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MICA’s EDS (Exhibition Development Seminar) class is doing big things!

Please click here to watch our Indiegogo campaign and consider donating.

Thank you for your consideration!

Performer Posters For Sale!

Lookin’ for a poster of your favorite performer in the Globe style?
Click here!

Burlesque Performers

Renowned professionals representing Baltimore
and the art, history, and culture of Burlesque.

To check out our performers: Click here!

Globe Letterpress

Baltimore’s Globe Poster, printers since
1929 to the stars of R&B, rock and hip hop.

If you’re looking for a custom poster the
Globe style: Click here!

Janelle Smith’s Artifact Collection

Blaze Starr, Blaze Starr’s sister Sheba Queen, Sol Goodman outside the 2 O’Clock Club
– issue from Cabaret magazine.

Click here to learn more about Janelle Smith.


Curatorial Statement

Workin The Tease: The Art of Baltimore Burlesque,  an exhibition in conjunction with a “Best of Baltimore: Night of Burlesque” opening night performance, celebrates Baltimore Burlesque through the perspectives of both historical and contemporary performers. Curated by the Exhibition
 Development Seminar (EDS) at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Workin’ the Tease  opens
 at the Lyric Opera House in April. This exhibition presents Burlesque in the theater, paying homage to Burlesque’s beginnings in Baltimore. The acts from these performance artists make connections between historical traditions and contemporary practice.

Exhibition Development Seminar Statement

Initiated in 1997 by Maryland Institute College of Art’s Curator-in-Residence George Ciscle, MICA’s Exhibition Development Seminar (EDS) is sequenced in two consecutive semesters with students from MICA’s undergraduate, graduate, and continuing studies divisions, and from other area colleges and universities. The goal of EDS is to examine the curatorial process and explore new ways to engage artists, students, museums, galleries, and the Baltimore community. It provides students with the opportunity to be involved with and assume leadership in every aspect of a major exhibition, including research, planning, and production. After dividing into teams, students collaborate with one another and their mentors in order to bring the exhibition to life. Through this process, they gain both technical skills and invaluable experiences from extensive hands-on curatorial work.

“If a thing is worth doing, it is
worth doing slowly . . . very slowly.”
-Gypsy Rose Lee


Overview of Baltimore Burlesque

Baltimore Burlesque has evolved in step with the city’s history. During the Golden Age of Burlesque in the first half of the 20th century, the section of East Baltimore Street referred to as The Block was home to a thriving Burlesque scene, composed of clubs like the Pussycat Club, The Gayety, Club Charles, and The Chanticleer. The success of Burlesque on the Block was attributed to the dynamic mix of social classes in club audiences and a strong police presence.

Baltimore legend Blaze Starr became a fixture on the Block in the 1940s and began headlining the Two O’Clock club in the 1950s. Eventually Starr purchased the club and began performing onstage during the day while running the business by night.

As Burlesque gradually lost its audience to movies, television, and other forms of entertainment, the Block transformed into an area that was more known for its strip clubs and sex shops. Nudity was more commonplace, and typical performances became more about the removal of clothes than narrative, satire, or other elements of the traditional Burlesque act. The ascendancy of hardcore pornography and other factors eventually contributed to the demise of Burlesque.

In recent years, as Baltimore’s arts and theater culture has begun to take on a DIY aesthetic, Burlesque has seen a revival, moving into new spaces and venues. Currently, Baltimore Burlesque is indicative of the inclusive and accessible culture of the city through its multiples genres and diverse performers. This current resurgence has jump-started an entire sub-culture, including niche genres such as queerlesque, boylesque, side show, and vaudeville, all of which continue to thrive in Baltimore today.

The Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric Opera House

For more than a century, the Lyric Opera House has been one of Baltimore’s most lively and important institutions. The Lyric Opera House opened its doors on October 31, 1894. The theater housed a variety of events, acts and performers which added to its acclaim. But the glory of the Lyric has always been music; the scores of musical greats, the world’s great orchestras, opera companies, soloists, ballet stars and conductors,. taking advantage of its world-renowned acoustics. It was this dedication to music that kept the Lyric alive during more difficult times. The Lyric faced a challenge when their primary tenant, The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, left their stage in 1982. However, the Lyric became a more viable facility for a variety of shows. By the early 1990’s, the Lyric had a new identity – the Baltimore home of Broadway and opera.

