exactly what it says it is: A dreamy temptation of shapely, long-legged beauties shaking their stuff and belting it out to showroom pop tunes. Served up at Luxor with a side of comedy and barely there lingerie.

Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter at @AndreaDomanick and fan her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AndreaDomanick.

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Andrea Domanick is an award-winning reporter covering the behind the scenes stories of life in Las Vegas. Her work has ...

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