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Burlesque performers come together to support Planned Parenthood this weekend

L-R: Elektra Cute, photographed by Cassidy Kristiansen; Medianoche, photographed by Richard Marz

L-R: Elektra Cute, photographed by Cassidy Kristiansen; Medianoche, photographed by Richard Marz

Did you know that nearly every single day, rain or shine, there are protestors camped out outside of Planned Parenthood’s Minnesota headquarters, harassing people who just want to get some health care?

Burlesque producer and performer Elektra Cute discovered this lovely fact this week when she went to pick up some prizes and donations for this year’s Pink and White Ball, a burlesque extravaganza that will benefit the organization.

Cute started the fundraising performance last year, partly in response to the presidential election.

“A lot of artists were really scared that we were going to lose health care, that we were going to lose Planned Parenthood,” she says. “For some of us, that’s the only health care that we have. We don’t have regular day jobs where we have health care, so a lot of people use Planned Parenthood as a resource to make sure they have not only sexual health care but just health care in general.”

She wanted to produce an event that would take a stand, to be one small part of the resistance. “It was just a way of bringing the community together and instilling a little bit of hope and determination,” she says of last year's fundraiser. “It was just a nice reminder that we can do anything if we all come together.”

Cute produced her first burlesque show in 2010 after getting her start as a go-go dancer. Part of what drew her to burlesque is that it’s inherently a radical political act.

“Rather than being employees at a club or having men in charge of what we are doing, we’re the artists,” she says. “We’re in control of what we’re doing. I think that’s really powerful for us and for the audience to see that.”

Cute believes the burlesque scene here in the Twin Cities is incredibly strong. “We have a shockingly large burlesque community for being a relatively small market, and we have a lot of national talent here,” she says. “When I travel to other cities and I tell people I’m from Minneapolis, they get really excited because they know we have so many incredible performers here and big productions and it’s just a really diverse community.”

For the Pink and White Ball, Cute is bringing in national performers from places like Dallas, Seattle, and New York. Headlining is Medianoche, the reigning queen of burlesque. The evening is hosted by Foxy Tann, Nadine DuBois, and Victoria DeVille, and will feature one very specific message to Paul Ryan by a delightful entertainer. There will also be prizes, and appetizers and bites from the chef at Lush.

“It’s going to be beautiful and exciting and fun,” says Cute.

IF YOU GO:

Pink and White Ball for Planned Parenthood
8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
The Lab Theater
700 N. First St., Minneapolis
Tickets are $20-60;
thelabtheater.org