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Baltimore Burlesque as Art Form in "Workin’ The Tease," April 22–May 7

Live Performance, Exhibition Examine Evolution of Baltimore’s Burlesque Genres

Posted 03.18.14 by MICA Communications

Sean Scheidt, "Short Staxx," "Burlesque" series, digital photography.

BALTIMORE--MICA's Exhibition Development Seminar (EDS) presents Workin' the Tease: The Art of Baltimore Burlesque, an exhibition celebrating burlesque as an art form that combines slapstick humor, dance and body spectacle strip tease. From Tuesday, April 22-Wednesday, May 7 at The Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric (140 W. Mount Royal Ave.), Workin' the Tease will look at burlesque's rich history in Baltimore through live performance and more than 70 historical and contemporary artifacts. Receptions will take place Tuesday, April 22, 5-9 p.m., with a performance at 7 p.m.; and Wednesday, May 7, 5-7 p.m.

"EDS is excited to work with the Modell Lyric to return burlesque to the opera house stage," said Niamh Doherty, EDS co-curator and class spokesperson. "This show celebrates the evolution of Baltimore's unique burlesque performance tradition by tracing its history from the Golden Age [in the early 20th century] to contemporary practice."

Visitors can discover burlesque's evolution over the decades-from the early 20th century, when the section of East Baltimore Street known as "The Block" was home to a thriving burlesque club scene, to recent decades in which a vibrant underground culture formed after the fading of burlesque's mass appeal during midcentury. Performers, such as Paco Fish, Short Staxx and Tapitha Kix, will provide some of the exhibited artifacts, which will include costumes, pasties, accessories, calling cards and posters from the Globe Poster Printing Corporation, now part of MICA's collection. Workin' the Tease will also feature new work from local photographer Sean Scheidt who is photographing the performers in the exhibition and the Best of Baltimore opening night event.

EDS invites the public to take part in the following Workin' the Tease programming:
Undressing Baltimore
Thursday, April 17, 4-6 p.m.
MICA's Brown Center: Falvey Hall, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave.
In this panel discussion, local burlesque performers give valuable insight into the theories that inspire their performances and the ways in which they use their bodies to tell stories. Audience members are invited to ask questions and get to know the performers as artists and everyday Baltimore residents.

Best of Baltimore
Tuesday, April 22, 5-9 p.m., performance at 7 p.m.
Modell Lyric, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave.
An opening night reception and performance will pay homage to past and current performers on the Modell Lyric opera stage and showcase some of the city's local talent. This live performance, featuring new and never-before-seen acts, will follow a traditional burlesque performance model, featuring an emcee and individual acts that capture the distinctive spirit of the city's burlesque scene. Performances will include forms such as queerlesque (burlesque performed by a member of the LGBTQ community), boylesque (burlesque performed by a male), classical, sideshow and acrobatic burlesques.

Globe Poster Collection: New Perspective on Baltimore Burlesque
Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
MICA's Dolphin Building: PR 201, 100 Dolphin St.
This program welcomes participants to learn about Baltimore's printing history and historical burlesque posters while printing their own. Held in MICAʼs own Dolphin Building, which hosts materials from the Globe Poster Printing Corporation, this workshop allows for participants to design their own dance/burlesque poster through a contemporary perspective.

EDS is a yearlong MICA course in which students examine the curatorial process by working collaboratively with the assistance of professional mentors to research, plan and produce a major exhibition.

Workin' the Tease and its programming are free and open to the public. Exhibition hours are: Tuesday, April 22, 5-9 p.m.; Thursday, April 24, Monday, April 28 and Friday, May 2, 12:30-4:30 p.m.; and Wednesday, April 30, Monday, May 5 and Wednesday, May 7, 5-7 p.m.

Although every effort is made to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the EDS-produced Workin' the Tease: The Art of Baltimore Burlesque press details, information does sometimes change. For the most up-to-date visitor information, visit workinthetease.com and "like" the Facebook event page at facebook.com/WorkinTheTease.

A catalog is scheduled to be available during the run of the exhibition.

Creative license is encouraged at MICA, though it is important to note that exhibitions developed by students and independent artists do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the College.

EDS would like to thank the Friends of EDS for their generous support.

MICA's exhibitions are supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities.

Image caption: Sean Scheidt, Short Staxx, Burlesque series, digital photography.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.