SIFF A Wink and a Smile
posted by May 29 at 13:06 PMon
Note to Burlesque haters: Stop reading here.
Miss Indigo Blue
A Wink and a Smile follows a group of women through Miss Indigo Blue’s Seattle Academy of Burlesque. Cheeky, sexy Indigo Blue is the star of the show, though we don’t see her dance much at all. She’s charming, intelligent, and comes across as a gifted teacher, but her extensive talking-head monologues, which form the backbone of the film, might have been better as voice-over narration to allow for more images of the students learning to bump, grind, and express their sexual selves. But that and too many visible-pore, way-too-close-ups of interviewees are my only nits to pick.
Generous footage of complete routines from local burlesque darlings like the Shanghai Pearl, Inga Ingenue, and Waxy Moon show the current range of local talent exploring the bleeding edges of the form, and Miss Blue delves a bit into the history of the tradition and her feminist philosophy. The short and sweet (90-minute) movie is loaded with eye candy, and well-chosen music (Circus Contraption, Pink Martini) keeps the mood light.
It’s a voyeuristic pleasure to watch women of varying ages, sizes, and backgrounds create a character and then costume and embody her. The story wraps up at graduation night at the Rendezvous Jewel Box, where the lusty ladies debut their routines for an audience. It all goes down well and there is palpable elation and relief on screen and in the theater.
Academy of Burlesque students on their way to graduation. (Hi, Rachel!)
The crowd at the Egyptian last night was full of burlesque-scene queens and kings, friends of the director, friends and families of the cast, and was predictably, joyfully raucous.
A Wink and a Smile plays again on Saturday at 4 pm. If you’re at all curious, go.