Today is Lydia Thompson’s birthday. She had naught to do with vaud, so I don’t include her in my “Stars of Vaudeville” series. However many consider her the Mother of Burlesque, so it is fitting that we take our hats off to her today.
Furthermore, I feel moved to do something I rarely do — plug some other resources besides No Applause! The best book I know about old-school burlesque (by far) is Horrible Prettiness:Burlesque and American Culture by Robert C. Allen. Honestly, the book is so good and authoritative, that I actually (without looking at the dust jacket very carefully obviously) went around assuming that a woman had written it. It is a must read. Til then, check out Mina Von Vixen’s terrific post here.