Gypsy Rose Lee: Burleque Queen

1 Nov

Happy Friday Dolls!
As we head into the weekend, I wanted to leave you with one of my favorite burlesque dancers of all time, GYPSY ROSE LEE!

The other day I was asked if I knew who Carol Burnett was, I of course did, but during the conversation I had I was informed that the generations around me no longer know about Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, or many other “old time” actors.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where Gregory Peck was king, Audrey Hepburn was the definition of a demure, Katharine Hepburn was a revolutionist, Ingrid Bergman was the epitome of class, Cary Grant was most definitely straight, and these were people to admire. My parents always allowed me to watch the Hollywood classics. I know what a MGM musical is like, and who was got signed with Warner Brothers but left to go to Paramount Pictures. Many nights of watching Turner Classic Movies has given me this information, but I suppose many people are starting to forgot.

For those of us who chose to dress, look, and act a certain way (Vintage Living!), these stars and their movies helped to shape who we are. When I started to think about the stars that I loved so much, I thought of one of my favorite movies, “Gypsy” with Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood.

In the movie we are told the story of how the famous burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee came to be. This movie is partially based off Gypsy Rose Lee’s autobiography where she discusses her past and her stage manager mom (the first momager!).

When I was younger, I would ask my mom who Gypsy was, why was she famous, what was she doing stripping in the movie. My mother would answer that she revolutionized burlesque. She made it more about teasing the men, not about stripping down to nothing. I become entranced by her. How could a woman be so sexy and powerful without taking off her clothes?

Growing up in the nineties, and becoming an adult in  the early 2000’s, I was of a generation of Brittany’s, X-Tina’s, and skin. Why did you have to conform to showing it all off to be noticed. Giving high school guys my entire flesh was never my thing. This brings us back to Gypsy Rose Lee. Gypsy was more than a “fan dancer” she was educated, she was funny, she had goals outside of being used for her body.

While many in the industry might have scoffed at her “education,” she continued to want to better her life in any way that she could. Listening to her speak, and reading her writing, you get a sense of a woman that knew what she was doing and made calculated choices.

I admire her for choosing to do and act in the way that she did. Many conjectures about her popularity have to do with her wit and her “bits” on stage. Not only was she slowly stripping away her clothing, Gypsy would make jokes, and speak to the audience. She made up all of her acts, wrote her songs, and made many of her costumes. She truly was a talent beyond being a stripper.

If this is your first time hearing about Gypsy Rose Lee (which I really hope it isn’t), I encourage you to read more about her life. I would suggest starting off by watching the movie Gypsy. 2 wonderful actresses capture her early life so well, you can’t help but love her. In it, the writers even added the real criticism that Gypsy faced once she became famous.

I have added one of my favorite Gypsy clips that I found on Youtube, that helps to introduce her.

I hope you dolls learned a little more about the Queen of Burlesque. Have a wonderful weekend!


Your Team at JBR Clothing


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