Monday, October 6, 2014

In the Flesh

Last week I had the incredible pleasure and privilege of seeing Rubenesque Burlesque perform LIVE at the New York Burlesque Festival! Rubenesque Burlesque is a fat, fat positive burlesque troupe based in Oakland, California. There are lots of neat things about living in NYC, but I miss out on many cool fat positive events in the San Francisco area. Since it's rare for RB to be in my neighborhood, I knew I had to go see them. Plus, some of their members, Juicy D Light and Magnoliah Black, spoke beautifully at the Fat Activism Conference in August, and I chat with them in fat positive Facebook groups.  I bought two tickets so I could take The Husband. That's right, I took my husband, to whom I have been married for a bit over two months now, to a show involving nearly naked women, entirely of my own volition. He is a very trustworthy and attentive guy, and I wanted us to celebrate our mutual appreciation for fat positivity and big breasts. We also shared some amazing chicken wings. His caesar salad was the only thing at the event that was overdressed.

This is me rockin' some not-so-feminine fatshion before the show.

Here's me with the amazing women of Rubenesque Burlesque after the performance! Look what respectful people we are...

There were plenty of great acts, and I am completely biased, but let's face it, Rubenesque Burlesque was completely the best, and I really do think they received the most applause of anyone. They started out wearing bright red shirts that said Fat Camp on them in glittering letters. They were following an annoyingly perky skinny woman who was guiding them through an aerobics routine. Some of them were into it, but others were aggravated and listless. Then the four women surrounded the aerobics teacher and carried her to a table. She disappeared and the fat women walked downstage while chomping on her head and limbs. The skinny bitch was so annoying they ate her! Then they took off their shirts and wiggled their gloriously voluptuous breasts which had sparkly red tassles covering the nipples. At one moment they turned their backs to the audience, impressively shaking their thong-clad fleshy asses at the cheering crowd. Their moves were truly fantastic. I felt a little shy to talk to such awesome ladies after the show, but I was determined and my wonderful hubby was there to cheer me on and get pictures. It was so nice hugging and belly bumping Kitty vom Quim, Magnoliah Black, Lucia N. Hibitions, and Juicy D Light! They were gracious and fun. It was nice being close to their super sparkly lipstick. Impressive! 

The show was a success to me not only because of the glorious beauty of the fat performers but also because of their parodic exaggeration of tropes about fatness. They took the idea of the gluttonous fatty to a ridiculous, transgressive degree: instead of eating "too much food," as fat women are said to do, they eat their exercise instructor. They give new meaning to the phrase "eating everything in sight." Their cannibalistic act exaggerates stereotypes about the gluttony of fat people to such an extent that the flimsiness of these stereotypes is exposed and they fall apart. They have no legs to stand on because their legs have been eaten. (Forgive me.) The women of Rubenesque Burlesque subsume the false dichotomy of the active, perky thin woman and the lazy, surly fat woman so that what remains is not the oppressiveness of both real and television versions of Fat Camps but the dynamic beauty of their fleshy bodies.  

lovely drawing by Luma Rouge

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