Midtown Village’s Franky Bradley’s and Fishtown’s Fabrika welcome live burlesque shows back to Philly.
There is an ongoing discussion about all the things that are coming back this summer, live, in an almost mask-less, near-post-pandemic setting: concerts, indoor dining, theater, up-close-and-personal arguments. One aspect of live and daily life that we all missed is the ingenious to Philly brand of burlesque we put forth. Burlesque obviously goes back centuries, if not millennia. But, in Philadelphia, we held the note to burlesque houses such as the late, great Trocadero and modernized the tradition with the world-renowned Peek A Boo Revue. So deal with that.
This week, live burlesque and drag performance (a genre deserved of its own pages in Philly) in a dining-and-drinking setting return hard at two of the city’s semi-strip-and-tease salons, Franky Bradley’s in downtown Philly, and the fresh-paint-smelling Fabrika in Portfisington.
Franky Bradley’s, Mark Bee’s kitsch-filled restaurant and saloon in Midtown Village, has long benefited from its relationship to and with Peek A Boo Revue co-founder Count Scothula, with their host nights at Bee’s other vintage-focused boite, Silk City. Starting Thursday, July 1, Scotchula presents Hope Strips Eternal, an “elaborate burlesque show including a raffle, prizes, and drink specials and continues the festivities with Snatcherella 3000, a nine-week performance competition, ongoing throughout late summer.” Hosted by Sophie Sucre and Flirt Vonnegut, the burlesque event first welcomes Glitter and Garbage to the stage before Philadelphia-based Drag Queens and Kings such as Hannibal Licker, Foxworth Vorn, and Jaeda Mei drop by. After July 1’s re-burlesque comes Franky Bradley’s Snatcherella 3000 beginning Wednesday, July 21. The nine-week performance competition features Philly-famous performers competing every Wednesday for the Snatcherella title with a cash prize of $500, “the sought-after crown, a laundry list of bookings, and some arranged flowers.” Plus, an esteemed panel of judges from Philly’s iconic LGBTQA+ entertainment community (Eric Jaffe, Icon Ebony Fierce, Pi, Vinchelle, and The Moon Baby) jump on board for host duties.
Along with just opening a new dining concept underneath its covered outdoor space (Terrassa, and its menu of international and shareable plates from Chef Shain Wancio), the cabaret-burlesque haunt along Frankford Avenue, just started its live jazz Wednesdays with the launch of CHOPS – a jazz series featuring the likes of pianist and composer Luke O’Reilly and Samara Joy McLendon, winner of 2019’s Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition and welcomes an Independence Day Drag Brunch with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star (and that season’s Miss Congeniality) LaLa Ri on Sunday, July 4 with Philly drag queen host Eric Jaffe (starting at 2 p.m.).
Add that to the supper club’s usual nightly jugglers smugglers, contortionists, and burlesque dancers performing near, or in, a bathtub while whole roasted goat and stuffed turnips fill the menu, and Fabrika maintains its fabulousness throughout the summer.