South Beach has a whole weekend devoted to celebrating its Art Deco architecture. But, damn it, the little strip of mainland just across the causeway needs love for its buildings too. The Upper Eastside is pretty much the only place in the world where you can find a concentration of Miami Modernist, or MiMo, buildings.
Dating from the '50s and '60s, the style took the clean lines of popular postwar architecture and then, of course, Miami-fied them by adding brighter colors, squigglier lines, and loopier, more off-kilter forms. To celebrate the funky structures and the burgeoning walkable neighborhood in which they stand, boosters have revived the annual MiMo Madness Festival, which takes place all day Saturday along Biscayne Boulevard from 66th to 72nd Street.
In the morning, bring the kiddies for free yoga in Legion Park, a kids' talent show, a circus workshop, and more. After noon, though, hire a babysitter, because things will get a little more grown-up. There will be live music by neo-vaudeville girl-band BabyHairs and hillbilly punkers Bosie Bob and His Backyard Band, a circus and sideshow, and even a retro-sexy afternoon performance by Cupcake Burlesque.
We love a little burlesque in the daytime, so we caught up with Jenna Beth, the Cupcake Burlesque's founder, for the rundown. Her troupe performs at 3 p.m. this Saturday at L.A. Boudoir, 6900 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.
New Times: How did you get started dancing in general, and what eventually drew you to burlesque in particular?
Jenna Beth: Like every other girl I did ballet. When I was 19 I started East Coast swing, which turned into Lindy hop. But that got me interested in the whole vintage look and culture. I loved dressing up in the '40s look.
I started pinup modeling about five years ago and that can tend to go hand-in-hand with burlesque, and the burlesque I've been doing for a year now and love it. I love the costumes and performing, and the fact women of any body type can do it and feel sexy without being trashy.
What is the biggest misconception people have about burlesque? How risque do the shows actually get?
Hahaha, yeah we get this a lot. People that don't know what burlesque really is confuse it with stripping. Yes, in both, some clothes come off, but that's about it. We don't get completely naked. Most of the time it's just down to pasties and panties, and most of the time there are tights or stockings under the panties.
Our shows can range from PG to R, depending on the audience. If we have a request to keep a certain amount on, we do. We danced for a large party once where the crowd was from 18 to 80 years old, so instead of provocative, we can be more cute or funny. It just depends on the requests.
Does each girl choreograph her own solo routine, or do you all work together? How do you come up with the concept and costumes for each piece?
Each girl does her own routine and practices it on her own. If we do a group routine, obviously that takes a little practice together. The costumes are mostly up to the individual girls, but I help them with putting things together, or borrowing things from the dressing room (AKA my closet).
How does Cupcake Burlesque stand out from the other burlesque troupes in the area? Are you friendly with any of the others?
There are a lot of troupes in South Florida! I'd say we try to keep it as classic as possible. I've done research and personally try to think of the old Miami supper clubs of the '40s and '50s when I come up with new routines. Sometimes we might use a current song here or there, but the style is classic burlesque.
We collaborate with a few other performers in the area. Or if one of my girls can't do a show, someone from another troupe might fill in, and vice versa.
Where can fans find you all performing either regularly, or one-off in the near future?
March 2 we will be perfroming on Channel 41 at 8 p.m. On March 19 we will perform up in West Palm at RJ's Restaurant and Lounge, and March 25 on a double ticket with another troupe at the Dive Bar in Fort Lauderdale. It's best just to add "Cupcake Burlesque " on Facebook to keep up with our schedule because we're always adding things.
When you're not performing with Cupcake Burlesque, what other projects do you have going?
A lot! I also co-own Cupcake Pinups, a local pinup photography studio. We're always doing shoots and various things. We offer full packages for anyone interested in getting some pinup photography done. They vary depending on how many outfits, sets, and images each client needs.
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I do the hair, makeup, wardrobe, styling, and directing, and my partner does the photography and editing. We're heading out to the Viva Las Vegas rockabilly lifestyle weekend this year and are so excited, as it will be our first time shooting clients in Vegas.
I myself still do some modeling on the side as well. I have another magazine feature coming out in a couple months, but I think all the past publications are on my Model Mayhem page. Cupcake Pinups can be found on Facebook as well for anyone interested in our pinup packages. So I'm happy to say I'm staying very busy doing things I love to do, I'm very thankful!