Behind the boas in Houston's burlesque community

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Known as the art of the tease, burlesque is making its mark in Houston's entertainment industry.

By day, an assistant apartment manager goes by the name Mandy, but at night she's known as Tifa Tittlywinks.

"I'm in the fabulous zone when I'm Tifa," she said.

She started the Dem Damn Dames burlesque troop in Houston five years ago.

"Burlesque isn't the most lucrative thing you can do in your life, but I love it so much, that every penny I make goes back into it," said Tittlywinks.

She works as a producer and performer throwing all her energy into the shows she hosts each month.

"It's kind of nice that our hard work is paying off," Tittlywinks said. "Houston wasn't ready yet, and now they are."

Just a short drive downtown, the buzz is around another group called the Moonlight Dolls. They perform their show every weekend at Prohibition Supper Club and Bar.

"Friday's our neo-burlesque, modern show, and Saturday is our classic vintage show. Most of the time, it's sold out," said co-owner of Prohibition Lian Pham.

The show has gained such popularity that they have added Thursday night shows.

"The team started out with three dancers, and now we have 15. We have aerialists, strong men, we have all types of uniquely talented performers," said Moonlight Dolls production manager Grace Salinas.

While some critics say burlesque is nothing more than a strip tease, these performers disagree.

"Stripping is all about what you're showing. Whereas, burlesque is about what you're hiding," said Tittylywinks. "Burlesque is literally built for any type of human because it's not about what you look like on the outside. It's about how you are when you walk out on that stage and who you decide to be. You can't get on stage and show the entire world that you do not love and believe in yourself."

The unique performances have drawn in several regulars, like Michael Harris and his wife.

"It's really cool to have something like this in Texas, specifically Houston. It could be in New York, it could be anywhere, but it's really fun to have a supper club here and have a date night," Harris said.

Video filmed at Numbers Niteclub by Blueprint Films


For more information:

Dem Damn Dames
Show info:
Last Friday of Every Month at Numbers Niteclub
For tickets, click here

Prohibition Supperclub and Bar
Dinner theater shows are every Friday and Saturday night at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. It includes a three course meal. Thursday shows start Feb. 26.

Houston Burlesque Festival
Friday, Feb. 20 at 8 p.m.: Kick-off Party Featuring the Ruby Revue
Saturday, Feb. 21 at 8 p.m.: Houston Burlesque Festival
For tickets, click here
Related topics:
societytheaterthe arts
Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.