Editor’s Note: While this article is tasteful, as is the film, it does cover a semi-NSFW topic. We recommend not reading this article at your place of business.
New Wave Burlesque is a popular form of art combining the classic world of cabaret show and modern performance styles. One of the most popular places for this is Portland, Oregon. In the documentary Glitter Tribe, director and producer Jon Manning goes behind the velvet curtains to interview both female and male performers in the medium. To paraphrase the film, burlesque embraces sexuality while focusing on creativity rather than carnal aspects.
If sparkles, bangles, glitter, and glam are your thing, Glitter Tribe does not disappoint. The film highlights performers who stick to more classic routines, and some who choose to focus more on humorous numbers. The best was Babs Jamboree, a performer dressed as a burrito. Babs Jamboree is my favorite. I’ve never seen a performer go from dancing as a half fish to fish sticks in a performance before. Pure Magic, girl.
Glitter Tribe covers multiple forms of burlesque and performers. Angelique DeVil, Isaiah Esquire, Zora Von Pavonine, Babs Jamboree provide representations of multiple walks of life and performance styles.
Can we talk about the costumes and music? Blood, sweat, and tears are literally sewn in these costumes. The performers glue individual rhinestones, sew fabric sometimes until 5am, incorporate fake lashes and glitter, all while keeping their own flair. Rarely do they come out ahead on earnings at performances, meaning that this is usually a labor of love and not profit.
The music was pretty hilarious because it popped all over the place from Brittney Spears, to Lana del Rey, to multiple Flight of the Conchords songs. Oh, and of course classics like Prince’s “Darling Nikki” found their places as well.
This film most definitely is not for everyone. While it’s not anywhere near dirty, Glitter Tribe features some partial nudity and a whole lot of swearing. As one performer said, exhibiting your sexuality, “doesn’t make you stupid or subhuman.” I adore her attitude. That being said, much of the film goes behind the scenes at performances, displaying actual moves and risque costumes. There are some attitudes that are larger than life and some performers who express their struggles with drugs and alcohol off the stage. You likely won’t want to watch this one while your kids are still awake.
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