Step right up, folks. Behind this curtain you’ll find wonders beyond your imagination. See the stars of the midcentury girl show! Learn about the Black revues! Find out how burlesque dancers lived on the road! And watch your wallets, you never know when someone will try to take you for a ride!
That’s right, it’s Bump & Grind Beneath the Big Top: Burlesque in Circuses, Carnivals, and Fairs, the latest online exhibition from The Burlesque Hall of Fame.
Bump & Grind Beneath the Big Top explores the world of the midcentury girl show and the women who made it happen. From the unknown performers of the bally to the biggest stars of the burlesque world, circuses, carnivals, and fairs provided a reliable stage where big money could be made. But it could also be grueling work, with a dozen shows (or more!) a day beneath the hot summer sun and none of the comforts of home for months on end.
The world of the girl show is burlesque in a microcosm – the flim-flam artistry of the talkers and the candy butchers, the segregated stages and audiences, the grifters working the crowd, and of course, above it all, the blaring neon and the audience’s call.