Every year in downtown Las Vegas, often called “Old Vegas,” The Burlesque Hall of Fame reunion brings together members of the League of Exotic Dancers, one of the earliest unions for women in exotic entertainment, to perform their half-century-old routines. In this annual tradition, performers from the golden age of Vegas burlesque rally counter-culture neo-burlesque fans who both keep the tradition alive and add new meaning to it.
Over the past four years, documentarian Kaitlyn Regehr and photographer Matilda Temperley have embedded themselves within this community-a group, which like Old Vegas itself, continues to survive and thrive sixty years past its supposed prime. Here, in a smoky, off-strip casino, they found women, at times well into their 80s, subversively bumping and grinding away preconceptions about appropriate behavior for a pensioner.
This collection of interviews and photographs is drawn from the backstage dressing rooms, homes, and lives of this aging burlesque community, as well as the young neo-burlesque community who adore them. The authors present an inter-generational sisterhood that is both unique and socially significant.
Through a range of experiences-from discussing struggles for wage equality, to helping stabilize an 85 year old as she steps into a sequined g-string-the authors describe the complexity of the lives of these performers and the burlesque history from which they come. Regehr and Temperley present multidimensional portraits of this community and conclude that they are at their most vital when read with all the nuances, troubles, trials, and triumphs that they formerly and currently experience.