POSTER_72The art of burlesque has experienced a new renaissance, but for years it was vilified and misunderstood and for the most part left out of cultural history. Now comes a feature documentary Behind the Burly Q, which offers an affectionate look back at the golden age of burlesque – America’s most popular form of live entertainment in the first half of the 20th century.

Directed by Leslie Zemeckis, Behind the Burly Qreveals the true story of burlesque by telling the intimate and surprising stories from its golden age through the women (and men) who lived it. Featuring dozens of interviews with performers, musicians and authors including actor Alan Alda, whose father Robert Alda was a handsome “tit singer” and a straight man, Nat Bodian, journalist who wrote and saw burlesque at the Empire in Newark in the Thirties and Lorraine Lee, who used to dance for Bonnie and Clyde and Pretty Boy Floyd and “earned a quarter”.

Tempest Storm, who still performs today and claims to have been lovers with Elvis and JFK, the notorious Blaze Starr, who escaped a life of poverty to rise to the heights of fame, and became involved with Governor Long and Kitty West, aka Evangelina the Oyster Girl, the Bourbon Street star, who entertained busloads of tourists as she “came out of her oyster are also included.

Filmmaker Leslie Zemeckis is a veteran of stage and film.  She is the creator of the one-woman burlesque-inspired show, “Staar: She’s Back and Mistresser Than Ever!” that has been performed at various clubs throughout Los Angeles garnering audience acclaim. 

For more info and showing dates go to

One Response

  1. Gloria

    Loved the Burly Q post and have ordered the book and DVD. Really interesting and moving female history. I am also interested in the history of black burlesque performers and came across this book on Amazon which looks interesting :
    I will also purchase this. I also have some DVD compilations of female performers in Harlem in the 1940s and 1950s. I love everything on this site and get ‘lost’ for hours! Keep up the good vintage work 🙂