The Wickedest Girls in the World
October 23, 2005 11:56 AM   Subscribe

The Barrison Sisters, a vaudeville act of double entendres, would raise their puffy dresses to their knees and ask the audience, “Would you like to see my pussy?” They would reveal a kitten positioned in a pouch in their underwear. Here is a script from one of their performances. Lona Barrison, the group’s sultry leader, was involved in many affairs in Europe, including such auspices as Kaiser Wilhelm II, and also posed for mild erotica and a Toulouse-Lautrec painting. The Machinson Sisters were imitators from England.
posted by luckypozzo (13 comments total)
Fascinating post, luckypozzo.
posted by interrobang at 11:58 AM on October 23, 2005

[this is good]
posted by keswick at 12:01 PM on October 23, 2005

Um, isn't it against the law or something to create a link with the words "mild erotica" that doesn't click-thru to some pictures?
posted by oh pollo! at 12:26 PM on October 23, 2005

A Toulouse-Lautrec based theatre piece called Belle Epoque was recently presented at Lincoln Center. Ruth Maleczech's character seemed to be based on these women, she sang a song of "would you like to see my pussy."
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:28 PM on October 23, 2005

Another excellent post, luckypozzo - you find some interesting stuff, thanks.
(I like your name, too - some of my favorite dramatic characters!)
posted by madamjujujive at 12:32 PM on October 23, 2005

Okay. So. Could someone please explain to me the Nazi song? (You gotta scroll down; it's near the bottom of the page image.)
posted by Clay201 at 12:46 PM on October 23, 2005

That must be why Mrs. Slokum always talked about her pussy.
posted by mike3k at 2:18 PM on October 23, 2005

totally interesting--and who knew that slang was so old?

semi kinda related, and interesting too: "Joseph Pujol, le Petomane" (a farting performer at the Moulin Rouge)
posted by amberglow at 7:54 PM on October 23, 2005

Good post.

Vaudeville is pretty fascinating from all angles. I keep meaning to learn more about it, and I keep getting distracted by other projects. But it's the best argument out there that it wasn't TV that turned our brains to mush. Our brains were already mush, or we wouldn't have flocked to minstrel and vaudeville shows for 100 years.

[though I still believe in the superiority of live performance...]
posted by Miko at 8:14 PM on October 23, 2005

Les Triplettes de Belleville

"Plot Outline: When her grandson is kidnapped during the Tour de France, Madame Souza and her beloved pooch Bruno team up with the Belleville Sisters--an aged song-and-dance team from the days of Fred Astaire--to rescue him. "

See it.

The "Triplettes" seem in part based on the Barrison sisters, and "Les Triplettes...." picks up their career arc on the seedy downside of their declining years as they've taken to scrounging dinner via hand grenades thrown into frog ponds. But the sisters are redeemed by a quest - save the bicycle boy !

Brilliant. See it. You won't be sorry.
posted by troutfishing at 9:03 PM on October 23, 2005

Obviously before the days of Peta.
posted by HTuttle at 10:06 PM on October 23, 2005

A good book to read if you're interested in vaudeville and burlesque is Horrible Prettiness: Burlesque and American Culture. A lot of good accounts of various acts and a good timeline of the evolution of the genres.
posted by lychee at 12:17 PM on October 24, 2005


I was wondering if someone was going to bring up Le Petomane.

Wasn't there a movie featuring him with Leonard Rossiter...?

I wonder if the Germans got their Cabaret from the French or vice versa, and how it sort of morphed into vaudeville.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:48 PM on October 24, 2005

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