Branch Blog - Las Vegas, NV
Thu, July 22, 2010 • Las Vegas Dr. Sketchy’s in the View News
By AMANDA LLEWELLYN VIEW STAFF WRITER
Burlesque performer Cha Cha Velour considers herself an ambassador of all things pleasureful and debaucherous. Tightly clutching an all-tease, no-sleaze attitude as though it were a shiny, new designer handbag, the longtime Las Vegas resident said her goal is to herald the promise and splendor of artistic expression to the masses while gaining some notoriety as a performer.
It was the quest for that notoriety that led Velour to pursue rights to host the infamous Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, which began in New York in 2005 and is now known internationally.
The life-drawing class features games, prizes and a burlesque or performance art model, who performs and then poses for photographers, artists and barflies during a three-hour drawing session.
A registered cardiology nurse by day and renegade tattooed striptease artist by night, Velour said she understands the plight of Clark Kent, Superman's alter ego.
"All the mystery adds to the notoriety and mystique of what I do, though," she said.
The Las Vegas Dr. Sketchy's, which meets from 7 to 10 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month, has been going for nearly two years but recently gained a new home in the form of the trendy, downtown karaoke hotspot Dino's Lounge, 1516 Las Vegas Blvd. South.
"We were at The Aruba for the longest time, but late last year this opportunity presented itself and I had to jump at it," Velour said. "Dino's is a great place, and I think it has just the right ambience for what we're trying to accomplish with these events."
Admission is free. Velour said participants don't need to be professional artists, but they do need to be 21 or older.
Velour said Dr. Sketchy's events are so well-known in burlesque communities around the world that running the Las Vegas incarnation earns her instant recognition among fellow striptease artists.
"I introduce myself and tell people that I run the event here, and they immediately know what I'm talking about," she said. "Then they know that I'm the real deal."
Velour said her motivation for hosting the event is not purely for self-promotion.
"I think we need more events like this in Las Vegas," she said. "It exposes people to something new. It gives performers a venue to show their stuff, and it promotes the arts. It's all good."
Contortionist and circus performer Stephanie Castellone said the April event was the first time she'd had an opportunity to pose for the class but that she would love to do it again.
"It was a really great gig," she said.
Castellone said she has been friends with Velour for a long time and was thrilled when the burlesque beauty opted to plug her into the model spot for the month.
"It's the kind of event that caters to artists and photographers," she said. "They get to practice their skills. Even the amateurs get excited, and there's a great vibe. I plan to pose again towards the end of the year."
Velour said models are not nude, and at the very least they wear pasties and a G-string.
"Usually, there's a performance and then a posing session in one costume, a break, and then the model comes back in another costume," she said.
Velour said she has yet to see anyone bring paints or sculpting tools to the event, but such mediums would be welcome.
"There's drinking, drawing, games and debauchery," she said. "That's kind of our motto."
For more information about Dr. Sketchy's nationally, visit www.drsketchy.com. For details about the local Dr. Sketchy's, visit lasvegasdrsketchys.blogspot. com, twitter.com/lvdrsketchys or www.facebook.com/pages/las-vegas-dr-sketchys-anti-art-school/457245525211.
Contact North Las Vegas and Downtown View reporter Amanda Llewellyn at [email protected] or 380-4535.