burlesque and the blues

The day started with BBQ and ended with a whiskey tasting at the hotel bar....and that pretty much sums up Austin. Well not quite, there was a little bit of music and burlesque mixed up in all that, my first night the city.

Half past six, dressed in red and black I make my way to the box office at Maggie Mae's to purchase a ticket to the Jigglewatts, classic burlesque revue at The Gibson Lounge. I have an hour to kill so I stroll up Sixth street to get a lay of the land. The streets are empty save the bouncers looking to corral any bystander in for an early bird special. I am prime meat, and after finishing the grid of Brazos to Red River find myself convinced by the bouncers outside of Coyote Ugly, where a a bluesy vocalist is belting their heart out at Stage on Sixth. It doesn't take more than a second for me to decide to go inside. It's early in the night, a handful of us fill the rodeo-like setting, the Misbehavin' Band is playing their 7pm set with well-known covers like Treat Your Daughter and I'll Take You There.

Just shy of 5 minutes listening in, I find myself the recipient of the oldest pick up line in the world (Austin is after all voted the #1 place for singles to live, work and play): "What's your sign?" It makes me laugh out loud.

The Gibson Lounge is speakeasy cool, a mixture of art deco and animal luxe. I sit in a chair that is part throne, part canopy. I try to take a photo to "pin it" without much success. The setting is perfectly designed for an evening of burlesque.

The Jigglewatts, a four-femme dance troupe includes Coco Electric, Ruby Joule, Goldie Candela & Pearl Luxe. Tonight is their pre-cursor to a Naughty New Year masquerade, and it is simply fantastic, a mixture of old world Paris meets Hollywood glam, complete with can-can revivals and torch lounge singers. I heart envy their costumes, and swear they have perfected the stocking striptease in such a way that I inquire if Coco Lectric is hosting classes this weekend.  

Post-show I have a grilled pizza at The Backspace, the wood-burning oven is okay for a midnight snack but not necessarily a meal. A hop, skip and jump and I am back on Sixth Street and it is pumping, almost like Beale Street on New Year's Eve, except this is the Friday before. Every possible strain of a melody is pouring out from one establishment or another, and at the very least there is the flat line of a bass pumping the pulse of the city as if it’s waking from hibernation.

I can only imagine how mad crazy it will be here on Monday night, and am grateful that I will be holding living room court side with The Fassetta's and friends; babies, board games and all. I make a beeline back to the hotel for a nightcap, a Jack and Ginger and a whiskey tasting (thanks to Jared my bartender)…not a bad way to spend the last weekend of the year.

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