On January 8, 2011, the world's most famous burlesque performer turns 100 years old. Join LIVE from the NYPL for a centennial celebration of the birth of Gypsy Rose Lee: novelist, playwright, New Yorker essayist, fashion icon, actress, activist, member of New York’s literati, world-famous “ecdysiast" and subject of one of the best-loved musicals in American history. Be amused and appalled by dramatic readings from never-before-published letters in Gypsy’s archives, housed in the New York Public Library.
Karen Abbott, author of AMERICAN ROSE, A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee, in conversation with Paul Holdengraber, Director of LIVE, will strip Gypsy to the bone on a rollicking trip through time, from Gypsy's early years on the vaudeville circuit with Harry Houdini and Fanny Brice... to her time in New York City during the Roaring Twenties and The Great Depression among some of the Big Apple's most colorful characters.
Special guests include Jo "Boobs" Weldon (author of The Burlesque Handbook and Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque) who will perform a burlesque tribute to Gypsy, Miss Tickle (three-time "Burlesque Hall of Fame" Trophy Winner in 2010) who will honor the birthday in true burlesque style—by popping out of a cake, burlesque legend Bambi Jones, The Rhinestone Follies, burlesque musician and historian Albert Garzon, “King of Boylesque” Tigger! (voted the “performer most likely to be shut down by the law” by the New York Burlesque Festival), “Burlesque Mayor of NYC” Jonny Porkpie and others!
KAREN ABBOTT is the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and AMERICAN ROSE, A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee. A native of Philadelphia, she now lives in New York City with her husband.
JO "BOOBS" WELDON is the Headmistress and Founder of the New York School of Burlesque. She has worked with performers from Leonard Cohen to Spinal Tap and is the author of The Pocket Book of Burlesque: A Backstage Guide.
PAUL HOLDENGRÄBER is the Director of LIVE from the NYPL.