Wednesday, July 18, 2007

When does a gimmick pass into the public domain?

As sort of a follow up to Jack's question from yesterday - when does a gimmick pass from being a signature act into the public domain?

We can credit certain performers as having pioneered a burlesque "thing" - the most obvious in my mind being Sally Rand and her feather fan dance. Her fan dance, once a signature act, is now part of the common language of our community. No one performer owns the idea, though there are many variations on the theme.

Satan's Angel, whose signature act involves twirling fire tassels, has been teaching workshops to a new generation of burlesque performers in her particular "thing." It is my understanding that despite passing on this technique to multiple parties, she is very protective of her signature act and only allows those with her permission to perform it, even from her own pool of students (hence a somewhat public kerfuffle post-Exotic World).

At what point does a gimmick become community property? When is it part of the vernacular?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, knowing both people involved in the Satan's Angel incident, I have to say that Satan's angel had been promising to hand over those fire tassels for years and frankly it's hard to imagine them in better hands,, on better those.

Despite the drama, I really hope these two can come to some kind of making-up. I do think that most people do think of the fire tassel act as something akin to the fan dance, but I do think that Satan's Angel should have followed through on her public promises a little better. I really do have the greatest respect for both women and know that no harm or disrespect was intentional by Desiré at EW.