The Lyric’s auditorium has been registered on the National Register of Historic Places since 1986. The exterior of the facility, however, remains free of the Register’s guidelines so modernization can continue without restriction. Not only is The Lyric a cultural and architectural landmark, it is a world landmark when judged in terms of its sound. Baltimore’s Lyric Opera House has hosted a steady stream of great moments since 1894 and will continue to be the cultural and entertainment capital of the state of Maryland. The Lyric Opera House underwent an extensive back-stage renovation during 2010-2011 and was renamed in honor of a large gift from the Modell family. The Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric is one of Baltimore’s oldest and most venerable institutions. Modernizing and enriching the landmark theater, the dramatic, innovative design reshaped the midtown skyline. With this expansion, the Modell Lyric is now able to accommodate grand opera sets that were not possible in the past. The completion of this final phase of the Modell Lyric’s renovation provides a world-class home for grand opera, the world’s greatest performers, and full-scale productions.

Globe Letterpress at MICA

Globe posters were truly the people’s posters. For more than 80 years, they brightened city street corners and telephone poles, country crossroads and union halls, shouting the names of bands and the dates of carnivals up and down the East Coast. A Globe poster made people look, deploying bright inks and bold typefaces that shook and shimmied.

Founded in 1929, Globe grew by leaps, bounds, and bold swatches of DayGlo color into one of the nation’s largest showcard printing companies. Starting with vaudeville, movies, Burlesque, and carnival, Globe found its groove in the 1960s with posters for top R&B and rock acts like James Brown, Otis Redding, and Ike and Tina Turner. In 1975, Joseph Cicero, Sr., a longtime employee of the company, purchased Globe Poster from owner Norman Shapiro. Cicero’s sons, Frank and Joe, Jr., followed their father into the business, carrying Globe’s iconic style forward into the rap, hip-hop, and go-go scenes.

With demand for posters dwindling in this digital age, the Cicero brothers decided to close up shop in 2010. But Baltimoreans and students aware of Globe’s legacy formed a Friends of Globe group to find a new home for the company’s treasures. Because of that vision, the desire of the Ciceros to keep Globe in Baltimore, and MICA’s creative thinking, Globe did not die. Truckloads of wood type, letterpress cuts, and other tools of the trade moved from Highlandtown to MICA in the summer of 2011, and when the fall semester started that year, Bob Cicero began teaching a new generation of artists how to make a poster “pop.”


Trixie Little and The Evil Hate Monkey
Doctor Ginger Snapz
Dolly Longlegs
GiGi Holliday
Hot and Bothered
Kay Sera
Maria Bella
Mourna Handful
Paco Fish
Sunny Sighed and Bal'd Lightning
Tapitha Kix
Valeria Voxx
Chérie Nuit
Sean Scheidt
Best of Baltimore

Opening Night

Best of Baltimore: Night of Burlesque

The Best of Baltimore pays homage to past and current performers on the Modell Lyric opera stage, tracing the history from the mid-20th century Golden Age to contemporary performers. The night showcases some of the best on the Baltimore Burlesque scene: Gigi Holiday, Maria Bella, Shortstaxx, Tapitha Kix, Sunny Sighed and Bal’d Lighting, Paco Fish, Valeria Voxx, Dolly Longlegs, Mourna Handful, Dr. Ginger Snapz, Kay Sera, Hot and Bothered, and Trixie Little and The Evil Hate Monkey who are also hosting the event. The “Best of Baltimore” also serves as the exhibition opening for Workin’ the Tease: The Art of Baltimore Burlesque, which celebrates the history of Burlesque through the performers.

The Workin’ the Tease  exhibition opens April 22nd at 5pm. The Best of Baltimore begins at 7pm and ends at 9pm.

