Charming....often entertaining.... The present-day interviews with these women are a delight and also poignant, partly because of the contrast between their older and younger selves, though mostly because of the lives they lived.... It’s great that she immortalized these women.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
[M]any creatively named burlesque stars—Tempest Storm, Candy Cotton, Blaze Starr, Candy Barr, Val Valentine, Tee Tee Red, the list goes on — interviewed at poignant, amusing and enlightening length in a new book, Behind the Burly Q: The Story of Burlesque in America.
Rick Kogan - Chicago Tribune
Leslie Zemeckis relates the tragic and uplifting tales of the forgotten stars of burlesque's golden age.
Los Angeles Times
Utterly entertaining Behind the Burly Q is a painstakingly researched love letter to the women and men who once made up the community of burlesque performers…its treasure trove of vintage photographs and performance footage is enough to make historians and fans of classic erotica swoon…insightful, fascinating.
Ernest Hardy - Village Voice
A privileged front-row seat to the history of burlesque! Glorious ladies in their heyday....their long-ago stripteases still pack a sensual, sassy, what-the-hell punch, while juicy anecdotes run from raunchy to touching to funny to flat-out incredible.
Ronnie Scheib - Variety
Entertaining, and often poignant book.
[A]comprehensive history of the golden age of burlesque. Drawing from extensive interviews conducted for [her] film, Zemeckis profiles a host of colorful dancers.... Rounding out Zemeckis’s oral history are profiles of those connected to the burlesque circuit—like comedians Abbott and Costello—and examinations of the legal and social furors and fevers kicked off by the “Burly Q.” This rich history, rife with vibrant quotes and first-hand insights from burlesque’s biggest dancers, is indispensable for fans of the ribald pastime.
Filmmaker Zemeckis...introduces readers to a wild and varied cast of characters, many of whom she interviewed herself, such as Lili St. Cyr, Zorita, and the legendary Gypsy Rose Lee, who was immortalized in the Broadway musical Gypsy. However, the author also reveals a more vulnerable side to these larger-than-life figures, discussing unstable childhoods and marital woes.... Zemeckis offers a rich, colorful narrative that provides a vivid sense of the era. —Mahnaz Dar
Salty reminiscences.... Zemeckis assembled an impressive number of surviving performers from roughly the 1930s through the late ’50s to recount their experiences toiling in this often misunderstood cul-de-sac in American performing arts. An evolution of vaudeville, burlesque added striptease to the program in an effort to lure audiences back from the movies.... There is much colorful ground-level showbiz detail... and the anecdotes are never less than good fun. An affectionate and historically valuable document of an intriguing, little-served corner of American entertainment.
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