Burlesque has been enjoying a modern renaissance over the last decade. And as burlesque shows have become staples of nearly every major city, the Music Farm is presenting a brand new performance that just may become a Charleston essential: Hush Hush Burlesqueproduced by venerated burlesque performer Evelyn Devere.
It’s been almost a decade since Dever last produced a Holy City burlesque show. Her Ménage à Trois Burlesque and Carnivalesque shows, which had formerly been presented at various Charleston locations including The Tin Roof, The Royal American and Threshold Repertory Theater, ended in 2014. She then started running her touring show, Wham Bam Glitter Glam, which toured all over the East Coast. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 brought an abrupt end to her ability to perform live. Then she got a call.
“Charles Carmody, who now is managing the local programming for Music Farm, contacted me out of the blue,” Devere said. The two knew each other from Carmody’s days at Redux, where Devere had booked a few burlesque shows. Music Farm’s recent renovations and reopening has Carmody looking to bring more local arts to the venue.
Building an entire production — costumes, casting, music, choreography and promotion — can burn anyone out. Carmody’s help in these aspects is what Devere said is making Hush Hush worthwhile.
“Honestly, this is the only way that I would be putting on a new show,” she said. “To have that kind of venue support behind me — having the resources of the Music Farm to help with things like promotion has made bringing Hush Hush Burlesque to life much easier.”
For Hush Hush, Devere is looking to bring some of the best regional burlesque performers to Charleston. The May 4 show will feature Jack N Tha Cox from Savannah, Puppie Buffé from Wilmington and Mecca Mwah from Charlotte, with Devere herself also performing. Each of the artists will perform two sets, which are typically three-five minutes long.
Simplicity of concept is a big part of Devere’s burlesque philosophy. Each artist is encouraged to perform whatever they like without needing to adhere to any particular unifying theme. “There are a lot of burlesque shows that are themed shows, which can be really specific or really broad,” she said. “And I really prefer to showcase a wide variety of acts and artists. I always tell everyone to just do whatever act you feel best about right now and you’re excited about. I think that just creates a really good quality show where everyone is showcasing what makes them special and entertaining to watch.”
Puppie Buffé has been performing burlesque since 2008. She’s looking forward to bringing her Elvira and Alice Cooper-inspired acts to the Music Farm. “I believe this will be my first time performing in Charleston and I’m thrilled!” said Buffé. “I’m sure the Hush Hush revue will be a huge success and I’m excited to show Charleston that burlesque can be more than feather boas and tassel twirling.”
“Burlesque is about being your own superhero,” said Jack N Tha Cox, who also works as a nude figure model for an art college. “Every burlesque show is a chance to make history. We’re performers at the top of our game doing what we love and showing some skin.”
The burlesque art form has truly taken off in the last decade, though differing opinions nowadays as to what actually constitutes burlesque. Shows can be anything from traditional strip teases to humorous send-ups of movies like Star Wars and Ghostbusters.
“I really like to present a full spectrum of what is available,” said Devere. “From the classic-jazz, sparkles, lots of tease — that kind of stuff — to stuff that’s more humorous and silly. There’s gonna be something for everyone.”
Devere says she’s also excited to bring some adult entertainment to the heart of downtown. With an 8 pm show geared directly towards adults, she reckons Hush Hush is just the jolt of sinful energy the Holy City needs.
Hush Hush is also presented by Guilty Pleasures, 2021 Best of Charleston winner for favorite local adult toy store. The store will be providing some neat treats for a raffle to be given away during the show.
Devere said she hopes Hush Hush will become an ongoing, monthly Music Farm feature. She’s also excited to expose a host of burlesque performers from other regions to Charleston audiences. Pun very much intended.
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