Chocolate City Burlesque and Cabaret (CCBC) likes to do things a little differently. The troupe is known for its spectacular semiannual burlesque shows housed at the GALA Hispanic Theatre. Chocolate City Burlesque and Cabaret was founded to preserve and diffuse the art of Black Burlesque. Their next big show is the third annual Black Friday, on November 25th.
What should one expect at Black Friday? Be prepared for more than a night at the theater. Black Friday is an audience driven experience with a dance break at intermission. The evening kicks off with a VIP champagne reception with opportunities to meet and take photos with the cast. Once general seating starts there is a pre-show hosted by poet Pages Matam with gogo dancing and giveaways. After everyone is seated, the real show begins. Burlesque is the art of the tease and Black Friday has a line up of some of the area’s top tease artists. The lineup includes CCBC’s GiGi Holliday, Eva Mystique, Fox Martin, Angel, Bunny Vicious and Dainty Dandridge. Don’t worry if you don’t know these names yet, after next Friday, you won’t forget them. They perform strip tease and dance acts that range from sultry to cheeky. Chocolate City Burlesque and Cabaret has several guests for Black Friday. Chicava Honeychild is the proprietress and creative director of New York’s Brown Girls Burlesque. Chicava helped pave the way for burlesque performers of color and performs a stirring political act that will make you take pause. Zou Zou the hooping sensation is an internationally performing hooper and fire performer who dazzles audiences with her tricks.
Black Friday’s guest of honor is Toni Elling. Toni Elling’s burlesque career started in 1960, when she realized that the telephone company she worked for was not going to promote her as a black woman. Ms. Elling will emcee Black Friday alongside Chocolate City Burlesque and Cabaret Producer, Chè Monique. Ms. Elling will entertain you with tales of hanging out with celebrities such as Duke Ellington and Sammy Davis Jr.. Most people enjoy burlesque because of its vintage appeal, Toni Elling was performing all over the country during burlesque’s heyday and has amazing stories to share. Ms. Elling’s career was radical as she rejected expectations set on her because of her race and gender and found both personal and financial freedom working as an entertainer.
Skip the retail drama next week and treat yourself to a night of sexy striptease, fun audience participation games and a little history lesson too.
Note: Chocolate City Burlesque and Cabaret is also presenting a free panel discussion on black burlesque history at MLK Library – 901 G Street, NW, in Washington, DC on Saturday, November 26th, 2016. Admission is free but you can register to attend online.
This article was written by Che Monique.