Dita Von Teese et al ignited a burlesque resurgence a few years ago and it's both a wonderful, and dreadful thing. Burlesque is centuries old, and it was always risque... but it was never cheap which, sadly, is something it's become synonymous with. With the recent passing of Bettie Page, all we're really left with is "neo-burlesque". It means the internet is rife with cheap feather tails and tacky purple lace corsets, and the beauty and mystery of it seems to have taken a back-seat.
Len Rothe, though, has collected a myriad beautiful images of the burlesque ladies of yesteryear. Page after page of adverts, posters and cards... ideas of beauty have changed drastically in the last 50 or 60 years and I will always believe that the more natural, curvier, softer women of decades ago are so much more beautiful than today's stick-thin, massive-norked plastics. The Queens of Burlesque is a love letter to them.
This isn't pornography; it's not even pornographic - it's not all splayed limbs and come-to-bed eyes. Rather it's a beautiful glimpse at the mystery and artistry of vintage burlesque; a visual exposition of what it was before it was misappropriated and sullied. It's gorgeous and evocative, and flicking through it is enormously enjoyable whether you're a fan of American history, burlesque or vintage photography.