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A Rollicking Adventure in the Land of the Sweets

My wife seemed astonished by how easily I agreed to go see Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker. Then again, she was also surprised to learn that I didn’t mind watching America’s Next Top Model with her. Go figure. We were looking for a reason to go downtown and step out for the holidays but something as formal as the ballet is not how we roll. Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker was perfect.

Last night we headed downtown to The Triple Door to witness a rollicking, frolicking, unabashed and uninhibited celebration of the season. The show is immensely entertaining and guaranteed to put a smile on your face and cheer in your heart. If you are straight-laced and uptight, this might not be your cup of tea. You should stay home if you are easily offended by, or afraid of, nudity. If you are intolerant, close-minded, or just plain old-fashioned, then Land of the Sweets is going to completely freak you out. If you’re up for it, this holiday hootenanny will set your Christmas spirit right. Come on, take that walk.

To begin with, one major advantage of attending any show at The Triple Door is that it provides an opportunity to drink Backstage Ale by Elysian Brewing. This beer, formulated specifically to accompany The Triple Door’s menu of Pan-Asian delights, is simply delicious. With just a hint of juniper, this Pale Ale is dry and spicy, pairing perfectly with things like Pot Stickers (perhaps the best pot stickers ever), fragrant duck sliders, and Sichuan green beans. Here’s a tip: happy hour at The Triple Door is the best deal in town. Check it out.

And now back to the show.

Now in its sixth year, Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker runs through December 27th. There are two shows each night (7:00 and 10:00). All of the early shows are sold out. The remaining tickets for the late shows will go fast. You can get tickets online at but I recommend contacting the ticket office by phone at (206) 838-4333. Ticket prices range from $30 to $45.

I don’t know what goes through your mind when you think of burlesque. I don’t know what burlesque shows were like back in their heyday but I know what they are like now. There is something charming, seductive and old fashioned about burlesque. At the same time, there is something very contemporary about a show like Land of the Sweets. It is hard to explain. I am guessing that 100 years ago burlesque shows did not feature men in leotards dancing on point. I am equally certain they DID featured mostly naked women doing a feather-fan dance.

Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker lends little devotion to the famous Christmas ballet. There are hints here and there to the basic story but for the most part any reference to Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet is purely a means to an end. Yes, there is a Rat King. Yes, there is a dance by the Sugar Plum Fairy, a character played by the incomparable Miss Indigo Blue. Beyond that, don’t expect anything too familiar.

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Speaking of Miss Indigo Blue, her performance alone is worth the price of admission. She walked away with top honors at the Burlesque Hall of Fame this year and is the reigning Queen of Burlesque. In the world of burlesque, she is an international superstar: an entertainer, an educator, and an ambassador for her art. It is hard to explain exactly what we saw her do last night. Just thinking of it makes my head turn like I’m watching a wheel go round and round. While men will find her unique skills spellbinding, women will say (did say), “How in the world does she do that?” Know this; she gets them spinning in opposite directions.

Miss Indigo Blue is one of the top burlesque performers in the world; however, she does not upstage her fellow performers in Land of the Sweets. Everyone holds their own in the presence of the reigning Queen. Your host for the evening is Charles Drosselmingus, a charter that reminded me of Harry Connick Jr., with a little bit of Mel Torme and Rhett Butler thrown in for good measure. He introduces the acts and carries the show between performers.

I found Land of the Sweets to be charming and cute in a very naughty sort of way. To call it fun would be an unforgivable understatement. You will laugh, you will holler, you will be immensely entertained. Of course I am assuming you are not some kind of hopeless prude.

If you are not able to make it to Land of the Sweets, have no fear. This spring The Triple Door hosts Through the Looking Glass: The Burlesque Alice in Wonderland. I am already imagining the Queen of Hearts in a G-string and pasties.




  1. Too funny. I was driving down Union last night and was waiting to turn south onto 2nd when I looked over I saw the Washington Beer Blog-mobile with Kim behind the wheel. You guys must have been leaving the early show.

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