The Cupcake Cabaret: Zero Calorie Entertainment and a Whole Lotta Fun

By Malini Bartels

Everybody loves cake, right? Especially if it means dancing girls with glitter, fancy headdresses, feathers, bustles and kick lines. You don’t have to travel far to experience this classic style of entertainment. The Cupcake Cabaret is a Fort Collins-based burlesque troupe created in the winter of 2008 by founding members Julia DiVerdi (Lola Begonia), Allison Runyan (Holly deLite) and Emilie Ryan (Bettie Funfetti).
These women are quintessential performers. The use of a “stage name” or “burlesque name” allows the dancers to create a persona completely different from their real lives. It’s a tradition that has been around for a long time.
“I think some performers use a stage name to help them become somebody else. Martha Smith might be a soccer mom, but when she becomes Scarlet Derriere, she can lose herself in a new identity.” says Julia DiVerdi, the Cabaret’s current leader, choreographer and head seamstress. Julia also manages TribalTique, a local belly dancing troupe.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Jimmy “Fast Fingers” Gibson over the phone. When not performing on stage as the emcee for the Cupcake Cabaret, Jimmy is Julia’s husband. Jimmy was accompanying some dancers to TribalFest ’13, a national belly dancing convention in Sebastopol, CA.
During that time, I asked Jimmy what the difference was between stripping vs. strip tease burlesque. He very candidly responded, “At a strip club, the control over what is revealed lies with the client or audience. In a burlesque show, the control is in the hands of the performer. The burlesque performer decides what is revealed and what is left to the imagination. It’s all about timing.”
The Cupcake Cabaret is presenting an entirely new set of shows called Jimmy’s Friday Night Follies. These shows are one Friday a month through September. Doors open at 9pm, the show is at 10pm, it’s always sixdollars and always at Avo’s. The shows featuring “Jimmy” as the main attraction are more rowdy, bawdy and louder than the the performances featuring the ‘cakes. The Cupcake Cabaret will have a Burlesque Review at Avogadro’s Number on June 15 at 8pm. When the Cupcakes perform shows at Avogadro’s Number, they always sell out. These shows are $15 and each show has a different theme with elaborate costumes for all the girls, handmade by Lola (Julia) herself.
According to Julia, the Cupcake Cabaret performs shows at Avo’s for the simple fact that people like to come in, sit down, have a meal and watch a show. It’s an essential element of cabaret, vaudeville, and burlesque shows.
But what exactly is burlesque? Burlesque dancing is all about the art of tease. It’s a parody or caricature with skits to comically exaggerate something.
The Cabaret often performs alongside musicians and internationally renowned guest stripteases such as Orchid Mei and Vivianne VaVoom, who is widely considered the mother of Denver burlesque.
Recently, The Cabaret held auditions and added a few more performers to their lineup. Currently, the Cupcake Cabaret’s ‘cakes are Lola Begonia, Dulce Divine, Fiona de la Fleur, Lucky Lulu, Dixie deVille and a mysterious unnamed sixth Cupcake.
Curious about the Cupcake Cabaret?
Check out Avo’s website and call 970-493-5555 for advance tickets (recommended).
The upcoming Burlesque Spectacular is on June 15 at Avo’s, 8pm, $15 in advance.
For more information about The Cupcake Cabaret, you can call Julia at 970-214-0612, email [email protected] and visit the website

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