Friday, November 5, 2010

It Takes a Legend to Make a Star: The World of Burlesque

One of the more intriguing holiday releases is the musical drama Burlesque which hits theaters Thanksgiving weekend (November 24th). Starring the timeless Cher and mega voice pop star Christina Aguilera, the costumes, choreography and musical performances should be worth the price of admission alone.

Aguilera plays a small town girl who heads to Los Angeles to follow her dreams. She stumbles upon the Burlesque Lounge where she finds work as a cocktail waitress only to yearn to sing and dance with the musical revue. Cher plays the proprietor and headliner, Julianne Hough from Dancing with the Stars as one of the dancers and reliable sidekick actor Stanley Tucci plays the sharp-witted stage manager.

Aguilera eventually makes her way from the bar to the stage and helps restore the Burlesque Lounge to its former glory. Sets were designed by Jon Gary Steele (who gave us those wonderful interiors in Cruel Intentions) and costumes by Michael Kaplan. Here's hoping the movie is more Chicago and less Showgirls.

Tucci and Cher


No stranger to over the top costumes, Cher's collaboration with designer Bob Mackie over the years could fit right in with burleque costumes of the golden age.

Seventies Cher: Headress by  Bob Mackie

Cher's appearance at the 1986 Oscars remains one of red carpet history

Mackie's drawings for Cher 

Modern day Cher: Mackie's costumes for her Caesars Palace show in Las Vegas

And if you'd like to read about the world of burlesque, I recommend author Liz Goldwyn's Pretty Things: The Last Generation of American Burlesque Queens (Harper Collins). The book is a fascinating retrospective of the original queens of burlesque's golden age, back in the day when it was considered an art form. Goldwyn is also a filmmaker and her documentary Pretty Things appeared on HBO in 2005.

Note: If you are in Los Angeles this weekend and interested in film history -- or a fan of the cult favorite Planet of the Apes -- the 1968 thriller where primates ruled the world will be screened along with a panel discussion with the film's production designer William Creber, actor Lou Wagner and make-up artist Daniel Striepeke (Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan) on Sunday, November 7th, 5:00 pm at the Darryl F. Zanuck Theater, 20th Century Fox Studios, 10201 West Pico Blvd in Los Angeles. Hollywood Escapes co-author Harry Medved will serve as moderator. For more information go here.

The Ape Village was filmed at Malibu State Creek Park. Amazing transformation!

Photo Credits:  Screen Gems, New York Daily News, Bob Mackie, Harper Collins, Malibu State Park Docents


  1. I love the gorgeous outfits.Cher is wacky but brilliant...

  2. I agree. One thing for Cher, she is always entertaining to watch both on and off screen.

  3. this is fabulous. Cher is outrageous. I'm a little weary about this new movie though (because of Aguilera, not Cher).