Behind the Burly Q (Zemeckis)

Discussion Questions
1. Why has burlesque been left out of the history books? Where the performers themselves reluctant to talk about performing in burlesque or is it because of our perceptions today that burlesque was no more than a strip show with second rate comedians?

2. When does the author consider the years to be the “golden age of burlesque” and why?

3. Did most of the women revere their time in burlesque or were they ashamed of it? Did their families know?

4. How often did the performers work? Could say a hand-balancer actually make a living in burlesque?

5. Why is is considered to be the premier form of entertainment in America?

6. Why did burlesque die out? And what do we owe its growing resurgence to today?

7. Where can you see burlesque today? Which performers and television shows are burlesque?

8. What happened to the men and women when burlesque died out? Could they cross over into “legitimate” show business?

9. So many of the women talked about growing up poor and coming from abusive families did this have anything to do with their choices to go into burlesque? Did it give them opportunities they might not otherwise have had?

10. Alan Alda’s father was in burlesque, who else was in burlesque that surprised you?
(Questions provided courtesy of the author.)

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