Other, arguably less fashionable locales get it, Ms. Pontani pointed out.
“We take our show to Lincoln, Neb., and everything’s fine,” she said. “We’ll play Madison, Wis., and everybody there is familiar with it. Guess that doesn’t say much about downtown. Yikes!”
The timing of Mr. Kane’s bitter rejection is also striking, given the recent resurgence of interest in the old vaudeville genre. “I think burlesque in New York is hotter now than it’s ever been,” Ms. Pontani said. “There are new clubs opening everywhere.”
Less than a mile away from the proposed Forty Deuce location on Kenmare, in fact, sits Corio, a swanky, 2,000-square-foot supper theater and lounge, located at West Broadway and Grand Street, which is barely a year old. Like Forty Deuce, the venue takes its name from Manhattan’s rich burlesque history, specifically Ann Corio, who in 1965 famously launched the Broadway show “This Was Burlesque,” an ode to the Manhattan bawdy scene prior to Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s 1939 crackdown. The show ran again during the 1980’s.
On Oct. 5, a revival of that revival, titled “This Is Burlesque,” opens at Corio.
The timing seems only appropriate, given the controversy that the genre has created yet again, courtesy of Mr. Kane.
“The city, as it does every once in a while, decides that these places are black sheep that they’re going to put out of business,” says Corio owner Adam Jacobs, who’s often visited Mr. Kane’s Hollywood club. “It’s a very classy act compared to a lot of things I’ve seen in New York,” he said.
The critics’ focus on the risqué element of Mr. Kane’s proposed club, however, may be more of a scare tactic, employed by the old-fogey lobby to strengthen its typical complaints about noise, trash and traffic. The growing anti-bar-sprawl sentiment in downtown Manhattan makes opening any nightclub, skimpy-clad dancers or not, a daunting proposition.
“Maybe Ivan should consider opening a Forty Deuce in Brooklyn,” suggested Ms. Pontani.
On Monday night, Williamsburg’s Galapagos Art Space staged its weekly amateur burlesque show. A throng of primarily young hipsters turned out for the bizarre variety show, which included performances from a belly dancer, a midget, a machine-gun-wielding clown and a woman dressed as a character from Ghostbusters who shed her uniform down to movie-logoed pasties and climactically yanked green slime out of her G-string.
It’s a show that even the 60 Minutes demographic can appreciate.
Sitting at the bar, dressed in an orange sweater and khaki pants, 64-year-old Martin Kushner, a professor of pop culture at Middlesex Community College in New Jersey, waxed scholarly about what he saw.
“There’s a potential for some real creativity here and a comment in contemporary terms on the body and sexuality and exhibitionism and all of that,” he told The Observer, adding, “I’m not sure what it was from this performance.”
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