There’s a problem with stripping and burlesque and it’s a matter of money. Strippers make money through tips and overexposure, but are often freelancers, renting time and space, without any vacation or healthcare plans. The burlesque performers in Jon Manning’s “Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter Tribe” aren’t making money.
The tribe we meet might even being losing any profits made at the door (ticket sales) by overspending on costumes, a thought that is oddly ironic. Without the nudity, these performances wouldn’t be burlesque and yet it’s the artful progression from dressed to nude that makes this entertainment.
The Glitter Tribe is about ten people performing around Portland, Oregon area: Sandria Dore the neo-classic dancer , arborist Babs Jamboree tries queer femme campy humor, twerking sensation Angelique Devil, Yet it isn’t just women. The tribe includes boylesque vaudevillian Russell Bruner and the trio Stage Door Johnnies.
Think of this documentary are more of a window into a small scene in a larger undefined picture. There’s a lot of love and confessions, but little critical or historical background here. You do feel the respect for the performers but not the reflection of what it means or if burlesque is really meaningful in this modern era. If women once worked burlesque to make money, this show burlesque as hobby-esque exhibitionistic dance. Yet few dancers or dance companies really make money so perhaps one could categorize it as performance art, ephemeral and slightly naughty with a wink and a nod to history.
“Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter Tribe” is available on Amazon Video for $2.99.