“We celebrate an era that is gone, but not forgotten,” a red-sequined Dixie Evans once said of her Exotic World Museum in Vegas. Known as both the “Marilyn Monroe of burlesque” and, later, the “grandmother of burlesque,” Evans — whose style informed the work of modern marvel Dita Von Teese — died on Aug. 3, leaving an underground of garters flying at half mast. In celebration and tribute, Aug. 26 to Sept. 1 has been designated Dixie Evans Week, and Philly-based burlesque troupe Peek-A-Boo Revue is paying respect with their own two-day party.
The mid-century starlet honed her craft on working-class stages where she quickly got noticed for her resemblance to Monroe. Evans soon changed her show to an ongoing parody of the silver-screen sex kitten’s most famous roles. “If you couldn’t meet the real Marilyn, you could come to the burlesque and meet me,” she once told the New York Times. The busty blonde didn’t stop there, spending her later years curating the Exotic World Museum (later known as the Burlesque Hall of Fame) and Miss Exotic World Pageant.
Honoring Evans’ sexy spirit makes perfect sense for her indirect descendents at Peek-A-Boo Revue. They’ll start with a Evans-centric show on Aug. 31, featuring special guests Lil Steph (a “criminally cute” dancer) and Lobstar Bisque from the queer and kinky cabaret group Liberty City Kings. They’ll be strutting their stuff in Monrovian fashion with the rest of the Boo brigade.
For those who tend more toward the exhibitionist, on Sept. 1, Peek-A-Boo will offer a tribute burlesque class in the vein of Miss Evan’s platinum-blonde shimmy-shake. The company’s own starlet, Ginger Leigh, will lead a one-hour dance clinic. Put on your longest lashes and prettiest pout and channel your inner burlesque goddess.
Show, Sat., Aug. 31, 8 p.m., $15, Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., undergroundarts.org; class, Sun., Sep. 1, noon-1 p.m., $15, 2400 E. Cumberland St, peekaboorevue.com.