Booty worship turns to mourning

Sacramento’s most audacious burlesque troupe gives an impromptu send-off to the Starlite Lounge

The Darling Clementines dance through their tears.

The Darling Clementines dance through their tears.

Photo courtesy of the darling clementines

What originally was supposed to be a typical burlesque performance last Wednesday evolved in significance once the Starlite Lounge announced it was shutting down for good within the week. Booty Worship—a show by local troupe the Darling Clementines—had become a de facto send-off for the venue.

Chacha Burnadette, founder and director of the group, expressed shock and disappointment upon learning of the venue’s closing.

“It’s hard news that they’re closing,” she said that night. “There is a serious need and demand for live entertainment here in Sacramento.”

Four years ago, Burnadette moved from New Mexico to Sacramento, where the only major burlesque act was put on by the Sizzling Sirens. She saw an opportunity to expand what the scene had to offer.

“We wanted to tap into the grittier side of burlesque and utilize the variety of voices and talents in the area,” she wrote to SN&R in an email. “Our city has a diversity that we consciously choose to represent.”

Today, the Darling Clementines are radically sex-positive, body-positive and queer inclusive. Past shows have included “Dark and Dirty Disney,” a perverted homage to the cherished characters of our favorite childhood movies, and a kink-themed show that celebrated BDSM communities.

The second annual Booty Worship continued this subversive legacy. The room hit occupancy before the festivities even began. Peaches, the resident DJ for the Clementines, kept a stream of butt-related music flowing out the PA system. The crowd sang along to Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls.” On stage, a shrine to booty had been erected: A prosthetic butt, back lit and glowing, hung above saint candles.

The show itself was delicious, hedonistic chaos. Every one of the acts brought something impressive to the stage, but a few stood out among the rest. Andria Starling, who was introduced by Chacha as an “androgynous sleaze-bucket,” performed a pole routine in classic ’80s go-go attire.

A burlesque performer named Patty Le Melt came onstage dressed as Bob Ross and stripped down to black studded lingerie before covering herself in paint and sitting on a blank canvas. A technically impressive act came from Deaja Girl on Fire, who danced in a miniskirt to “Baby Got Back,” undressed to reveal tassels glued to her booty, and twerked in a way that appeared to break several laws of physics.

The atmosphere was bittersweet. Mourning hung in the air for the loss of the Starlite, a fixture for local live music and stage performances, but a sense of urgency was equally present. The room was filled with a permeating realization that by attending this show we were performing the important task of supporting and advocating for live art in the Sacramento community. This coalescence of loss and celebration, coupled with the raunchy, full-throttle performances of the Clementines, made for one of the best live shows I have been to in a very long time.

The troupe had relied on the Starlite as its regular venue, and it’s unclear where they’ll continue to perform. To stay current on the Darling Clementines as they search for a new home, follow along at