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Burlesque legend Dixie Evans marks 85th birthday at Royal Resort

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from www.lasvegassun.com – It was a birthday celebration fit for a queen, and in this case — amid thigh-high stockings, fishnets, garter belts and plunging necklines with push-up bras — the reigning queen of burlesque, Dixie Evans. Many of burlesque’s biggest stars past and present attended a celebration to commemorate the living legend’s 85th birthday Saturday night at the newly renovated retro Royal Resort.

Harold Minsky, the father of theatrical undressing and striptease, dubbed Dixie “The Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque,” and everybody agrees that no one has inspired generations of performers and done more to preserve the history and art of burlesque than Dixie.

The all-star lineup to honor her included mistress of ceremonies Kitten on the Keys, who kept the night lively with her quips and many costume changes; and shimmy starlets Kitten DeVille (a striking Marilyn Monroe lookalike); Kalani Kokonuts, who entranced the audience with her beauty performing to Elvis Presley’s “Hawaiian Wedding Song”; the voluptuous Renea’ LeRoux; the classic beauty Angie Pontani; the Vancouver, B.C., star Rita Star, who started her performance in a tuxedo; and the buxom Vi Vacious, who performed a contemporary routine to Depeche Mode’s “I Feel You.”

Also at the celebration: legends Miss Nude Universe 1975 Tiffany Carter, who the MC proclaimed “still looks great in a G-string!”; Shannon Doah, the epitome of elegance; two-time Miss Nude Universe and Russ Meyer vixen Kitten Natividad, who, sassy as ever, worked the pre-show crowd by smacking the derrieres of the men, including esteemed Editor Don Chareunsy(!); and “Queen of the Fire Tassels” Satan’s Angel, who last graced the former Royal stage in 1975 and performed her legendary fire tassels routine next to a life-size cardboard cutout of herself to end the 90-minute performance.

The sensational show produced by Frederic Apcar opened with the incredible Las Vegas’ troupe Cabernet Dance, six gorgeous belly-dancing showgirls in as little clothing as possible behind their oversized, white feather fans. I was not only bowled over by their strutting and shaking but also felt like I’d gone back in time to the 1940s. It was more than just nostalgia, though — this was great entertainment and sexy instead of in-your-face, strip club naughty.

During the show, Dixie sipped champagne and shared her front-center star table with fellow veteran burlesque friend Tempest Storm. Our thanks to Denise Truscello for her show-stopping shots.

After the burlesque performances, there was a pool party with a champagne toast, cupcakes and more performances by local lovelies Cha Cha Velour, who popped out of a big cake; burlesque contortionist Miss Charlamay; Miss Karla Joy; and Absinthe’s Melody Sweets, known as the “Shimmering Chanteuse,” who closed the night with a “Slice of Heaven” before joining the burlesque beauties in the pool.

Melody told me: “Dixie is one of the leading ambassadors of burlesque. She’s a matriarch of the bump and grind and to this day is the life of any party. I’m proud to be a part of this ever-inspiring community that she’s played such a huge role in preserving. Happy 85th Birthday, Dixie!”

Kalani added: “Dixie has been the pioneer for burlesque. There’s only one, and she is it. A living legend who represents the epitome of burlesque. She’s gracious, beautiful and always has time for others following in the field. It’s sad that television, porn and strip clubs almost extinguished burlesque, but there will always be our kind of entertainment because sexuality will always work. The art of undressing is not taking everything off for the gynecologist!

“She’s still young and alive at 85, and dancing in burlesque will do that for you. There’s no expiration date on your butt, so she still gets excited about showing it off a little.”

In fact, Dixie shows no sign of slowing down, as she told Senior Editor John Katsilometes in The Kats Report posted over the weekend. Recently, Dixie even went hunting for her grandfather’s gold and silver mines in Tonopah, Nev., the site of her first strip show. She’s planning a Christmas spectacular in December here, and the Royal Resort wants to have a monthly burlesque showcase.

“They say big girls don’t cry, but I sure cried,” Dixie summed up. “I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to all of my girls for making this amazing party possible. I never expected this. Burlesque has kept me young and healthy. I’d love to bring it back to what it was, but meantime I’ll certainly keep it alive. I love the fact that so many American girls are now following in my old high heels — and almost taking it all off.”

As the show ended and the pool party began, Dixie exclaimed, “Let’s start the pool party and get naked!”

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