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Satan's Li'l Sweethearts 

That foxy troupe of hoofers the Devil-Ettes celebrates five years of burlesque

Wednesday, Feb 18 2004
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Asked to describe the Devil-Ettes, her foxy troupe of hoofers, Baby Doe pretty much nails it. "We're kind of like a lowbrow version of the Rockettes," she explains. But for a group of girls whose costumes are held together by glue-gun polymer and optimism, the Devil-Ettes have shown a lot more staying power than most urban fads.

It's the usual story: At the beginning no one realized the ensemble was about to become the next big thing. When the Devil-Ettes got going, if a girl longed to dance she could do it in a tutu and toe shoes, or in a dollar-bill-stuffed thong, with very few options in between. But when a group of female co-workers wanted to enter a Christmas talent show, they put together a flirty synchronized dance number and called themselves the Ho Ho Hos. Faced with the spectacle of 12 exuberant women go-going onstage in matching get-ups, the crowd went wild. The dancers were invited to perform at more parties, as well as at clubs, bars, dance halls, and the Las Vegas Grind, an annual rockabilly showcase.

And in the later-rechristened Devil-Ettes' five years of existence, imitators have appeared faster than strippers at a half-price shoe sale. The Bay Area is home to almost a dozen burlesque troupes, all of them only too happy to strap on cutesy costumes and sashay across the stage like Annette Funicello in a beach party flick. And as long as they keep on doing the fetching voodoo they do so well, you won't hear any complaints from us.

The Devil-Ettes celebrate their half-decade mark with the blowout "The Devil-Ettes Au Go Go," a dance party with sounds from '60s-crazed DJs (including our favorite, California Kid from Frenchie rave-up "Bardot A Go Go") and performances from all the Devil-Ettes, past and present. So practice your Pony, sharpen your Swim, and tune up your Twist -- after five years of shimmying their hearts out for the audience, this time the Devil-Ettes expect a performance from you.

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Joyce Slaton

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