Lydia Thompson: Mother of Burlesque


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. Also, for some reason (perhaps true love across the centuries) piano man Albert Garzon has made himself an expert on Thompson. He’s kind of the local go-to person on the subject and he has a very good blog, for access to which, go here.


2 Responses to “Lydia Thompson: Mother of Burlesque”

  1. […] things about it. It not only gives us a nice historic overview, from the form’s origins with Lydia Thompson and her British Blonds through it’s ironic death at the hands of the porn industry in the 1960s, but it also does an […]


  2. […] known for his contributions to the field of burlesque. It was he who, inspired by the success of Lydia Thompson and her British Blonds, decided to wed the concept of an all-girl show to the format of a minstrel show — and for a […]


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