A Half-Century Half-Undressed: Celebrating 50 Years of the Burlesque Hall of Fame

A Half-Century Half-Undressed

For 50 years, there has been a Burlesque Hall of Fame to tell the story of burlesque. Started in 1965 by Exotic Dancers League founder and president Jennie Lee, the Burlesque Hall of Fame has always served two functions: to remember and celebrate burlesque’s history, and to inspire new generations to make the art their own and carry its story into the future.

Jennie Lee displayed the collection in her bar, the┬áSassy Lassy, and then in her home, before moving it to Helendale, CA in the 1980s. On her death in 1990, the collection’s care passed to Dixie Evans, who ran the museum — now called Exotic World — until 2006. Dixie’s openness and natural enthusiasm made Exotic World a mecca for a new generation of performers in the 1990s, performers who would launch the burlesque revival that continues to this day.

Today, the museum stands in Las Vegas but we continue to honor the legacy of Jennie Lee and Dixie Evans. Presented here are some of the highlights of our collection, pieces collected by Jennie or by Dixie or by the collection’s more recent curators. This is the fruit of efforts begun a half-century ago. The artifacts on display represent many eras of burlesque and many individual’s stories, but together they also tell a singular story, the story of the enduring attraction of burlesque as art and as entertainment perfectly suited to its age.

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