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Burlesque Christmas

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Santa Claus likely has a better sense of morality than Tiger Woods, but if jolly old St. Nick could take a few mistresses, he'd probably go for the ladies of the Memphis Belles burlesque troupe.

Dressed in "sexy Santa" pin-up style costumes, the Belles will be promoting their latest DVD release, Carnivale in Burlesque, during the "Rockin' Sleigh Winter Wonderland" event at Otherlands on Friday, December 18th. Footage for the DVD was taped at a Memphis Belles burlesque show at the Hi-Tone Café this past summer.

While the Belles pose for Christmas photos with patrons at the event, the Bluff City Backsliders and the Side Street Steppers will turn Otherlands into a pre-World War II vaudeville version of Memphis. Both bands play jug-band music and early jazz and blues, using the ukulele, mandolin, upright bass, banjo, and kazoo.

Christian Stanfield of the Side Street Steppers builds his own banjos, and he'll have several homemade instruments for sale at the Belles' DVD-release party.

"What people seem to come away with from our shows is a sense of how timeless this material is," Stanfield says. "Jug-band music and burlesque dancers are as relevant today as they were 50 or 100 years ago — and maybe more needed now than ever."

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