book review – The Burlesque Handbook

October 16, 2010


The Burlesque Handbook by Jo "Boobs" Weldon


I will admit, I finished this book awhile ago, but with all the excitement of the NYBF and then 2 gigs and a photoshoot it took me a little while to get around to writing this review.  If you remember, I did a book review before for The Happy Stripper which I had mixed feelings about.

I’ve mentioned  Jo “Boobs” Weldon, the Headmistress of the School of Burlesque, on this blog before.  In fact, her clicky link thing on the bottom has quite a few entries already. Well, this is her book.  One part memoir, another part history lessons and a whole lot of how-to, this book is quite applicable to whatever one might be looking for in a burlesque book.  It works for the curious, the newbies and those already performing.  I wish I would have had this book when I first started getting into the world of Burlesque for I learned and read a lot about backstage etiquette and creating routines that I had to learn the hard way or have been struggling with.

Another great thing about the book is the way Jo makes you feel like you know all these performers as well.  She frequently discusses their acts, their advice and uses her own personal pictures, making it seem like you are looking through someone’s (fun and scandalous) scrap-book.


Photo by Murray Hill of Jo at her book release party (From Jo's facebook)


The only parts of the book that weren’t enthralling for me were her step by step instructions on the NYSoB routine and fan dance techniques, but that is only because I took the 4-week essentials burlesque class where I was taught these techniques and moves in person, so reading them, although a good reminder, just couldn’t live up to the real experience.  Really though, I think that says something about the Burlesque Handbook, the only negative was that I was given some of the information from the author herself!

If you want to see more about the book you can check out the table of contents and some excerpts from it on the School of Burlesque website.  The book is available for purchase on most online book vendors or, if you will be at a class or show where Jo might be, try shooting her an email ( and see if she’ll be selling them at the event, this way you can also score an autograph too!


One Response to “book review – The Burlesque Handbook”

  1. I saw the book in a shop, spent ages looking through it, went away, wanted it, bought a copy. Felt very inspired by it. Although, as you point out in the post after this one, there were the non-vegan bits.

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