on 21 February 2007
This is a beautiful book and would make a gorgeous present or look good on your coffee table- the cover itself is lovely. It is packed full of amazing pictures of burlesque queens and their costumes with great detail- copies of photos, handwritten notes and scraps of material. My only criticism is that the author sometimes appears quite naive and narcissistic- with a few photos of herself wearing the queens costumes- why? Apart from this it is a very sumptuous, glamorous, escapist book that you can loose yourself in.
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.
on 10 September 2013
There is nothing bad to be said about this book. Looks beautiful on the outside, looks beautiful on the inside. Everything from the paper, ink and writing quality of this book is perfect. Don't hesitate the buy it, I can't imagine such a person who would regret purchasing this book even exists.
on 23 September 2011
I received this book as a Christmas gift and I adore it. With dozens of photographs and copies of original vintage costume sketches as well as a burlesque 'family tree' marking who worked with whom, who were friends and who were rivals, and plenty of anecdotes and stories from the Queens, this book is so inspiring and really brings the Golden Age of American Burlesque to life.