The international Dr Sketchy movement was founded in 2005 by artists Molly Crabapple and A.V. Phibes. Both were Art School dropouts who had a passion for art, founding Dr. Sketchy, effectively a live drawing class where the shows have a distinct lack of boring naked 50 year olds, with a whole lot more bouncing burlesque dancers with balloons. Generally held in bars, Dr Sketchy serves to make art fun, and encourages those from the very talented and well-known, to those who have just learned that pencils meet paper, to have a go at drawing something interesting. Going beyond the mere model-on-stage formula, events overseas have included flash mobs, live art installations for art galleries, and impromptu public performances. Themes have included steampunk, candy, boxing, and, more recently, Obama vs Palin.
Dr Sketchy Wellington is monthly and hosted by Mighty Mighty. For $12/$14, anyone can come in and experience a wealth of colour, models and atmosphere with a sketch book in hand. The talented Wellington scene brings a variety to the table, with costumers and dancers doing their thing to avoid mere traditional poses, and some pictures are simply breathtaking. Rachel Rouge began Dr Sketchy Wellington in 2009, and will be retiring in October of this year.
Venus Starr will be taking the reins of Dr Sketchy, with big boots to fill. Starr has over six years of circus performance under her belt from the Circus Trust in Miramar, in addition to lengthy stints teaching and performing worldwide on the burlesque and circus scene. Among her talents, she can do aerial silks, hula, and swinging trapeze, which she enjoys bringing to Burlesque in Wellington. She aims to bring a more circus-style feel to performances in Wellington, avoiding mere ‘striptease’ style shows for full, high calibre burlesque shows, often combining talents such as aerial silks, pole, or hula. In addition to this, in a moment of boredom when pregnant, the high energy Starr formed the monthly event Carousel Cabaret to remain active when unable to perform in the Wellington burlesque scene.
One of the best things about the Wellington burlesque scene, and Venus in particular, is that she knows most performers well enough to push the boundaries. Venus knows her performers’ limits and can tailor each session to each performer, and vice versa. Wellington Dr Sketchy artists are becoming well known for drawing more detailed, beautiful pictures owing to each performer’s ability to hold poses for five to seven minutes, as opposed to one or two. Combining this with a passion for extending the common view of burlesque as simply striptease, shows at Mighty Mighty combine a range of concepts appealing to increasing numbers of Wellingtonians. Rachel Rouge has organised her final Dr Sketchy to be Zombie themed, ending with the symbolic killing of Rouge by Starr, as she takes the spotlight.
Venus’ monthly Burlesque show, Carousel Cabaret, is a work of art combining traditional Burlesque with more circus-style entertainment, with a healthy dose of comedy. It is next held at Garden Bar at 7pm, August 26.
The next Dr Sketchy will be held at Mighty Mighty, from 4-7pm on Friday 12 August 2011.