Home Arts & Leisure Shelton debates proposed opening of burlesque café

Shelton debates proposed opening of burlesque café

Now, here is something that you don’t see every day: a debate on whether a “burlesque café” is an appropriate addition to a business community.

Shelton’s Planning and Zoning Commission is meeting on Nov. 14 to determine how to proceed on Hush, a proposed entertainment venue for 303 Old Bridge Ave., in the lower level of the building occupied by the Hunan Pan restaurant. Randi Lee England, the owner of the proposed business, claimed that she was inspired by the movies “Burlesque” and “Moulin Rouge” and insisted that she was seeking to recreate the old-school burlesque revues that flourished in the mid-20th century rather than an adult entertainment outlet.

shelton hush burlesque
The legendary Lili St. Cyr became a national icon via her 1950s burlesque stage shows.

“It’s not about being naked,” she said in an interview with the Valley Independent Sentinel. “It’s retro. It’s vintage. It’s a tease. It’s all about the theatrics. It’s not taking your clothes off.”

Hush received a café liquor license in April that enabled her to present acoustic and DJ-hosted performances, along with karaoke, standup comedy and theatrical shows. England still requires a zoning compliance certificate from the city before Hush can be opened.

However, the notion of burlesque entertainment appears to have scant support in Shelton’s city government. Mayor Mark Lauretti said he was unaware of the business until he heard about it via Facebook, and promised to shut down any adult entertainment presentation.
Ruth Parkins, chairwoman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, said the State Liquor Control Division did not consult with her office when it granted Hush its liquor permit, adding that any entertainment on the premise would take place with fully-clothed performers. “Adult entertainment venues are not the type of business wanted in Shelton, nor one that I would ever personally support,” she said in a statement.


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