Welcome to Bearlesque: Brand-new Burlesque Show to Debut at Tabu

The House that Ratchet Built is about to unveil its campy new burlesque show, featuring ... bears?

Connor Hesketh previews one of three outfits for his Saturday-night performances.

Corsets and jockstraps and bears — oh my!

Party planners Josh Schonewolf (who is also responsible for Ratchet Wednesdays — you be the judge of that one) and Connor Hesketh will launch the all-new Tabu event “Bearlesque” — yes, you’re reading that right — this Sat., May 25, starting at 10 p.m.

“We’re taking the bears into the spotlight,” says Hesketh, who came up with the idea a year ago. “We’re trying to rid of this common misconception that bears are nothing more than Bike Stop goers or gross, ugly men, and we’re doing that by putting these preconceived notions into a new reality — putting them in skimpy costumes with feather fans and Swarovski crystal underwear.”

Hesketh says the show will last for about two hours and feature a total of nine performances (including his own) to be spread throughout the night. Each performance will be less than five minutes and, more or less, be a surprise to everyone — including Hesketh and Schonewolf.

“I’m going to be as surprised as everyone else,” says Hesketh. “But I trust these people fully, and I trust that they’ll show up and be ready to perform.”

Hesketh first approached Schonewolf about organizing the event in February, and he immediately took to the idea.

“But I wanted him to think bigger,” says Schonewolf. “I don’t want this to be a one-and-done kind of thing. I’ve worked with Tabu before, and they felt my parties were fun and interesting, so they actually booked us [to produce “Bearlesque”] once a month. So it’s going to be a recurring event.”

Schonewolf expects the event (which has a $10 cover) to be packed to max-capacity come Saturday night, and to be a trigger for new ideas in Philly’s LGBT event spaces.

“I think it’s boring to do the same-old things,” says Schonewolf. “People sometimes say to me that they’re sick of drag shows, and I like doing … things you wouldn’t normally expect to happen at Tabu. To me, the weirder the better.”

“The thing is,” says Hesketh, “this is supposed to be campy. This isn’t about taking each other’s clothes off — it’s tongue-in-cheek. It’s meant to be light and fun, so that everyone can enjoy it.”

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