Friday, September 17, 2010


Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for years. It is the best of holidays, in my opinion, because all you have to do is cook, eat, and presents to buy or worry about taking back, no tree to decorate or lights to put up. Just and more food and the knowledge that the day after one can go out in the craziness that is "Black Friday" and shop 'til you drop. But this Thanksgiving just got better because it is on Thanksgiving Day that what might be the "gayest" film of the year, perhaps decade, is released. Starring Cher, Christina Aquilera, Alan Cumming, and Stanley Tucci it couldn't get much gayer, unless Bette Midler, Celine, Gaga, or Liza make cameos. And conversations about the film have already that it is going to be gay, it might turn people gay as expressed by Gawker and Defamer notes that this might be the advent of the "new gay Christmas".

And so it is with gaiety that I myself am anxiously awaiting the arrival of such a wonderful present. Before then though, I want to think about Burlesque rather quickly and perhaps rather crudely. Burlesque, by definition, is a type of theatrical entertainment - humorous - that is parodic and highly exaggerated. It does not seek to be "real" but to parody the dignified and respectable, providing one might think a social commentary. It's etymology is itself from, depending on one's dictionary the Italian burlesco "to jest" or the Spanish burla "to joke." Burlesque then is a joke, a jest, it mocks solemn subjects.

Of course, I have not seen the film yet...but from the commentary I have read, it seems that Burlesque is already doing it's job. Some have commented that it looks so bad, it will be great. Others that it might be the "campiest" film this year. From the brief preview, the film is already performing "burlesque". It is a pastiche of characters with the legend that is Cher, a gay icon with a rising star X-tina, a new gay icon struggling at first to only become pals. And it performs Burlesque at the meta-level while performing Burlesque on the literal filmic screen. We see Burlesque and our very comments about how that Burlesque is being represented expose that perhaps the joke is on us or hopefully with us. Burlesque does not seek to be taken seriously (although it is a serious form of theatrical performance that takes talent and practice) but in doing so provokes and provides commentary and aesthetic enjoyment.

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