Miss Karla Joy is promising “boobies” and lots of them. If we don’t get loud, she says, something’s either wrong with us or we’re in the wrong Fiesta Room. Looking around, it’s clear that the audience, tagged with felt red hearts, is here at the El Cortez for this show, a fundraising event for the Burlesque Hall of Fame.
Joy announces the first act: the “Mother hen of Vegas Burlesque,” known as Cha Cha Velour. From a makeshift dressing area, the curvy brunette, covered in turquoise-and-white balloons, saunters onstage and, after a few seductive moves, pulls a feather quill from her hairpiece and pops them all, spewing glitter into the air. By the time she’s down to her corset and pasties, the stage (and a lucky few in the front row) sparkle from the mess. And so begins VarieTease, a fundraiser for the Burlesque Hall of Fame, highlighting some of Las Vegas’ best teasers: Renea’ Le Roux (“The Southern Belle from Hell”): Miss Charlamay, a phenomenally talented burlesque contortionist; Vi Vacious (“Vegas’ Voluptuous Vixen”); Ivy L’vine, sashaying in a green sequined outfit; comedian World Famous Brett; and finally Dusty Summers, aka Las Vegas’ “only nude magician” who teases to the song “White Bird” as live birds appear and disappear from her hands.
Amid all of this is 60-something Tiffany Carter, who knows how to tease a crowd. Of all the skin in Las Vegas, all the sequins and feathers and topless bars, this woman, “Miss Nude Universe 1975,” has the crowd on the edge of its seat. Gone is the slinky black dress she slipped out of to the song, “Me and Mrs. Jones.” Gone is the rose she pulled from her bosom and tossed into the audience. The Burlesque Hall of Fame’s first local fundraiser feels like a sizzling success.