Star's Ivanhoe Village performance space is a monarch of the arts community in the neighborhood. And now, it's offering more even chances for a look at the empress – with no clothes.
Fans of the art – and those looking to spice up a night on the town – can choose from regular performances by the well-known Ladies of the Peek-a-Boo (who dance regularly at downtown’s Stardust Lounge) and now a host of artists from all over the state.
With 20 years of burlesque under her garter belt, Blue Star has opened her venue to give other performers space to shine — Photo courtesy of Yvette Waters / The Venue
“Orlando is booming with amazing burlesque groups these days. I thought it would be best suited for The Venue to give these groups the opportunity – as I had – and put them in a really cool place," says Star. "Unlike a bar setting, The Venue gives them a more theatrical place, a stage with great lighting and sound so that the show aspect is heightened.”
Indeed, the Ladies of the Peek-a-Boo Lounge (at the Stardust) have been shaking and shimmying to packed houses for seven years on First Wednesdays. This popular show is now offering First Fridays at The Venue, though the ladies will still appear downtown, as well.
Hostess Blue Star cultivates the mood with bawdy jokes and a bit of audience participation, preparing the crowd for seduction.
“My dancers are mostly trained, inspired by drag and traditional burlesque. But we add a little improv, as well.”
Performances might also include live singing.
“Whatever tickles my fancy,” she says. “Sometimes it’s themed, sometimes just a dang good show.”
The last Friday of the month brings with it performances by Big Boom Cabaret.
“They are a strong, more traditional-based burlesque group with fantastic costumes that range from sci-fi to disco.”
In between, audiences can enjoy other Orlando- and Florida-local troupes, says Star.
“These include Corsets and Cuties – a more theatre-driven group – to Orlando’s Skill Focus to Lakeland’s Moxie Le Femme to Black Diamond Burlesque. All capture different audiences but are sure to be enjoyed by everyone.”
Performances generally run 90 minutes to two hours with an intermission. Ticket prices vary, as well, but generally range from $12 to $25 for VIP. (Perks typically include preferred seating and a glass of champagne.)
The Venue’s on-site cocktail bar allows for pre- and post-show cocktails, but Star is nothing if not a proponent of local business.
“Don’t be afraid to see Ivanhoe!” she says. “We have wonderful places to eat like Santiago’s Bodega and, of course, our favorite dive bar across the street: The Hideaway.”
Yes, burlesque may be all the rage.
“But obviously, it’s been around for years," notes Star. "It is a liberating art form, classy and tastefully done – and a way to lose your inhibitions, be entertained and celebrate beautiful bodies, music and costumes. Some performers give you more of a story, some dance to no end. But either way, it’s something that anyone can enjoy!”