Visit our eventbrite to order free tickets for our opening night and check out our indiegogo to help continue support our show


Area 405 Fundraiser

This ticketed event will include live Burlesque performances, music, a themed dinner, auctions of merchandise and artwork. Proceeds from this event will help EDS further our development of Workin’ the Tease and will kick off our celebration of Baltimore’s incredible Burlesque scene.
Click here to check out our fundraiser’s online ticket leap.

Area 405 Fundraiser

Saturday, March 1st. Area 405. 7-10pm
405 E Oliver St. Baltimore, MD 21202

Hair and Burlesque

Workin’ the Tease and Bolton Hill’s Beehive Hair Salon team up for an evening of hair, make-up and costuming in the Burlesque style. Come be entertained while learning about the aesthetic culture surrounding Burlesque, including hair styles and costume staples like the pasty and the corset, from local Burlesque performers.

Hair and Burlesque

Friday, March 7th. Graduate Studio Center. 6-9pm
131 W North Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201

A Taste of Burlesque with the Pros

Workin’ the Tease and MICA’s own Burlesque Troupe are opening the doors for non-MICA community members to come get a taste of the world of Burlesque, while learning about the concepts behind creating a storyline, character development, costume fabrication, dance, and performance. This fun and informative workshop will feature Burlesque performers as teachers, and guest speakers to share their experience as well as tips and tricks on making your own Burlesque costume. Participants will learn how to use their bodies in dancing and performance to create a character and convey a story.

Burlesque Workshop

Friday, March 28th. MICA Fitness Center. 6-9pm.
1501 Mt Royal Ave. Baltimore, MD 21217

Baltimore Undresses Burlesque

A panel discussion featuring local performers giving valuable insight into the theories that inspire their performances, and the ways in which they use their bodies to tell stories. Audience members are invited to ask questions, and take the opportunity to get to know the performers as artists and everyday Baltimore residents. Attendants of “Baltimore Undresses Burlesque” will receive special insight into the exciting world of Burlesque before the opening of Workin’ the Tease.

Burlesque Panel

Thursday, April 17th. Falvey Hall. 4-6pm
1301 W Mt Royal Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217

Best of Baltimore

To celebrate the gallery opening, we will be hosting a “Best of Baltimore” Night of Burlesque on the main stage of the Lyric Opera House. Baltimore-based Burlesquers have created a series of acts inspired by Charm City. Not only do these acts pay homage to Baltimore, they also illustrate the growth of Burlesque throughout history by representing Burlesque sub-groups such as neo-Burlesque, boolesque, boylesque, acroburlesque, and more!

Best of Baltimore

Tuesday, April 22nd. Modell Lyric Opera House.
5-9pm 140 W Mt Royal Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201

Globe Poster Collection:
New Perspective on Baltimore Burlesque

This program welcomes participants to learn about Baltimore printing history, while gaining an appreciation and understanding of historical Burlesque posters through printing their own. Held in MICA’s own Dolphin Building, the home of Globe Letterpress’ historical block collection, this workshop allows for participants to design their own dance/Burlesque poster through a contemporary perspective.
Click here to learn more about MICA and the Globe collection!

Poster Workshop

Sunday, April 27th. Dolphin Building. 10am-1pm
1000 Dolphin St. Baltimore, MD 21217

Special Thanks

Curatorial Practice

Exhibition Development Seminar would, literally, be nothing without its founder, George Ciscle. George created EDS to provide artists with the opportunity to learn all aspects of the process of producing an exhibition. Curatorial Practice faculty, Jeffry Cudlin and Marcus Civin, and Graduate Teaching Intern, Caitlin Melvin-Tucker provided feedback and advice in class sessions throughout the academic year. Their experience was valuable in the development of Workin’ the Tease.

Click here  to learn more about the program.

Friends of EDS

Friends of EDS is the institutional account where Exhibition Development Seminar receives direct donations. These donations come from anonymous donors, EDS Alumni, MICA Alumni, friends, and family of EDS Members. These donations give us the means to implement educational events, create, and publicize our exhibition.

Click here  to learn more.

