As a central part of American entertainment life for a century-and-a-half, burlesque history is deeply interwoven with the history of almost every decent-sized community in the United States. But because burlesque has often been maligned as a disreputable part of social life, and because the major players in burlesque’s history have been mostly working class, women, ethnic minorities, or all three, it’s not always easy to uncover the role burlesque has played in the history of local communities.
In this video, our director, Dustin M. Wax, walks you through some of the places you can track down the history of burlesque where you live. Now is an especially good time to look into your local burlesque history, as libraries and archives around the country are opening up free online access in response to COVID-19 social distancing rules. While in-person access to your local archives is invaluable, there is a surprising amount of research you can do remotely — more than enough to open up a fascinating perspective on your local community and its architecture.
Watch it now!