Photograph by David Young

Warning: If you are an old lady, Queen Victoria, a kitten, a puppy, a baby, a person who has calendars of kittens, puppies, or babies in their office don’t read this article. There are some nice articles about child abuse and LARPing on the other pages. Go read those.

Last Saturday night, Bar Deluxe (666 S. State Street in Salt Lake) hosted a fundraiser called the Slippery Kitten Burlesque Show. Most of you are probably thinking, “Isn’t a burlesque show just a churched up way of saying strip routine?” To which we shrug and respond, “kinda.”

To explain: The term “burlesque” derives from the Latin word “burra,” meaning “trifle.” A burlesque – style show is usually a humorous bit of theatrical entertainment, characterized by parody and bizarre, sometimes grotesque exaggeration. Translation: girls wearing funny hats, sexy boots and some strategically placed pasties.


The Suicycles, a Salt Lake-area band who have a vibe akin to but more dangerous than The Smiths, warmed up the crowd. This could be a deadly-scenario: when you have the promise of scantily-clad women as the main event, an opening musical act could have easily been booed and harassed by a maddened throng just wanting you to get to the naughty bits already.

However, while the Suicycle’s set wasn’t exactly wailing horns and thumping drums traditionally associated with taking off one’s clothes on stage, they kicked off the event in the most appropriate style possible – dolled up in make-up and pretty, pretty dresses. Except for the female keyboard player. She was just dressed.

After the band packed up their gear and vacated the stage, the real show began. This is the part where you salivating dogs out there in readersville start to get excited – either because you have a yen for vicarious debauchery, or because you’re the kind of person who loves to have your Victorian sensibilities offended. But to the uninitiated, ”burlesque” is not nearly as bawdy as it sounds.  While there was plenty of stripping, there was no nudity by the Kittens, and only a smidge of accidental nudity by one of the amateurs.  However, the absence of nudity does not a PG-13 experience make. There were plenty of provocative dance moves and a plethora of costumes, from lady bears complete with ears and little round tails to fig leaves straight out of the Book of Genesis.

In a somewhat ironic twist, the proceeds that they were raising were going to purchase more costumes. While it may seem backwards to raise money for a show in which costumes aren’t worn for a long time, it makes sense – the girls do need something to start out with to eventually remove.

Are you interested in checking it out next time? Are you so shocked and appalled that you need to know where this iniquity is happening just so you can go picket it? Either way, any attention is good attention, and a person who will take off most of their clothes in public is as starved for a crowd of people as a grizzly bear is for Timothy Treadwell.

The shows are held one Saturday a month at Bar Deluxe, located at 666 S. State St., SLC. Doors open at 10 p.m. and admission is $10.