Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Rhinestone Follies Burlesque Show



After a disappointing evening spent at last year’s New York City Burlesque Festival (reviewed here), I decided to skip the show for 2011. That said, however, I still felt a need for my enjoyment of old-time burlesque shows to be sated – thankfully here in New York, I can turn to the delightful gals who make up The Rhinestone Follies. In fact, you might almost title this post, “How I Spent My Summer Stay-cation” because I wound up spending quite a few Friday evenings this past summer attending their show in downtown Manhattan.

I first learned of their shows at the outset of summer by seeing one of their advertisements in The Village Voice; sounding like a cool idea at a reasonable price, I headed down to The R Bar on The Bowery at my first opportunity.

The performances by the entertainers of The Rhinestone Follies can range from fun to infuriating.  Unfortunately, individual acts can sometimes be a little inconsistent, but at these prices, they are definitely worth trying; even if you don't like parts of the show you saw on a given evening, you’ll still find enough worthy of sincerely enthusiastic applause.  As an example of this inconsistency, one night, in the midst of an otherwise sexy and exciting show, there was a gay couple that performed the most ponderous routine of the entire evening and one which we probably all could’ve done without. Given that the performers seem to vary from show to show, it can then turn into a bit of a pot luck of hodgepodge acts – so you may need to be a bit patient at times. 

To give the performers a bit of a break, there are contests interspersed, hosted by the goofball Master of Ceremonies.  Audience members can win prizes -- occasionally of questionable value – but the contests themselves can at least be fun, even if your only participation is as an audience member rather than a contestant.

These shows are generally populated with a spirited, playful crowd ready for a party and proud to celebrate the qualities of feminine beauty -- all in all, not a bad way to spend a Friday night.   The three core girls of The Rhinestone Follies -- Hazel Honeysuckle, Beelzebabe and Kita St. Cyr -- are luscious and each has an absolutely delicious body, extremely shapely and fit, adding to their desirability.  In short, with an extensive menu of pulchritude on display, there’s plenty for all tastes to enjoy and appreciate and admire. 

A little something about the venue, just because it could influence your decision on going: The R Bar is located at 218 Bowery in lower Manhattan, not far from Spring Street. This place has "Dive" written all over it -- which is not to say that it's a bad thing.  As a matter of fact, the environment even kinda fits in with the old-style burlesque atmosphere.  Just be aware that you will not be seeing this show in a theater or nightclub – rather, it’s a somewhat seedy bar located in a somewhat seedy part of town; R Bar has a stage in the back with a separate bar where, I’m given to understand, bands sometimes play when the ecdysiasts aren’t performing.

The price of the show is quite reasonable – under $20 – although it appears to vary; there were some nights when I got in for only $10 and others where I was required to pay $15. There are no tickets, they just mark up the back of your hand as proof of payment. Before 10PM, most drinks are sold at something of a discount; the show usually ends prior to that time though, leaving you a few minutes for a last round before the prices increase.

In addition to their Web site (see link above), The Rhinestone Follies may be followed on both Twitter and Facebook

This video is an excerpt from the show – their standard finale, a fan dance performed to Billy May’s “Charmaine”.


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