“This is a great way for women to showcase their talents other than just their body. But it’s nice to see their body, too.”
David Patrone has been supporting himself as a singer/promoter ever since he left the Marines as a Camp Pendleton–based staff sergeant in 2000. He started as a Frank Sinatra salute playing for casinos, weddings, and corporate gigs. Now he’s discovering the rewards of singing as a bebop jazz vocalist alongside the talented dancers and singers who populate San Diego’s thriving burlesque/cabaret scene.
“It can get a little off-color, but no one ever gets fully naked,” says Patrone. Once a month, he and his burlesque den mother, Lola Demure, host a Sunday-night revue at Jimmy Love’s downtown.
“In burlesque, the main focal point is striptease,” explains Demure. “With cabaret, its more like a Broadway show, where the emphasis is on singing, dancing, and comedy.”
The pair use both cabaret and burlesque at Jimmy Love’s. Patrone provides the live band. Lola provides the girls.
“Most burlesque performers dance to canned music,” says Patrone. “I want to bring back the essence of burlesque, where you dance to a live band. I want to bring back the authenticity.”
Demure, a former ballet dancer, says there is a thriving underground burlesque scene in San Diego. “You have Hell on Heels and Drop Dead Dames. There’s also Keyhole Cabaret.”
Patrone explains the difference: “If they come up onstage and wear a Victorian corset and sing, that’s cabaret. If they take off the corset, then it’s burlesque.”
Though Patrone entertains at the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla 6–9 p.m. every Friday and at Jimmy Love’s every Sunday from 8 to midnight, he says he moved to Nevada over a year ago.
“I live in Stateline, Nevada, near South Lake Tahoe. I like the Nevada political climate better. I don’t like what’s happening in California.
“There are an awful lot of taxes and regulations in California. If you book talent in California, you have to pay for a $50,000 bond just to get a license....”
Patrone says he still plays his weekend gigs in San Diego because it helps him get wedding and corporate gigs. “But I am considering making a complete move out of San Diego. If it rains or if the temperature falls below 55 degrees, you got crickets. The streets are empty except for the tourists.”