The Velvet Hammer Burlesque

Maintaining an entertainment tradition that their grandmothers shrank from even acknowledging, the hip chicks of L.A.-based revue the Velvet Hammer Burlesque twirl their tassels and shake their martinis for no one but themselves. Augusta's docu mixes performance footage, staged skits, behind-the-scenes interviews and miscellany into a fun package that should amuse Cocktail Nation types and other ironic nostalgists.

Cast:
With: Michelle Carr, Rita D'Albert, Teri Geary, Annie Sperling, Halle Pickering, Pleasant Gehman, Hope Urban, Selene Luna, Melissa Duke, Dionne Barens, Kate Valentine, Linda Martini, etc.

Proudly maintaining an entertainment tradition that their grandmothers likely shrank from even acknowledging, the hip chicks of L.A.-based revue the Velvet Hammer Burlesque twirl their tassels and shake their martinis for no one but themselves. Mono-monicker’d Augusta’s docu mixes performance footage, staged skits, behind-the-scenes interviews and colorful miscellany into a fun package that should amuse Cocktail Nation types and other ironic nostalgists. Direct DVD sales rep likeliest commercial destination.

For several years, “neo-burlesque” troupe VHB has performed in theatrical venues to raucous audiences. Allowing “no fake body parts,” their “pre-lapdance stripping” emphasizes creative expression and sheer esprit — not hard-bodied perfection. Thus there’s room for myriad torso types (from the zaftig to a genetic “little person”) in routines that are elaborately costumed and often retro-kitschy. For variety, well-edited pic offers intertitled “chapters” addressing important questions (“How much glitter do you eat in a year?”); spotlights the vaudevillian show’s intentionally awful comics (“Booing and I go back a long way,” one boasts); plus stand-alone miniatures like a mock 1930s musical short subject and B&W drive-in spoof “Attack of the 50 Foot Stripper.”

The Velvet Hammer Burlesque

Production: An It's a Chick Prods. presentation. Produced, directed, edited by Augusta.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Augusta, Don Spiro; music, the Millionaire, Eban Schletter, Kristian Hoffman, Anthony Sunseri. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, June 25, 2004. (In San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.) Running time: 84 MIN.

With: With: Michelle Carr, Rita D'Albert, Teri Geary, Annie Sperling, Halle Pickering, Pleasant Gehman, Hope Urban, Selene Luna, Melissa Duke, Dionne Barens, Kate Valentine, Linda Martini, etc.

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