When the Saskatchewan government made changes to the liquor laws awhile back to allow licensed dance performances with clothing removal and the possibility of some nudity most of the attention focused on strip clubs. But from an arts perspective, one of the big beneficiaries (at least potentially) was the several burlesque clubs that have begun operating in the province in the past few years.
Burlesque has a long and storied tradition as a theatrical art form that, in addition to providing titillation for audiences, also offers humour and social commentary. But because it generally involves a degree of clothing removal, burlesque was lumped in with stripping as far as liquor regulations went so any performances that were mounted in the province had to be unlicensed. That meant audiences couldn’t enjoy a glass of wine or beer with their entertainment, which made it hard for the companies to hold successful events at popular venues.
Even with the new liquor regs in place, municipal authorities are still dithering about the distinction between burlesque and stripping, and under proposed zoning amendments in Regina anyway, are considering restricting licensed burlesque shows to the industrial area to protect the delicate sensibilities of Regina citizens.
On Friday, the Bottoms Up Burlesque troupe is holding a Roaring ’20s themed show complete with gangsters, molls and speakeasies at the Artesian on 13th at 7:30 p.m. Because the zoning situation is still up in the air, this will be a dry show, which ties in nicely with the prohibition theme, but will probably leave the organizers and audience alike a little peeved. It’s also an adults only show. Tickets are $20 advance and $25 at the door.