Confessions of a closet burlesquer |

Confessions of a closet burlesquer

April E. Clark
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April in Glenwood

I have a secret. OK, it’s not so much a secret as an infatuation I keep somewhat contained until I have an outlet to expose it. So far, this has only happened about once a year for me. And no, it’s not filing my taxes.

Think the opposite of infatuation there.

I am in love with burlesque. There, I said it. The secret is out. She is on my mind a lot lately. Burlesque waits for me to take her stage and tap dance my way into a crowd filled with laughter and frivolity. She quietly calls for me in a seductive whisper that only woman, or man, with the guts to don a corset in public can hear.

I am her muse.

When I talk about burlesque, some people may know exactly to what I’m referring. Others may not have a clue what burlesque is. They may even think it’s a bad word. I prefer the technical definition when describing it. Burlesque’s meaning is often taken out of context because of its seductive nature and risque costuming. Actually, the French word means comical.

I like to think I have that covered.

Burlesque is defined as, “A literary or dramatic work that ridicules a subject either by presenting a solemn subject in an undignified style or an inconsequential subject in a dignified style. It also means, “A ludicrous or mocking imitation.”

Who doesn’t love a little mockery every now and again?

My first burlesque claim-to-fame moment came about last summer, in the first “Viva la Woman” burlesque performances in Carbondale. The first night was so much of a hit, our second night sold out. One of my characters, April O’BonBon, was a silly tap-dancing, peanut-selling vendor who invited unsuspecting subjects from the audience on to the stage so she could try out for her big break into stardom. Last I heard, she’s not going to Hollywood or New York City anytime soon. Rumor has it Ms. O’BonBon will make her triumphant return to the Carbondale stage this weekend with a new shtick. Hey, 15 minutes of fame is 15 minutes of fame.

No matter where it is.

It is no secret I like to make people laugh. I know that’s why I’m on here on this Earth. As I grow older, I think about my life’s purpose quite often. I ponder it, maybe more than I should. I do know that if I can put at least one smile per day on a person’s face – sometimes I go big and shoot for three smiles on three faces, or three smiles on one face – I am fulfilling my life’s purpose. Sure, there are plenty of people who aspire to cure cancer or solve the world’s most difficult math problem. I can’t imagine I’ll do either of those things in my lifetime.

I’ll stick with making people smile.

Yes, it is true that burlesque can be racy and a little on the wild side for folks who get nervous around women, or men, in corsets and feather boas. But I live by somewhat of a free-bird mentality.

This may or may not be a reference to the 1970’s Lynyrd Skynyrd hit.

Not only am I a free bird most people cannot change, unless forced, but I am also an odd bird. I like putting on tap shoes and pretending I’m Eleanor Powell. I like to request songs from the DJ – like “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard – that were popular before most people at the club were born.

That song came out in 1987, by the way.

I like the 1940s – the Big Band music, the ladies’ hats, the Victory Rolls and the stockings with black stripes down the back. I am old-fashioned like that. I also like female comics and watching “Saturday Night Live,” every season no matter the cast, famous or not. I like sleeping in socks because my feet are like two size-6 icicles at night. I even like being stuffed in a corset even though it technically was invented to create an hourglass figure, which I definitely do not have.

Unless the hourglass is wider at the top and has bird-like legs for a base.

What I really like, though, is putting on a show for people that will make them laugh. That’s why I’m so infatuated with burlesque. We need more laughter in this world, and I know a few good women to do it. Through burlesque, we can even bring a little shock and awe to the world that has nothing to do with bombs.

Just as long as the jokes don’t bomb.

– April E. Clark is not afraid of the big bad corset. She will appear in one at PAC3 in Carbondale Thursday through Saturday. She can be reached at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User