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State of the Burlesque Union

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Hello 2012! Writing from the middle of downtown Indianapolis this rainy Saturday morning, Indianapolis seems to be the center of the universe. Super Bowl Village and all of the wonderful activities associated with the Big Game have created a palpable sense of excitement in the air and an atmosphere of pride for what really is one of the coolest places to live in the midwest. As national publications such as CNN and USA Today provide snapshots of our city and all its wonderful gems and hidden treasures, the focus has spilled over from sports and into all of the wonderful arts and cultural events offered in our city that people might not know about or associate with Naptown. Indy's exploding burlesque scene is a big part of that landscape.

Rare is the weekend anymore where there is not a burlesque event to be found. There are at least four active troupes performing in the city today (more, if we count the ones I've heard of but have trouble finding out more information about their performances and events), not counting the wonderful White Rabbit Caberet in Fountain Square and its team of performers and staff. Bottoms Up Burlesque, Angel Burlesque, Creme de les Femmes, and Pur Burlesque are keeping the city's calendar filled with no shortage of ways to get your burlesque fix.

2011 was a banner year for Indianapolis burlesque. Angel Burlesque introduced the wonderful concept of Open Bra Night to give those interested in burlesque in a friendly, welcoming environment, and in the process, brought many smiling new faces to the scene. Creme de les Femmes and their ongoing partnership with Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School have continued to celebrate the beauty of burlesque as an image art. Bottoms Up Burlesque had a banner year, raising thousands of dollars for local breast cancer charities as an added benefit to their sold out shows of neo-burlesque. Pur Burlesque has been busy creating workshops and classes for those interested in learning more. The year capped with the successful Sin's Last Stand: A Night of Historic Burlesque Acts, a show that featured dancers from multiple troups bringing to life the classsic numbers from years past. Covered by the Indianapolis Star, this marked one of the first times that our main stream press covered (on on the front page no less) the amazing talent that fans of the scene have known about for years.

So what's next? Really, for fans of burlesque or those who are curious to learn more, there is no shortage of events to enjoy. Too many to list here, in fact. I will do my part to cover as many of the vast variety of types of programs throughout the year and provide resources for how to learn more. For your part, dear fans, I encourage you to come out and support these amazing artists. Be a part of the scene. Follow the groups on Facebook and Twitter. The scene at these shows is energetic, positive, creative, and ALIVE. To report on the state of the burlesque union, I am happy to report that the state of the union is covered in glitter and full of fun!

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