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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Things, 3 Mar. 2009
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This review is from: Pretty Things: The Last Generation of American Burlesque Queens: The Last Golden Generation of American Burlesque Queens (Hardcover)
This hefty volume presents archive material likely to be useful to anyone researching the costumes and style of classic burlesque; the drawings and photos taken by designers themselves are of particular interest. Much of the book adopts a scrapbook format and the many backstage and publicity shots evoke the nostalgic glamour of the era. As the text points out however,some of the documentation here is the only proof some of these performers ever existed; it brings home the transience of fame achieved within a branch of theatrical performance, first persecuted by a conservative society then washed away by the liberal backlash that made its artistry redundant. Goldwyn admits in her summation that her naieve perceptions were changed by her research; there are some sad stories told here and the seedy side of the business is not ignored.
Despite the colourful subject matter the book is quite monochromatic; there are colour images but they are for the most part subdued lending an elegiac feel to the presentation, appropriate for the tone of the book perhaps? It is a shame Goldwyn`s documentary film of the same title has not yet been released on DVD - very remiss of HBO.
If you are at all interested in burlesque this is a book you will want - material like this is not easy to come by and although it deals mainly with the specific group of performers Goldwyn met it is a valuable window into a lost world. If you can afford it, buy it.
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Location: Glasgow, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 186