What’s Beneath the Clothes: Burlesque Superstar Angie Pontani Kicks Off The Naked Truth March 17th

The world of burlesque is expanding as society perceives it in the proper light… as an ancient art form. Dita Von Teese is just short of a household name and, as we reported, Ivan Kane is about to open up Royal Jelly at the newish Revel in Atlantic City. Angie Pontani is a superstar in this wild world. She made a believer out of me one night and then another at Corio on West Broadway. It was Murray Hill (about to tour with Dita) MC-ing, Melody Sweets (now a star with her own billboard) celebrating her show Absinthe at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and a bevy of beauties that changed my perception of the game. Calamity Chang sells out every Friday at Hotel Chantelle after her sexy time performance with DeeDee Luxe and Michael Fassbender in Shame. Duane Park delivers the goods every Friday and Saturday nights. Burlesque is back and Angie Pontani is offering us The Naked Truth.

Angie, you are going to be in a show March 17th with my friend Jo Weldon. Tell me all about it:
It’s called The Naked Truth, and it will live up to its name! It’s a new burlesque game show from the hilarious and slightly-twisted mind of performer and producer, Jonny Porkpie. He has had another version of the show on the road for the past year – something like 30 different cities in five countries on three continents – and now it’s coming to NYC at the Triad on West 72nd Street! In the show, I (and all the other performers) are going to expose more than we’ve ever exposed before – deep secrets, thoughts, dreams, and fantasies! You’ll get to see what’s beneath the clothes. Jonny’s actually just sent me a long list of very intimate questions, which I’ll answer once I pour myself a glass of wine and run the bubble bath, then I’ll return them to him to use in the show. After I perform, the audience has to guess which answers are mine to win all sorts of great prizes. So in essence, the show not only includes amazing performances, but a thrilling game show element that will reveal the casts’ deep secrets and potentially get you fabulous prizes!
 
The Naked Truth…when and how did you decide that getting nearly naked for a living was the way to go? Tell me about your uncontrollable burlesque urges.
Ha! Well, getting "nearly naked" is just a natural byproduct of what I do. I grew up watching MGM Technicolor musicals and listening to Sinatra and Elvis. That old- school style of entertainment is what inspired me to go into show business. For me, it’s about the music, the costumes, the theatricality of what you can do in your five to seven minutes on stage. Sure, burlesque is striptease and requires "getting nearly naked," but for me, the journey of the tease is what people remember. It’s about giving my audience a thrill by getting dressed up as a savage jungle girl and wildly banging my bongo drum, or emerging encrusted in crystals from my 6-foot oyster shell, or maybe even taking a dip in my glass bathtub. You know…just another day at the office. 
 
I’ve heard some burlesque dancers refer to themselves as ‘strippers,’ while others run from that term. Is art the delineating factor?  
I’m a show pony; I live to be onstage. I don’t refer to myself as a stripper and I don’t refer to myself as an artist. I’m an entertainer –  that’s what I do. I’ve got an old-school brain in regards to burlesque, nightlife, and entertainment in general. I think of the ’40s and ’50s supper club culture;  that’s what I relate to in my performances and the types of shows and venues I tend to perform in. I’ve been to strip clubs and have had great times at them, but the experiences I’ve had at places like Scores, The Pussy Cat Lounge, Billy’s Topless, etc…they are very different experiences from what someone will have at one of my shows. In regards to "art:" sure, showbiz is an art, but I don’t really get down with intellectualizing my performances. It’s not my style. I just want to entertain you when I’m in the spotlight. Fred Astaire has a quote that he said when talking about how people tried to find deeper meaning in his
hop-shuffle-step, and it goes like this, "I am not sending messages with my feet. All I ever wanted to do was not come up empty. I did it for the dough and the old applause."   
 
You have found love in the biz…tell me about that. Is love common? Are burlesque relationships more difficult, or is it a great way to meet the man or woman of your dreams?
I have often thought that burlesque is the kiss of death to a relationship, and I never, ever wanted to date someone in the business – but I have been proven wrong. My man (trumpet-playing crooner Brian Newman), is fabulous. We have so much in common in regard to what we love about show business, music, and style that it’s pretty amazing. We can paint the town one night, dressed to the nines, and stay home the next, making lasagna and watching Jimmy Stewart westerns all night, it’s heaven! We are in the same world in a sense, but they are different enough so as they don’t collide. We’ve recently started doing more shows together, with a production we are calling "Burlesque-A-Pades, After Dark," where Brian’s band plays live music for the whole show. I love it; I feel like Lucy and Ricky. Plus, my performances are always a little more fiery when dancing live to my baby’s tunes. It’s also great because we can travel together a bit more, share fabulous
adventures, and create a great stage show! I think love and relationships can be difficult in any genre – you’ve just got to find the right person.
 
