Femme TV | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Burlesque reminds us that a woman in lingerie peeling off a single glove can be devastatingly erotic. So it is with Femme TV, the Lavender Cabaret's sexy wink of a variety show, which supposedly appears on cable channel KTNA, whose motto is "Redefining the Boob Tube." Each act gently mocks a cable-television standby: cooking and interior design shows, "you are there" documentaries. One video, from the "Uncovery Channel," searches backstage for the dangerous North American Sugarbaby only to be followed by the actual Sugarbabies: Lavender Cabaret cofounder Michelle "Toots" L'amour, Amy Brown, Andrea Cerniglia, Tanya Chmelewski, Sarah Keating, and Rachel Northway. The show's mainstays, they strut their stuff in zip-off dresses (one woman strips down to sparkly pasties). Each act is sharply choreographed by L'amour and blends erotic dance, pulsing video, and a form of music that cofounder Franky Vivid calls "burlectro"--a mix of classic burlesque music with dance-club beats. Other acts add a touch of vaudeville: Sarah Lukey sings a breathless "Santa Baby," and debonair magician James Coats performs some suave parlor tricks. Comedian-ventriloquist Bob Rumba brings down the house with his dirty-mouthed reindeer dummy and a hilarious physical interpretation of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N. Broadway, 773-472-3492 or 800-955-5566. Through December 19: Fridays, 10:30 PM. $20.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Brosilow.

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