Miss Indigo Blue teaches a Seattle-based, 6-week course of burlesque dancing. A Wink and a Smile is a 90 minute documentary that follows 10 students of this class from last fall. Throughout the course, the pupils develop their own on-stage persona and it culminates with a final recital at the Rendezvous.
The students in the film (and presumably in the other terms where cameras aren't following the class) are said to be from diverse backgrounds but they are all still adult, blue-state women looking to bring out a part of their personalities they've kept hidden.
What makes this film interesting, though, is that Miss Indigo Blue has such a deep knowledge of burlesque that she is able to put the subject in a historical context throughout the film and for each act. Miss Blue and filmmaker Dierdre Timmons deserve bonus points for making every effort to educate their audience.
The history lessons and the footage of local performers like Lily Verlaine, Kitten LaRue and the Shanghai Pearl were what saved the film and brought life to a film that would have otherwise been dull.
1. The doors to most SIFF films have been open about 30 minutes prior to show time. The screening I went to was Saturday afternoon at 4pm and we were finally let in the theater at 4:05. Many people were left waiting in the rain for 35 minutes (me) or more (others) without an explanation for SIFF. Because I was pressed for time, I didn't stick around for the Q&A with Timmons but my understanding was that many of the students featured in the film were in attendance as well.
2. The Rendezvous is hosting a reunion performance by the students in the film on Wednesday, June 4 with doors at 8 and the show at 8:30 and the cover is $10.