WAM!—as in Wine, Art and Music—may be the name of next week’s Rotary Centre for the Arts big ‘to do’, but it’s also the way a few of the performers hit their cue.
With a thud, a clash of thunder and a roar of laughter, the Cheesecake Burlesque Revue returns to Kelowna for the Spring Wine Festival, swirling and twirling their tassels in a show that intermingles with the crowd in a “all tease, no sleaze” approach to the art form.
“Everyone has a profession as well, so we are also regular ladies and I think that’s what makes us relatable,” said Champagne Sparkles, who does her interviews with the stage-name she acquired in her first burlesque seminar.
The Cheesecake Burlesque Revue, critically acclaimed and lauded by arts organizations as a party favourite wherever they are booked, was formed by Sparkles and a couple of friends in 2006.
The group took a one day workshop with Little Woo, a dancer out of Vancouver, for a birthday celebration. The burlesque bug bit the Victoria-based crew hard and they followed it up with another birthday burlesque celebration in the Lower Mainland. Soon all the pasty-fixing and tassel twirling had them spinning plans for their own troop.
The Cheesecake Burlesque Revue includes women from 20 to 40 and all different shapes and sizes, focusing on the parody aspect of the art.
Burlesque began as a form of comedic theatre used by the lower classes to mock the pastimes of the upper class, like opera and theatre. The nudity component only arrived in the late 1800s and early 1900s, gradually working from adding women onto the stage to more risqué moves like showing an ankle, a leg and eventually semi-clad or questionably clad women.
Burlesque performers became famous the world over with acts like Sally Rand, who performed under the name Billie Beck, drawing in big enough crowds with her ostrich-feather fans and nude body suit to save the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair—though it got her arrested several times in the process.
Cheesecake is only one part of WAM! The multifaceted night of entertainment and music routinely makes it’s mark as one of the hit events of the Spring Wine Festival and was to serve as a launching pad for the RCA’s new general manager, who has since relinquished the position.
The other entertainment for the evening will include the Kinshira Performance Group and world-class pianist Andrew Johns. Life drawing demonstrations and artists from Potter’s Addict, Angela Bonten, Trina Ganson, Livessence, HeART fit and the Okanagan Photo Star will be on hand. And of course, there will be wine.
This year’s selection includes tastings from House of Rose, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Tinhorn Creek, Nk’Mip Cellars, Cedar Creek Estate Winery, Quails’ Gate, 8th Generation Vineyard, La Frenz Winery, Ex Nihilo Vineyards, Tree Brewing, Okanagan Spirits—and there’s food.
Tastings will come from Delta Grand Hotel chef Stuart Klassen, Carmelis Goat Cheese, Happy Cow Catering, Poppadoms, The Chopped Leaf, Lebanese cuisine, The Village Cheese Company and Cherry Hill Coffee.
The event runs Saturday, May 12 from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $89 or six for $500 and can be purchased through Select Your Tickets.