“She’s the Cadillac of burlesque” is one of the priceless reviews Satan’s Angel receives from her many followers. But who is this illusive women and why are her nipple tassels on fire?
Angel Walker is the subject of recent documentary Satan’s Angel: Queen of the Fire Tassels, following the life and history of the animated and throaty woman who confesses to being one of the pioneers for the burlesque dance form.
Director, Joshua Dragotta, does a good job of mapping out Walker’s life, starting right from her young age as a Catholic school girl and gathering an in-depth interview with her religious and yet endearingly sweet mother. As we follow Walker while she goes on tour, we discover she is a funny, out-spoken and strong willed woman which is reflected in her performances (although these could have been more frequent) with her gutsy dances and bold outfits leaving little to the imagination. Her huge blond hair and exaggerated wardrobe certainly communicate the era and sub-culture she was a part of and yet, as the interviews and Walker’s history unfold, what is revealed, aside from the many shots of her breasts, is a truly gentle and captivating character. Especially her various relationships, including her long-term girlfriend, Vic, as we follow them on the road. This plot also opens up Walker’s struggle with being a bi-sexual in the late 60s, a time when it was just not accepted for a woman to be in a same sex relationship.
But it wasn’t always monogamy Walker had seeked as we also smoke out the bountiful marraiges and relationships of her past. Thanks to Walker’s business, with her being one of the top burlesque dancers and putting on multiple shows each night, she was one to rub nipple tassels with the greats, her list of past beaus including Clint Eastwood, Janis Joplin and Bobby Darin.
Her life at times resembles something out of a Quentin Tarontino movie and the rough camera shots and Southern soundtrack excentuate this. Over all the movie is well-made; Dragotta seems to have meticulously gone through a long-line of burlesque dancers and stars ranging from the original group Walker performed with, to new characters taking her as inspiration. Her life is nothing short of a novel, which conincidently is in currently in the pipe-line. Perhaps this is not all we shall see (of what we haven’t seen already) of Angel Walker or perhaps this is all that we shall be given. Either way, this documentary makes for an entertaining watch which will leave you wondering, “why aren’t I that cool?”
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