EDS Mentors

Our sub-teams could not have been as successful without the help of our mentors: Jeremy Hoffman  (Design), Kate Barutha  (Education), Sandy Triolo  (Website), Kriston Capps  (Communications), and Jeffry Cudlin  (Management and Curatorial). They contributed their time to attend meetings, class presentations, and educational events. Their expertise and insight prepared us for the hurdles we encountered during the early stages of our planning.

Click on their names to learn more about each mentor.

Area 405

Area 405 is a non-profit, historic warehouse, committed to supporting and strengthening the Station North Arts and Entertainment District in the heart of Baltimore. Area 405 provides studio spaces, gallery space and event space for working Baltimore artists. EDS would like to thank Stewart Watson and Kim Farmer of Area 405 for their time and dedication to Workin’ the Tease, and also for housing our March 1st fundraiser.

Click here  to learn more about Area 405.

Sugar the Shop

Sugar the Shop is a mission driven sex toy store that provides a shame-free, sex positive environment for customers of all genders, orientations, and race to embrace their own unique sexuality. EDS thanks Sugar the Shop for working with us during our March 1st fundraiser, and continued interest in Workin’ the Tease.

Click here  to learn more about Sugar the Shop.

The Modell Lyric Opera House

For more than a century, the Modell Lyric Opera House has been one of Baltimore’s most lively and important institutions. Since its beginnings, the Lyric has become a more viable facility for a variety of shows. EDS would like to thank Cathy Grayson and Michelle Modell of The Lyric for allowing Workin’ the Tease to be housed in this beautiful and historic Baltimore landmark.

Click here  to learn more about the Modell Lyric Opera House.

Globe Poster Collection

EDS would like to thank Globe Poster Collection, MICA alum Allison Fisher and faculty Mary Mashburn for sharing their skill, space, and love of Globe. Without their generosity to Workin’ the Tease, our entire aesthetic would have been lacking a huge, integral, part of Baltimore art and culture.

Click here  to learn more about the Globe Poster Collection.

Burlesque Performers

This exhibition would have been virtually impossible without the creative power of the past and present Baltimore Burlesque performers. EDS and Workin’ the Tease is grateful for the creativity of each performer and commitment they have to the art of Baltimore Burlesque.

Click here  to learn more about the performers.

The Burlesque Hall of Fame  documents the history of American Burlesque and honors contemporary Burlesque through its annual Miss Exotic World Pageant.

Sean Scheidt  is a photographer whose current project, juxtaposing Burlesque performers in their everyday clothes with their costumes, will be showcased in Workin’ the Tease.

Janelle Smith,  collects Burlesque memorabilia and researches the lives of Burlesque performers from the 1940s-50s. EDS thanks her for generously lending artifacts to the exhibition, and for her guest essay contribution to our catalog.

Click on their names to learn more about each of our contributors.

Dr. Lucky  is a Burlesque performer, instructor, producer, curator, and host. Her alter ego is published and presents regularly at academic conferences. EDS thanks Dr. Lucky for collaborating with us during our event, “Baltimore Undresses Burlesque” and for her guest essay contribution to our catalog

Ms. Aishia Bee  is a well-known Baltimore hairdresser. While her salon was unfortunately closed, she still maintains a dedicated and professional work ethic, and love for hair styling. EDS would like to thank her for her time and creativity during our event, “Hair and Burlesque.”

Click on their names to learn more about each of our educational program partners.

The MICA Health and Wellness Center   hosts a variety of classes and programs to help students maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle. EDS would like to thank them for collaborating with us on our event, “A Taste of Burlesque With the Pros”.

MICA’s Burlesque Troupe, also known as the GalHaus Revue is a group inspired by and dedicated to all things Burlesque. EDS thanks the GalHaus Revue for their continued support and collaborations throughout our process.

Click on their names to learn more about each MICA organization.

EDS Class of 2013-14

The EDS class of 2013-2014 has been dedicated to Baltimore Burlesque, its art and history since our first day. This group of intelligent, creative, and hardworking individuals have made great strides to create the exhibition that is Workin’ the Tease: The Art of Baltimore Burlesque. EDS is proud to share this exhibition with the public and begin what they hope can be a revived and thoughtful conversation on Baltimore Burlesque.

Click here  to learn more about our program.

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