Angie Pontani
 
The current state of the art: burlesque seems to be booming. Where can/will it go?
I think, as each year passes, burlesque is just proving itself to be a sustainable form of entertainment, a genre in and of itself that I don’t think is going anywhere. Every year, it seems to get more and more popular and branch out into various styles. You’ve got classic burlesque supper club shows, downtown edgy dive bar shows, theatrical shows, nightclub shows, touring shows – heck, even game show shows, like the fabulous The Naked Truth. I think burlesque has grown into an umbrella of entertainment off of which different styles have emerged and it’s everywhere. Kind of like live music, there are a ton of different shows for each palette everywhere! I think it will continue to grow; it’s certainly not a trend or passing fancy.
 
I’ve caught your act and have been a fan since day one. How do you develop ideas and what is the process of perfecting the act?
First off, thank you, that means a lot coming from you! Ideas for numbers hit me over the head like a bedazzled hammer; all it takes to set me off is a great song or a photo of a starlet in an amazing gown or something like that, and then I am typically useless for a month or so while I create the act. The process can take one month to three or so, depending on the act. First, I have to get the costume made, as well as any props that I might require – only then can you really put the act together. I am a huge rehearser; when I am working a new act, I will practice the number at least a hundred times. I practice in every room in my house, in the dark, in my yard, in front of a mirror, away from the mirror, etc…It’s not that the choreography is so intense or anything like that, but in burlesque you have so many working components that you have to deal with, like 5-inch heels, binding corsets, snaps, zippers, headdresses etc. I practice and get comfortable with the costume and how it comes off, so that when I’m on stage I’m not looking down to find a clasp or tripping on my gown’s train or worried about anything but  driving the audience wild!
 
 
THE NAKED TRUTH plays at the Triad Theater (158 West 72nd Street) on the third Saturday of each month with March’s performance on Saturday, 3/17 at 10pm, April’s on Saturday, 4/21 at 10pm and May’s on Saturday, 5/19 at 10pm. Tickets are $35 for general admission and $45 for premium seating and can be purchased online at www.NakedTruthGameShow.com. There is also a two-drink minimum.

IT’S HUMP DAY: This Week’s Sexiest Events

It’s Wednesday and you know what that means: we get our hump on. This weekly column is devoted to finding the hottest events across NYC that’ll arouse and titillate even the most jaded New Yorker. Partake in these shows and soirees – from Naked Girls Reading to the shocking "F*ck Art" exhibit – and make the rest of your nights this week very sexy.

See hot naked girls tell stories about circus tricks:
The hit, nude literary event Naked Girls Reading begins its 2013 season tonight with its most eccentric event yet: “Naked Girls Reading Joins The Circus.” At Under St. Marks in the East Village, the naked girls troupe will read tales about their days at the carnival, on the tightrope, and the sideshow, while you attempt to get a gander at the chest behind their books. Whoops! Extra-special guests include Miss Coney Island 2010 GiGi La Femme, and international cirque and burlesque star The Lady Josephine. Wednesday, Jan. 16th. 9pm. All the details here.

Listen to writers’ most sensual and seductive work:
Open mic hits Le Poisson Rouge Friday night when 20 authors, poets, and spoken-word artists bravely take to the mic and share their most erotic sexual fantasies in a monthly night known as “Titillating Tongues – NYC Erotica in Poetry & Prose.” The host – fiery redheaded poet Aimee Herman – has been known to surprise audiences, most notably with a male stripper simulating masturbation onstage. And wahoo, while that doesn’t sound like poetry to me, for some, it’s just perfect.7pm. $10. Friday, Jan. 18th.  All the details here.

See shocking, sexual NYC street art at “F*ck Art” exhibit:
In NYC, there’s little separation between nightclub and lounge, hipster and homeless. And at the Museum of Sex, 20 select street artists showcase art that pushes the boundary between sexuality and our public space in an exhibit called “F*ck Art.” This exhibit gets shocking, asking all those big questions about human cultural identity and sexuality etc., so it’s not for the timid or the meek. But then again, if you’re considering walking into the Museum of Sex at all, you’re none of those things. Bravo. 10am. Runs every day until March 1st. All the details here.

Eat the sexiest Chinese food you’ll ever have:
When nightlife crew EMM Group opens anything new, the spot becomes a huge, sexy hit – and so begins the trajectory of their latest opening:  LES Chinese restaurant The General. I know, Chinese food and sexy? But with its plank-wood ceiling, retro red chairs, and gilded Asian wallpaper, EMM Group makes The General swank – and your new date spot. Open now. 199 Bowery. All inside-info here.

Follow Bonnie on Twitter here.

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IT’S HUMP DAY: This Week’s Sexiest NYC Events

It’s Wednesday and you know what that means: we get our hump on. This weekly column is devoted to finding the hottest events across NYC that’ll arouse and titillate even the most jaded New Yorker. Partake in these shows and soirees across NYC and make tonight – and the rest of your nights this week – very sexy.

