The MIXX: “Burlesque Revealed,” 3/16, at MIXX

The MIXX: “Burlesque Revealed,” 3/16, at MIXX

“The MIXX: Burlesque Revealed,” is hosted by Pia Gedeon, owner, MIXX Projects + Atelier. Free gathering is Wednesday March 16, 6 – 8 p.m., 307 East Colorado Avenue. Event features Telluride Theatre’s artistic director Sasha Sullivan, who created annual burlesque shows as a fundraiser for Telluride Theatre, taking place this year next week, Wednesday, March 23, then Friday & Saturday, March 25 & March 25. (Further info below, including ticket link.) Also on hand to talk about Literary Burlesque divas Amy Irvine and Kierstin Bridger. Literary Burlesque takes place May 15, 2016. Please RSVP to Pia @


Historically, burlesque was defined as parody and satire, although performances tended to be broader in mocking a style, class or genre. In the 20th Century and onward, burlesque survived in skits and revues, many of which became raucous and bawdy. So bawdy that New York banned all burlesque in 1942.

In Telluride, Sasha Sullivan created burlesque shows as a means of raising funds for the theatrical company she founded,. SquidShow, which then merged with the Telluride REP to become Telluride Theatre. The cast of Telluride Burlesque evolved out of a class at the Ah Haa School for the Arts, which began in 2011.


Why are these women willing to push their personal envelopes – and hips – in front the whole town? Why do they so wholeheartedly embrace The Full Monty? Read on for some answers from interviews I did with the women over the years:

“To experience a greater camaraderie with other women… and to overcome some self-imposed and societal dissonances, in regards to feminine sensuality and sexuality vs. female intelligence and assertiveness. I’m learning to allow both sides to coexist harmoniously.”

“With a full plate and so not much free time, it still felt necessary to fit this performance into my life. It is magical to spend time with so many creative women and develop such a fantastically entertaining, diverse and comical collection of routines with them. All the work we put in to make this show so great is as much for us as it is for the audience. Burlesque is so rejuvenating!”

“Last year cracked me open. Sasha and Melissa created a beautiful, sacred space that allowed each of us to reach within and discover a hidden piece of ourselves, a part just dying to come out. I discovered I had confidence, self awareness, strength, and beauty. And that’s just the short list. Funny or serious, each and every routine celebrates the woman within. As it turns out, burlesque for all of us is not about stripping. It’s about the joy of individual expression in a safe, accepting environment. That’s what is celebrated on stage. That’s what the audience responds to. And that’s why I am back for more.”

Literary Burlesque is a whole other thing. In some ways, the highlight of the Telluride Literary Arts Festival is less revealing; in some ways more.

Literary Burlesque dances on the razor’s edge, the line between sexuality, tease, and the real deal. It is the cutthroat gulp that happens when performance meets poetry, where neo-Burlesque meets memoir, where fiction flies like a dove from a magic hat.

Conceptualized by award-winning author Amy Irvine, Literary Burlesque brings regional writers together on stage to perform their most vulnerable work, peeling back layers to reveal tender hearts, tender words, bare souls – and a little bit of skin.

Amy Irvine, by Susie grant

Amy Irvine, by Susie Grant

“The idea of ‘literary burlesque’ was largely inspired by Telluride Theater’s Burlesque Show, of which I am a great fan,” explains Irvine. “What Sasha Sullivan and others have done in that show is ask how a woman can truly reveal herself within the cultural constructs of sexuality and entertainment – and in doing so, they demolished those projections and assumptions entirely.

“But the notion for a literary version came to me one winter,” Irvine continues, “on an evening in New Hampshire, where I was part of a group of women authors who were all reading very vulnerable and revealing work, and I thought, ‘Wow, we do a kind of burlesque up here too.’”

The MIXX’s “Burlesque Revealed” is an opportunity for you to weigh in on the subject. Do you see burlesque in any form as a form of exploitation? Or do think peeling off layers is a healthy way to shoot raspberries at socio-cultural taboos designed to constrain women? Do you see burlesque as freeing or way to revealing?

Join the discussion at The MIXX.

More about Telluride Theatre’s Burlesque:


$25, $35, $300 VIP TABLES

$35, $45, $500 VIP TABLES

TICKETS: available at

TIME: 9 p.m.
VENUE: The Sheridan Opera House
AGES: 21+ only

“Our annual fundraiser resurrects the raucous and raunchy variety shows of Telluride’s vaudeville era, featuring dancing, comedy, acrobatics and beautiful local women,” explains Sasha. “Two different shows! CHEAP THRILLS is the ‘graduation’ of our beginning class. THE HOUSE OF SHIMMY SHAKE presents INTERGALACTIC BURLESQUE: Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Burlesque. Its mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new tantalizing life and new sexy civilizations, to boldly go where no woman and her pasties have gone before.”

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