"A unique, indulgent experience. Super glamorous, classic burlesque." Velvetina Taylor is trying to describe the evenings she's cooking up for Memphis this spring and summer. With a name like that, of course she's a dancer herself, as well as a "motorcycle enthusiast and producer, based in New York City," as her website notes. Starting tonight, she's setting up shop at Mollie Fontaine's Lounge and Restaurant, and bringing other dancers from far and wide, for "Velvetina's Blue Moon Revue."
Of course, one can't surpass the sumptuous interiors of Mollie's for indulgent decadence, and it's a wonder that the place hasn't hosted more burlesque on a regular basis. Because a real honest-to-god piano lives there, singers and players have been a fixture there for years. But as of now, the venue is upping the ante considerably, with a leap into dinner theater.
"I wanted the setting to match the costumes and the overall feel that this would a special night out," says Taylor. "Mollie Fontaine Lounge couldn't have been a better fit for the show. Karen Carrier's menu and eclectic decor contribute beautifully to the evening of exquisite burlesque entertainment and provide the ideal, intimate space for the live Memphis music to be enjoyed."
Amy Lavere, Will Sexton and Shawn Zorn will be the house band for all of the April shows, with other players being recruited for subsequent months. While none of the acts typically accompany burlesque, their main focus will be doing the history of Memphis music justice. "Karen was my connection to the Memphis music scene and suggested Will and Amy would be the perfect fit, with a repertoire of classic Beale Street songs and contemporary Memphis music. I'm so lucky to have them!" Taylor enthused.
And with the rotating musical performers, Taylor will be recruiting a diverse roster of dancers to fill out the nights as the summer progresses. "Burlesque performers will be coming in from all over the country, just to perform here in Memphis," she says. "I liked the idea of bringing national acts that I know and love, that have only ever performed in nearby cities, like Nashville, Chicago and New Orleans, to Memphis for the first time. I'm so excited to combine all of the elements of the show, including live local Memphis musicians."
Keep the Flyer Free!
Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.