Topless Girls Caroling:
I mean, this is a no-brainer. Burlesque dancers from three different troupes join together at LES rock club R Bar on Saturday to sing and desecrate your favorite Christmas tunes like, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.”  Whoops! Ah well, no holiday is safe from the ire of guttered minds. Sat., Dec. 8th at R Bar, 7pm. All the details here.

The Sixth Annual Menorah Horah:
Hanukkah hotness hits Highline Ballroom on Sunday, when Jewish international burlesque duo The Schlep Sisters hold a pageant-style show where eight Hanukkah hopefuls vie for a spot in the very-exclusive Menorah Horah Royalty. Retro swimsuits and dreidel and latke songs included. Who will compete? Who will win the crown? I’m schvitzing just thinking about it. Bring your JDateSun., Dec. 9th at Highline Ballroom, 6pm, $25. All the details here.

Mies Julie:
NYT theatre critic Ben Brantley said “There is more erotic heat generated by the play’s two central characters than in any production in town.” And well, crap, if even stoic Brantley is turned on, then you can be sure you’ll be too when witnessing the off-Broadway play Mies Julie, a night-in-the-life of a black farm laborer and his “master’s” daughter in this smoldering post-apartheid drama. When the show’s over, release some steam at neighboring indie & intimate gastropub reBar.
Show runs until Sun., Dec. 16th at St. Ann’s Warehouse, $70. All the details here.

Naked Holidays:
Alright, so if topless just isn’t enough, ya big ol’ horndog you, then get a front-row seat to the sixth annual off-Broadway show Naked Holidays, where the cast –  wearing scarves and Santa hats (and only those) – perform their own raunchy spins on Yuletide classics, like “Dad Came Out This Christmas,” and “The Big Toy Chest.” After the show, head to Theatre District landmark and holiday-decorated Smith’s Bar for a drink and live music by (clothed) local performers. Show runs nightly until Sun., Dec. 30th at Roy Arias Studios, $57.50. All the details here.

Follow Bonnie on Twitter here.

San Francisco Opening: Amber Dhara

Restaurateur Vijay Bist’s Amber brand has been gracing Northern Cali with his own particular exotic cuisine since 1994. His newest venture Amber Dhara is a two-level sleek and sexy 6,000-square-foot restaurant with lots of bright yellow and orange-colored walls.

Located on the Mission’s buzzing Valencia Street, with Luna Park as its neighbor, Dhara appeals to the eating and drinking crowd, as the ground floor lounge area  is for cocktail drinking (grab the enlightening Chakratini), while the upstairs is for eating sophisticated, affordable Indian small plates. 

New York’s Sexiest Third Date Bars

The third date. You’ve made it. Now it’s totally acceptable for you to take your date back to your place and [fill in the blanks]. 

And in order to ensure that you’re both in the mood, we’ve compliled our list of the sexiest bars for that third date. Think of it as foreplay. Enjoy.

Salon 13: A Badass Hair Affair

“I get people laid. And if you don’t like the haircut I’m gonna give you, you can shave my head.” 

So begins the Salon 13 experience.

Yes, getting your hair styled by dynamic duo and celebrity stylists Alx and Jenni is a one-in-a-million experience. Actually, it’s more than an experience; it’s a trip to a world you never want to leave, filled with rock ‘n’ roll, transformative edgy haircuts that have you exclaiming, ‘I didn’t know I could be that hot!’, and free beer.
 
Owned by Seamus Regan, one of the folks behind Bantam, this two-year-old East Village hair haven is a rare breed. Salon 13 fuses the intimacy of a nightclub, the creativity of an art gallery (local artists’ work is featured on the walls), and the seriousness of masterful stylists who treat hair like an art form, and funnels it all into a seductive concoction that somehow leaves you looking sexier than you ever have in your life.  
 
Alx Alvarez, who has styled everyone from Keith Richards to The Killers and is personally responsible for getting people laid/“upping your cock stock,” trained in Paris and attended art school for sculpting, making hair her art medium. From there, she’s become a prolific celebrity stylist, consistently featured in magazines like Vogue, Rolling Stone, and most recently TimeOutNY. But once you’ve plopped yourself down in Alx’s salon chair, you’re treated just the same.
 
“Everyone here is a star, no matter who you are,” says Alx.  "And I don’t want your money. I like it, but I don’t need it. I want your hair.”
 
This passion for tresses extends to Jenni Robinson, whose experience as a top make-up artist and hairdresser with French and Japanese training, makes her the go-to woman for coloring hair. Her dynamite attention to hair style, color, and strength ensures the healthiest treatments, from the more basic styling to her signature one-day Brazilian Keratin treatment.
 
“People just come here to hang out,” says Alx. “Finance guys, corporate women, artsy people – they just feel good being here.”
 
And why not? With its purple velvet walls, crass and personable conversation, and head-turning styles, you’ll walk out of Salon 13 not just feeling good, but looking HOT, and telling everyone about it. I know I am.