If you have been to the movies recently you might have seen previews or even attended a screening of the popular movie Burlesque. That movie is helping to fan dance the flames and create new audiences for the once vanishing art form. Recently at The Duce in Phoenix's Warehouse District there was a special performance by Scandalesque that showcased burlesque with a modern edge. Several years ago this same troupe used to perform regularly scheduled performances at the now closed and very missed Paper Heart art gallery and performance space on Grand Avenue.
[caption id="attachment_1053" align="alignright" width="240" caption="1955 Quebedeaux Chevrolet designed by Victor Gruen and Ralph Haver "][/caption]
The 1955 building originally began life as Quebedeaux Chevrolet designed by Victor Gruen of California and local supervising architect Ralph Haver. Both were iconic designers of the Midcentury Modern era.
The modern shopping mall was attributed to Victor Gruen. It was the perfect place to see an old school burlesque show. Sometimes they'd feature Satan’s Angel, an amazing performer and superstar in the burlesque world even after age 60.
[caption id="attachment_1045" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Matchbook from the Gilded Cage (missing the signature neon bird cage and woman)"][/caption]
Back in her heydays she could have performed at a local place called the Gilded Cage. A couple years after it closed there must have been a void, because directly across the street another high-end establishment opened where Valley "movers and shakers" would congregate with bunnies.
[caption id="attachment_1054" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Former home of Phoenix's Playboy Club (1960-83)"][/caption]
Yes, that would be that would be the world famous Playboy Club (across the street from the current Park Central Mall). It featured spectacular views of the city.
[caption id="attachment_1046" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Phoenix's Playboy Club "][/caption]
I recently read a report about the reopening of the London Playboy Club. Personally for Phoenix, I would much rather have the Victor Gruen space on Grand Avenue reopen. What about you?