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The Independent Critic

 FEATURING
Angel Walker, Ginger Lynn Allen, Kitten Natividad, Michelle L'Amour, Terry Earp, Tara Mi Sioux
DIRECTED BY
Joshua M. Dragotta
MPAA RATING
Equiv. to "R"
RUNNING TIME
72 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Breaking Glass Pictures 
DVD EXTRAS
Extended Interviews; Promotional Footage; Photo Gallery; More
 "Satan's Angel: Queen of the Fire Tassels" a Fascinating Documentary 
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 If you're even remotely familiar with burlesque, then there's a pretty good chance you've at least heard of Angel Walker, also known as Satan's Angel. At the age of 67, Angel is still a legend in the world of burlesque. 

While those who oppose the art form might argue, burlesque is more than simply "stripping" - It's performance art that is sensual, sexual, hypnotic and, when done well, downright entertaining. It's an art form that began to die down here in the U.S. during the 1980's, a decade when it seemed like "stripping" took the place of the more nuanced burlesque. 

Directed by Joshua Dragotta, Satan's Angel: Queen of the Fire Tassels is an involving documentary about a woman whose 45 years in the business have rendered her one of the best and most enduring burlesque stars and certainly one who has been through hell and high water along the way. 

Angel may not have the body of a 20-year-old anymore, but she still possesses all those extraordinary qualities that have allowed her career to endure. This 73-minute documentary looks at her personal and professional ups and downs, ranging from being an "out" lesbian during a time when to be so could be personal and professional suicide to a more recent adventure involving an altercation during a performance that has had a negative impact on her still year-round performance schedule. 

The vast majority of the archival footage available in the film seems to be from the more recent years, a modest weakness for a film that is designed to celebrate Angel's 45-year career. Angel has some amazing stories to tell. 

Trippin' with the doors. 

Hanging out with the Rat Pack. 

Traveling with Bob Hope and the USO. 

What an amazing life. 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the second part of the film's title, "Queen of the Fire Tassels." Angel is the only burlesque star sanctioned to perform the fire tassels (Do I really have to tell you what it means?) and is also able to teach the rather extraordinary aspect of burlesque that is rarely done and even more rarely done well. 

Satan's Angel: Queen of the Fire Tassels has been picked up by Breaking Glass Pictures for a home video release and is available now. If you have an appreciation of the art form or simply an appreciation for a more alternative cultural history, this is one documentary that you really should check out. 


© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic  

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