YAY Brag did a small photo spread of the Notorious Bettie Page movie – burlesque launch! Obviously that’s me Centre Bottom pic, with my hands tied and Tanya preparing to whip me – Ouch!
You can also read an article about the night, that Tanya and I were interviewed for (Me = Gidget, Tanya = Tulsa [our stage names] or the scantily clad redhead & pretty blonde girl) here:
Chauvel crowd treated to night of burlesque entertainment
A pretty blonde girl is kneeling over to be spanked by a scantily clad redhead dressed in a black lace corset, fish-net stockings and suspenders in front of an amused audience. The scene has the makings of a raunchy adult film but instead it’s being played out in the much tamer lounge of the Chauvel Cinema in Paddington for the premiere of the film, The Notorious Bettie Page.
Since it’s reopening in mid 2006, the Chauvel Cinema (now part of Palace Cinemas) has revamped and seeks to provide movie-goers with a unique cinema experience.
“Our programming is really unique and we try to hold as many events as possible,” the Chauvel Cinema’s general manager, Courtney Botfield said. “We want to make going to the cinema a fun experience again.”
The Chauvel hosted a burlesque-themed drinks prior to the screening of The Notorious Bettie Page on Thursday night, with complimentary glasses of champagne and risqué forms of entertainment on hand, including a strutting balloon-popping dancer. Almost 150 people attended the premiere, with many dressed in 1950s or burlesque attire.
The Notorious Bettie Page, directed by Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol, American Psycho) is based on the story of iconic pin-up girl, Bettie Page starring Gretchen Mol.
Page, with a trademark black fringe and naughty girl-next-door persona was a modelling icon in the 1950s and was voted Miss Pinup Girl of the World in 1955. She also posed for a number of infamous fetishistic modelling photos, most with a bondage or sadomasochistic theme, making her the first famous bondage model. Her provocative photographs violated all manner of sexual taboos and finally invoked a United States Senate Committee investigation.
“Bettie Page appeals to a diverse audience. She was naughty but innocent and what she did back then was groundbreaking and risqué. She would do full nudity and restraint in photography but she never thought what she was doing was wrong and she was extremely religious,” Botfield said, “She would say, ‘I’m Bettie, this is what I did and I’m proud’.”
Although Page’s fetish photographs were disapproved by some, she amassed a cult following particularly in the 1980s and 1990s when comic book creator Dave Stevens based the female love interest of his hero, Cliff Secord, ‘The Rocketeer’, on Page. She has since inspired a number of burlesque-style models including Dita Von Teese and Bernie Dexter.
Tulsa and Gidget were two of the burlesque performers, from agencies Belladonnas de lux and Coco de mer respectively, who performed at the Chauvel on Thursday night. They believe burlesque empowers women: “It’s us choosing to show you what we want to show you. It can feel quite powerful,” said Tulsa.
“It’s not risqué in the sense of say pole dancing,” adds Gidget. “It’s much more theatrical and vaudeville. It’s a different style of performing. It’s not just about getting up on stage and taking your clothes off, it’s about telling a story and entertaining people in the audience.”
Indeed in the film, Page when asked about her photographic pursuits retorts, “Adam and Eve were naked in the garden. It was only when they sinned that they put on clothes.”
The Notorious Bettie Page is now showing at The Chauvel Cinema in Paddington. See www.chauvelcinema.net.au/ for more details.