Despite modern burlesque's associations with elegantly taking one's clothes off before a live audience of hooters and hollerers, burlesque is an art form that was originally intended to make us laugh.
The word itself derives from the Italian burlesco, which means to jest or joke, and its roots in theatrical parody go all the way back to ancient Greece. Here to school us on the enticing and fascinating history of women in burlesque is Rebel Without a Bra: A Burlesque Cabaret presented by the co-artistic directors of DIVA or Die, If-N'-Whendy, and Red Velvet. From the Victorian era to the French cancan to neo-burlesque, Rebel Without a Bra promises a "voyeuristic journey" and "sensuous peek at the bold women and times of burlesque." Other moneymaker-shakers performing tonight include Sean Owens, Bunny Von Tail, Laika Fox, Josie Starre, Shimmies Galore, and Dee Os'Mio. Learn burlesque history the way it was intended, with fearless females and whirling nipple tassels.
Rebel Without a Bra starts Saturday May 11 at 9 p.m. and runs through June 1 at Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy St., S.F. Admission is $15-$25; visit divafest.info.