SuperCity: Bring on the sexy

Jun. 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

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BY CHRISTA WITTMIER / Special to the Star-Advertiser

I think I found the answer to Honolulu’s hot summer nights. Burlesque! Sexy live performances by well-trained theatrical vixens confidently peeling it all off in the dark, cool confines of the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art could be just what you need.

COURTESY VIOLETTA BERETTAHAWAII BURLESQUE SENSATION VIOLETTA BERETTA HAS BEEN KNOWN TO DROP JAWS — AND DRAWERS.

2014 HAWAII BURLESQUE FESTIVAL & REVUE

Presented by Violetta Beretta and Cherry Blossom Cabaret

» Where: The Doris Duke Theatre, 900 S. Beretania St.
» When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (cocktail hour starts at 6 p.m.); additional workshops Thursday, see HBF website for details
» Cost: $35 general admission ($30 for HMA members); $45 and $60 VIP tickets also available
» Info: hawaiiburlesquefestival.com, honolulumuseum.org

The Hawaii Burlesque Festival happens Friday and Saturday, but really kicks off on Thursday with a series of dance and striptease workshops. Now in its third year, the workshops are again the silent assassin, with classes like Intro to Shake Dancing and Booty Rock Twerkshop.

The pros are sharing their talents to anyone brave enough to learn, and the result — besides one hell of a presence on the dance floor — is positive body awareness, more self-confidence and ability to take yourself less seriously. That equals the kind of sexy that can’t be faked. They are essentially teaching you how to become your best you.

Talking to HBF producer/director and Cherry Blossom Cabaret president Violetta Beretta (she prefers not to use her real name), it’s hard for me to concentrate on anything but my memory of the first time I saw her perform. It was at Nextdoor almost eight years ago and her grace and beauty on stage literally stopped my heart. I remember glancing around the room and seeing everyone else with the same jaw-dropped gaze and deduced that this girl was simply not human. She must be some kind an angel from outer space. She must.

I’ll never forget when she came to one of my birthday parties with tiniest gift bag I ever saw. When I opened it to reveal a gorgeous set of red fabric pasties, she winked and told me, “I’ll show you how to use these one day.”

They are still sitting on top of my dresser, reminding me that it’s completely okay to channel my inner sexy.

COURTESY KIT KAT CLUB CABARETMAUI'S KIT KAT CLUB CABARET WILL BE AMONG THE 40-PLUS PERFORMERS AT THIS WEEKEND'S THIRD ANNUAL HAWAII BURLESQUE FESTIVAL.

COURTESY KIT KAT CLUB CABARET

MAUI’S KIT KAT CLUB CABARET WILL BE AMONG THE 40-PLUS PERFORMERS AT THIS WEEKEND’S THIRD ANNUAL HAWAII BURLESQUE FESTIVAL.

A highly intelligent and even harder working vixen, Beretta recently moved back to Honolulu after a stint in Portland and is focusing on the HBF and her burlesque troupe. Cherry Blossom Cabaret is in between trips to perform on the mainland and in “Alice in Chinatown” at the ARTS at Marks Garage (it’s a must-see). With a lot of other projects in the works, including larger scale shows, a book and expanding the HBF to the neighbor islands, you could say she’s a bit of a busy bee.

Included in the massive lineup of over 40 performers, this year’s festival will also welcome international burlesque sensation Peekaboo Pointe, who has been repeatedly listed in the Top 50 Burlesque Performers by 21st Century Burlesque. Known as the “Fastest Tassel-Twirler from East to West,” this classically-trained dancer you may have seen on the CW network’s “Gossip Girl” also holds a Golden Pastie for Most Sensual Performer.

Including special guests and neighbor island entertainers is wonderful, but our local troupe’s talent is remarkable in itself, as I often find myself marveling at how much work they put in to their costumes and performances. It’s truly a spectacle and I’m never disappointed.

“When I started the Hawaii Burlesque Festival the main thing I wanted to do was put on a great show for our local people and entertain them with all sorts of wonderful, exciting, beautiful and crazy acts from around the world and Hawaii,” Beretta said. “I also wanted to be able to showcase the amazing amount of talent we have in our local performers.

“It’s tremendous and I’m happy to say we’ve got the finest in Hawaii burlesque ready and waiting to entertain and enrapture!”

Check the HBF website for more details about this week’s events — and somewhat-safe-for-work photos of all the performers!
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Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young’s Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular “Bacardi Pool Party” on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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