Before she became “Musette, The Mistress of Mischief,” Natalie Bunton-Pagel was a Mayo High School grad who had to be dragged to her first burlesque show. And that’s where Musette had her epiphany, as she was dazzled by the spectacle, the beauty of the gowns, the nostalgia and the 1940s music.
This year marks the fifth year Musette will host Rochester’s “Midnight Muse Burlesque,” which comes billed as the biggest burlesque show in Rochester. The show will take place from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, at the Wicked Moose Bar & Grill and will feature vintage Hollywood glamor, dazzling gowns, dancing and comedy and campy strip tease.
“I try to inject something new,” said Musette, who produces the show and serves as mistress of ceremonies. “The cast is constantly rotating. You’re not going to see the same thing when you come to a show.”
Highlighting the show will be 2014 Miss Exotic World Midnite Martini, who will perform her “Mile High Flying Tease” involving aerial circus silks.
“‘Midnite Martini’ is a hard girl to wrangle,” Musette said. “I actually had her at my first show four years ago and have never been able to get her again. There’ll be people coming down from the Twin Cities just to see her perform.”
Other cast members will include neo-burlesques Electra Cute, ‘the most shocking woman in burlesque;” songstress Nadine Dubois; and international circus pole artist Featherpistol, of San Francisco. St. Cloud’s Scarlet Revolver and the Invincible Vivienne Le Detruire from the Twin Cities round out the performers.
“It’s a safe place to be to experience something on the outskirts of what people normally think of performance,” Musette said. “This is live performance — kind of like old vaudeville days but with an injection of everything new.”
Burlesque had its heyday in the 1940s, but Musette said burlesque has undergone resurgence as an art form by borrowing themes from today’s culture. It might be a strip tease dancer dressed up as Darth Vader who disrobes to a 1970s song. Musette herself recalled her first amateur performance where in a tribute to the movie “Fargo,” she took off layers and layers of snowmobile suits.
“It was fun,” she said. “It was a rush. It was the biggest adrenaline rush you can imagine.”
Musette said when she started the show five years ago, it was with the hope that it could be the beginning of a tradition in Rochester. The show started out at Whiskey Bones but has been held at the Wicked Moose for the last four years. Musette said the show owes its run to its ability to attract the best performers.
“I’m not saying that I hit the mark every time, but that’s my goal. And this next show is definitely going to be able to do that,” Musette said.
What: Midnight Muse Burlesque
When: 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Thursday, April 7.
Where: The Wicked Moose