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Whiteside Tarts

Clockwise from top left: Schatzie B A'licious, Starena Sparktacular, Miss Rosey Posey, Petunia Rufflebottom, Spherical Escape and Karmic Fluff are all on the bill Saturday as the Tart of the Valley burlesque troupe performs at the Whiteside.

For some members of the mid-valley Tart of the Valley burlesque troupe, their performance Saturday night at the Whiteside Theatre is bound to trigger memories: At least three of them grew up watching movies there back in the day.

Since the days when the theater in downtown Corvallis showed first-run flicks, though, it was shuttered and stayed empty for years — until a community effort helped to restore it for concerts, lectures, showings of classic movies and other community events.

But for Petunia Rufflebottom, Saturday's show at the Whiteside offers a link back to the theater's earliest days, when it hosted barnstorming performances on the vaudeville circuit.

"It's very much a vaudeville stage," said Rufflebottom. "It's really cool for us to do a show on a stage like that."

It's not the first time that members of the troupe have performed on that stage: Before a showing of the film version of "Chicago," the Whiteside's Jen Waters lined up a couple of the group's artists to stage opening numbers.

But Saturday's show is "our first full show at the Majestic," Rufflebottom said, and so she's serving up what amounts to an introduction to the troupe, which typically has performed in smaller venues such as the Majestic Theatre or Corvallis nightclubs.

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In the larger venue of the Whiteside, "we're going to reach some people who we don't normally reach," said Rufflebottom, who will serve as emcee but who has not written a story to connect the various acts.

"I really just want it to speak for itself," she said — and so she'll introduce the acts and then get out of their way.

The show features performances from Tart favorites such as Starena Sparktacular, Karmic Fluff, Schatzie B A'licious, Miss Rosey Posey (billed as Corvallis' only burlesque clown) and Spherical Escape, who performs with hula hoops.

The show also features guests, including tap dancer Tallulah Applejack, vocalist Audrey Darling (who will perform, appropriately, "All That Jazz" from Chicago) , Ruby VonMantrapp and drag artists Lucille S Balls and Bela De Luna.

Rufflebottom said one of her key duties will be to keep the audience engaged in the larger confines of the Whiteside: "I'm going to encourage everyone to sit as close as possible," she said. And speaking of engagement: Audience members are encouraged to bring some cash with which to tip favorite performers.

In some ways, though, Rufflebottom is hoping that the old theater itself becomes one of the stars of the show: "We're really hoping to let this old stage space behind us shine." 

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