In the heart of West Hollywood, at Bar Lubitsch, a back room is blocked off by a simple red curtain with a sign informing the audience that photos/videos are prohibited during the show. This is to preserve the mood of Olivia Bellafontaine's unique show, but it has left the show shrouded in mystery, turning it into nightlife folklore.
As the opening routine came to a close on a recent night, it was clear that all sense of this being a mere burlesque show was shed along with the dancers' clothes. There are burlesque elements, no doubt, but the show twists into a euphoric experience, teasing the audience with eroticism and taunting them with disturbing images.
Despite an early prop hiccup that caused a short delay, the breezy 75-minute show swept up the audience members and rarely let them breathe until the very end. All performers played to their strengths: contortion, fetish, floorwork, etc., allowing the show to constantly switch gears but retain its sinister tone throughout. Each performer was entertaining but serving a calculated purpose in the overall arc of the show. This was the second in a three-show series for House of Red Velvet — and this is the fan favorite.
For those feeling a little burned out from the oversaturated burlesque scene, I'd highly recommend looking here for salvation. Best to have a strong stomach, though.
All photos by Daniel J. Sliwa