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Burlesque on the bar

Tassels, feathers, and fine wine at Rendarrio Vineyards Tasting Room

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Glitzy sequins, bejeweled pasties, fluffy feather boas, and stolen glimpses of naked flesh. Is this what you think of when someone suggests a weekend wine tasting excursion? If not, you are most certainly missing out on all of the naughty, haughty fun happening at Rendarrio Vineyards tasting room in Paso Robles.

You could live forever with the FOMO, or make a date for the winery's next burlesque and wine event, coming up Aug. 26 at the tasting room, open weekly Friday through Sunday.

Just make sure your heart is healthy enough to withstand the pure moxie radiating from this otherwise sleepy, industrial neighborhood.

LEGENDARY Burlesque on the Bar heats up the Rendarrio Vineyard tasting room this Aug. 26. Performers include Rouge de Sang (left); tasting room manager Liz Gillingham, aka, "Liz Glamazon,"(center); and Madam Minge (right). - PHOTOS COURTESY OF JASON HICKMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Photos Courtesy Of Jason Hickman Photography
  • LEGENDARY Burlesque on the Bar heats up the Rendarrio Vineyard tasting room this Aug. 26. Performers include Rouge de Sang (left); tasting room manager Liz Gillingham, aka, "Liz Glamazon,"(center); and Madam Minge (right).

When fellow burlesque performer and Rendarrio Vineyards tasting room manager Liz Gillingham named the ongoing showcase "Burlesque on the Bar," she deliberately aimed to conjure up a literal image.

The cozy tasting room seats about 40 people, and the body-positive performers really do dance on the bar, delivering expertly choreographed burlesque routines that range from coy and demure to bold and brazen. Music and unique storylines add to the experience, as do the spectacular costumes (and, of course, the wine).

"Telling a story in two-to-five minutes is not easy, so this is a huge creative outlet for these performers," Gillingham said. "When I come out into the audience afterwards, it feels good to hear from women who say, 'It was amazing to see women who look like me up there doing their thing.'"

As you may have already gathered, this is not a sleazy strip tease, and it's not all about S-E-X (self-love and self-acceptance are underlying themes). Think well-positioned fans, breakaway fabric that reveals just the right slice of skin at just the right moment, and lots of shimmering rhinestones that harken back to the days when a glimpse of stocking was truly looked at as "something shocking."

Inspired by Orange County-turned Central Coast winemaker Ryan Render's wine philosophy, #RoyalYetGangster, the show is classy, with a playful edge.

"Wine and paint nights didn't really seem like our style," Gillingham said during a recent phone interview. "I'm a member of the local burlesque troop SLO Tease, so I thought, 'Why not give these amazingly awesome dancers more opportunity to perform?' Some of the wine club members have never even been to a burlesque show before, so this is an interesting way to introduce people to a totally different art form."

The local ladies, many of whom come from professional dancer backgrounds, have created their own uniquely developed attitudes, personas, and glorious stage names.

The next show, Legends, offers up a romp through a mythological landscape with the likes of Eve Riot, Rouge de Sang, Galaxy, Madam Minge, and Stormy Merryweather, to name a few.

Gillingham, who performs under the name "Liz Glamazon," said that wine and burlesque are a natural pairing. This is not the kind of thing that would work as well in some dingy bar.

WINE WITH BODY Rendarrio Winery will host its fourth burlesque show this Aug. 26 at its cozy Paso Robles tasting room. The theme of the show, Legends, will feature mythological creatures portrayed by local burlesque performers Eve Riot, Rouge de Sang, Galaxy, Madam Minge, and Stormy Merryweather. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RENDARRIO WINERY
  • Photo Courtesy Of Rendarrio Winery
  • WINE WITH BODY Rendarrio Winery will host its fourth burlesque show this Aug. 26 at its cozy Paso Robles tasting room. The theme of the show, Legends, will feature mythological creatures portrayed by local burlesque performers Eve Riot, Rouge de Sang, Galaxy, Madam Minge, and Stormy Merryweather.

"The tasting room provides a classy, intimate environment," she said, adding that the wines—mostly dark, classic Rhones—lend themselves to the mystery of a good burlesque performance (which, let's face it, is all about the anticipation of skin, not the skin itself).

"People can get dressed up, come in, and check out the barrel room and experience the hidden side of the winery, as well as the hidden side of these female and—hopefully someday—male performers, too," Gillingham said.

Hear that guys? Rendarrio Winery wants you to take it off! But seriously, folks, there is power in performance and a sense of community that forms any time attendees and dancers meet for a drink. I mean, what's a bit of flesh between friends?

"These women are extremely empowered," Gillingham said. "We offer an opportunity for any body to be beautiful and celebrated. I feel amazing when I'm on stage and our performers do too. It's about feeling good in your own skin, telling a story, and inviting the crowd in on that journey." Δ

Hayley Thomas Cain wears rhinestones whenever she has the chance! She can be reached at hthomas@newtimesslo.com.


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