Art Class at the Bar? Sure Thing! It's Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School!

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Ernie Von Schmaltz -The Man, the Myth, the Mustache- Host of Dr. Sketchy's Seattle
Ernie Von Schmaltz -The Man, the Myth, the Mustache- Host of Dr. Sketchy's Seattle

“Dames! Drinks! Drawing! Where Cabaret meets Art School.” That’s the tag line of a Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School banner. It’s an amazingly accurate description of the “who’s” and “what’s” of a Dr. Sketchy’s art event. It’s why Dr. Sketchy’s may just be the perfect (anti) art class!

Recently, I joined about 40 others at Seattle’s Dr. Sketchy’s meeting. I was treated to this month’s model, burlesque beauty Sailor St. Claire. Sailor, an import from California, is currently a member of Seattle’s Tempting Tarts Burlesque. I was also treated to Happy Hour drinks ($4 well doubles? Yes please!) and appetizers (I suggest the pork sliders!). But most importantly, I was treated to an evening of art, camaraderie and fun. Attendees of Dr. Sketchy’s are open and inviting. It’s this attitude, amongst those attending as much as anything else, that makes Dr. Sketchy’s such a success in Seattle.

Dr. Sketchy’s meets the 3rd Sunday of the month from 6pm-9pm at Julia’s on Broadway. Models change monthly, so you always get a new experience. There are four seating options at Dr. Sketchy’s. The options: Front Row Table, Shared Table, Easel space & Chair or Solo Chair. Prices range from $10-$20, with Front Row Table’s selling out fast.  Julia’s offers all Dr. Sketchy’s attendees a page of Happy Hour eats and drinks (Did I mention the $4 well doubles?). Need your server while you’re there? Well then, put on your party hat to let waitstaff know that you are, indeed, ready to party! By the way, I highly suggest a table. I mean, where will you keep your fine adult beverage(s?) and munchies while you are creating your artistic masterpiece?

Lydia McLane- Burlesque Performer and Model
Lydia McLane- Burlesque Performer and Model

Seattle’s Dr. Sketchy’s was started in 2008 by Liz Panelo and her husband. The chapter was acquired in November 2010 by the Academy of Burlesque. The Academy, founded and headed by Seattle burlesque goddess Miss Indigo Blue (Currently reigning Queen of Burlesque, Miss Exotic World 2011. No, I’m not making that up.) handed over Dr. Sketchy’s reins to three of its worthy disciples. That trio is Lydia McLane, The Shanghai Pearl and Ernie Von Schmaltz.

Ernie Von Schmaltz -The man. The Myth. The Moustache.- is the sexually charged, innuendo-driven,  ultra sleazy (and obviously campy) host of your Dr. Sketchy’s experience. Von Schmaltz, an instructor for Academy of Burlesque and the host with-the-most for many of Seattle’s burlesque events creates an enjoyable, fun loving atmosphere with his over-the-top antics.

Lydia Mclane, a fashion and fetish model, burlesque performer, and Business Manager for Academy of Burlesque discussed the value Dr. Sketchy’s adds to the art and burlesque communities. It’s a point of pride that Dr. Sketchy’s provides burlesque models new opportunities and paying gigs while delivering artists top quality models and an environment artists of all skill levels can enjoy.

The Shanghai Pearl- Performer and Lead Instructor for Academy of Burlesque in Seattle
The Shanghai Pearl- Performer and Lead Instructor for Academy of Burlesque in Seattle

The Shanghai Pearl, performer, Lead Instructors at Academy of Burlesque and Best Debut Competitor 2009, focused on how Dr. Sketchy’s creates a fun, entertaining experience for the artists. This discussion happening while she expertly continues to juggle the four things she’s doing at the time. Girl’s got skills.

Linking the two communities came up repeatedly in our discussions. It became apparent how invested the trio are in Dr. Sketchy’s, how dedicated they are to the burlesque community. It also became apparent just how warm and welcoming they all were. Whether discussing Dr. Sketchy’s, the Seattle burlesques scene or everything else for that matter, I enjoyed my time with them greatly.

The Shanghai Pearl summed up the Dr. Skechy’s experience perfectly with this: “Life drawing can be so stuffy. But this…this is awesome.”  Yes it is Pearl. Yes it is.

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