CoolCLE PODCAST #35: Rust Belt Burlesque with Erin O’Brien

On this episode, we have Erin O’Brien, co-author of a new book chronicling burlesque entertainment in Cleveland called Rust Belt Burlesque – The Softer Side of a Heavy Metal Town, which is out now. It traces the history of burlesque in Cleveland from the mid-1800s to the present day, while also telling the story of Bella Sin, a Mexican immigrant who largely drove Northeast Ohio’s neo-burlesque comeback. The historical center of Cleveland burlesque was the iconic Roxy Theater on East Ninth Street. Here, in its 20th-century heyday, famed dancers like Blaze Starr and comics like Red Skelton and Abbott and Costello entertained both regulars and celebrity guests.

Erin O'Brien
Erin O’Brien – Photo © Bob Perkoski,

Erin O’Brien’s lively storytelling and Bob Perkoski’s color photos give readers a peek into the raucous Ohio Burlesque Festival that packs the house at the Beachland Ballroom every year. Today’s burlies come in all shapes, ethnicities and orientations, drawing a legion of adoring fans.

O’Brien will be doing book signings Thu 7/11 @ 6:30-8 pm at B-Side Liquor Lounge in Cleveland Heights and Sun 7/21 @ 1-3pm at Loganberry Books on Larchmere Blvd.

Kevin Conaway

We also have music from Kevin Conaway (pictured above), who will be performing at Geneva-on-the Lake Brewing on Fri 7/12.

The Scenic Route

And a new track from Canton’s The Scenic Route (pictured above), who will be playing live at Gametime Bar & Grill in Canton on Fri 7/12 and Women Rock CLE at the House of Blues on Sat 7/20.

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