Burlesque-style elements sold Nick Cuti, a writer daylighting as judge, on Kina, aka Lotus Derringer, a 22-year-old exotic dancer from Los Angeles and newly reigning Miss Exotic World.
"She did all the classic burlesque moves nonstop," marvels Cuti. The classic moves, he explains, are the bump and grind, hootchy-kootchy, shimmy and tassel-twirling. "We like the old stuff," he says.
Kina credits Evans for her grounding in the classics. "Dixie is the only person from the old school I talk to about burlesque," she says.
For some spectators, burlesque is a piece of American popular culture, like baseball and apple pie.
"This was a subculture I missed," says a man from New Jersey. "Exotic World brings back this subculture, which at one time was probably looked down upon, and makes it more respectable today. In retrospect, this place is PG. If it were X-rated, I wouldn't come."
Still, the man from New Jersey doesn't want anyone else to know he's here. He won't give his name.
Some of the younger dancers are amazed that there is a such a place as Exotic World. Ophelia Flame, a 30-year-old stripper from Minneapolis and a first-time performer here, wasn't sure the place existed.
"It was kind of a running joke -- a bunch of strippers in the desert," she says. "But here I am." And, in her sleek black gown, dancing to the sounds of 1940s swing music, in a style she calls "Raw, Pow! Here I Am," Ophelia takes second place.
Dixie Evans dreams of a revival of burlesque. Few nightclubs present true burlesque today, she notes, but in the next millennium, people might rethink their values and lifestyles.
Until then, Evans is proud to be keeper of the flame. "I keep doing this for the young girls," she says. "I can tell in their eyes that they look up to me."
Pub Date: 6/12/99