When Las Vegas first boomed, the frontier town played up its Wild West feel. But as the dusty roadway became the neon-lit Strip, Vegas Vic, a 40-foot neon cowboy that towered over Fremont Street and represented the city’s western-themed attractions, was bumped for the bejeweled, bright-plumaged showgirl. The city never glanced back over its bare shoulder, instead embracing the "Va va voom!" we have come to expect from Vegas.
Early on, the casinos featured burlesque dancers in the lounges and showrooms — everyone from Gypsy Rose Lee to Lili St. Cyr to Candy Barr shimmied through Sin City. But things would never be the same after burlesque impresario Harold Minsky opened “Minsky’s Follies” at the Dunes in early 1957. The show borrowed from vaudeville, Broadway, burlesque and Paris, but what made it a real knock-out success was that “Minsky’s Follies” was the first Vegas show with bare-breasted dancers.
Other shows quickly followed and “Minsky’s Follies” became the model for what we consider the standard Vegas revue. One such show remains current burlesque queen Dita Von Teese’s favorite.
“ ‘The Crazy Horse Paris’ at MGM is by far the sexiest, most chic revue in all of Las Vegas,” says Von Teese. “The girls, who are mainly French and Russian ex-ballerinas, have incredible dance talent and exotic beauty. They keep the ideal of the ‘glorified girl’ alive. I have never seen another Vegas revue that manages to create such mystique, glamour and sex appeal.”
Today, the sexy side of Vegas simmers at almost every spot. Whether it’s a traditional revue, a burlesque-themed nightclub or an acrobatic marvel, Vegas is ready to tease and tantalize.
Revues run the gamut from the traditional like the "Folies Bergere" to the saucy aerial moves of "Zumanity." There’s something for everyone, whether it’s the hunky Australian men at "Thunder Down Under" for the women or the bedroom-inspiring scenes at "Fantasy" for couples.
Nightclubs get in on the sexy scene as well. Hot spots like Forty Deuce, the Pussycat Dolls Lounge and Tangerine add a little bump ‘n’ grind to your typical night out on the town. As party-goers sip cocktails and mingle, burlesque dancers appear on stage to shake things up to a live band. And over at the Playboy Club gamblers toss cards with lovely dealers decked out in bunny costumes.
“Every one of us has our own tastes and opinions on what it means to be sexy, so I would say to try lots of things and decide for yourself,” suggest Von Teese. “You can see a classic Vegas show like ‘Jubilee,’ a risque burlesque-style revue like ‘The Crazy Horse Paris,’ and maybe a Cirque Du Soleil show.”
From the traditional to the modern, we’ve compiled a list in our slide showthat will make you go ooh-la-la throughout Las Vegas.