Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinup, burlesque and rockabilly take center stage at Ybor City festival

From a nondescript warehouse near Ybor City's main drag, April Catalano and Richard Strawn bring to life the sensual world of pinup, burlesque and rockabilly.

They do photo shoots of women in retro pinup clothing, host a weekly webcast and publish Pin Up America magazine. Their burlesque troupe, Le Teaze, practices out of the studios.

This weekend, Catalano and Strawn presented their biggest event yet, the American Pinup Burlesque Fest, held at the Cuban Club. The three-day festival concludes today with pinup workshops, entertainment and a tattoo contest.

The festival is an ambitious undertaking for the company Pin Up America, founded in 2010 with lots of heart but few backers. Back then, not a lot of people were familiar with the pop culture associated with sexy but wholesome women from the 1940s and '50s.

Today, it's a different story, as many wax nostalgic for simpler times, when beauty came in all sizes and even June Cleaver seemed hot.

"Pinup is turning up everywhere,'' Strawn said. ''Just go into Dillard's. Everything is pinup, all the shoes and clothes. Three years ago, there was nothing.''

Strawn, a boudoir photographer for 35 years, was on the cusp of retirement when a customer approached him about doing pinup art. He fell in love with it and rented out the warehouse at 1701 N 20th St. to pursue a new photography niche.

Catalano was a graphic designer and part-time photographer doing fashion shoots and portfolio work for models. She was renting out studio space in the warehouse when she met Strawn and discovered pinup.

The two started brainstorming ideas for a pinup calendar, which debuted in 2011. Its success paved the way for the burlesque troupe, The Pin Up America Show and a bimonthly magazine.

Pin Up America has fans worldwide, the majority of them women. A network of correspondents writes about pinup happenings for the 8,000-circulation magazine and appears on the webcast, which airs live from 8 to 9 p.m. Thursdays. Burlesque troupe coordinator and performer Nicole Nadreau, a.k.a. Contessa, and Judy Pop co-host.

Catalano, 39, and Strawn, 65, credit pinup's rising popularity to its inclusiveness and nostalgic nature. All the models aren't super skinny. Even the girl next door can look sexy.

.If you go

American Pinup Burlesque Fest

When: Today, noon to 7 p.m.

Where: Cuban Club, 2010 Avenida Republica de Cuba, Ybor City

Admission: $85

More information: For tickets and a full schedule, go to americanpinup

Pinup, burlesque and rockabilly take center stage at Ybor City festival 03/22/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 23, 2012 7:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs-Jaguars was NFL's lowest-rated ESPN game since 2005


    It is just the preseason, and it is the Jaguars, but Thursday night's Bucs-Jags preseason game earned a 1.6 rating on ESPN, which is the lowest-rated preseason game (excluding NFL Network) in 12 years, according to Sports Media Watch.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, left, talks with coach Dirk Koetter during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
  2. Crash at U.S. 19 in Pinellas Park kills one, shuts down traffic


    PINELLAS PARK — A man is dead after a crash between two cars at the intersection of U.S. Highway 19 and 70th Avenue N just after 7 a.m. Saturday.

    Pinellas Park police are investigating the death of a man during a crash on U.S. 19 early Saturday. (Pinellas Park police)
  3. Tropics watch: The latest on Harvey and what systems could hit Florida


    While Eastern and Central America monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Harvey, two tropical disturbances are moving through the Atlantic.

  4. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge


    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]
  5. Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier is congratulated in the dugout after scoring on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Lucas Duda in the sixth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Tropicana Field on Friday.