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Romeo's Burlesque and Cabaret Night at Treme

One of my favorite things to do is shoot concerts and shows. Thank goodness people like Rob Romeo are keeping the music scene on Long Island alive. I first became aware of Romeo when I shot the Nacho Mamma Swinging Cabaret in September of 2015 that Twisted Entertainment put on. Since then I try and catch the shows he puts together.

On March 2nd he put on the Romeo's Burlesque and Cabaret Night at Treme Jazz in Islip with a tremendous line up of talent.

Treme is a beautiful blues and jazz club. The décor is lush and inviting reminds me of some of the best clubs in New York City. Although I don’t drink my friends said the cocktails were delicious. This was the perfect place for a night of jazz music.

Rob Romeo’s line up for the night included the house band Storytellers (who I really think are one of the top jazz bands on Long Island), Willow - Queen Of The Dark Moon in her solo belly dancing debut, and burlesque performers extraordinaire Madame Reaper and Betsy Propane, both of whom took turns singing. Romeo jumped in, playing piano and banjo. Desert Drumfire, made up of Robert Frankenberg and Luke John Vanderputten, played tribal drums during Willow’s performances.

I love live music, but I have the habit of yelling out “Do Freebird!” between songs, no matter the type of music that is being played. Robert Frankenberg heard me, and jumped on to the piano and lead Storytellers in a freestyle jazz version of the classic song. Color me impressed.

Willow enchanted the crowd with her belly dancing, and I’m so glad I was on hand for her debut as a solo performer. I’ve watched her as part of a troop with Tribal Dance Long Island, and it was amazing seeing her break out on her own.

Betsy Propane reminds me of those great Cooney Island performers of years past, and she keeps the tradition alive. I’ve see her perform burlesque before, but I never heard her sing, and what a voice she has! She also brought out the classic straight jacket escape, combining it with burlesque (something I never did when I was a performing magician in the 1990s).

Madam Reaper has an otherworldly elegance about her, like a spirit that drifts across the stage. She too showed her singing chops, as well as performing her unique brand of ghostly burlesque. My favorite performance is when she brings out her reaper “Hubby”, which I first saw at the Macabre Faire Film Festival this past January.

I like to experiment when photographing bands and dancers, slowing the shutter speed and spinning the camera as I take the exposure. It's a hit or miss technique. Sometimes it creates streaks of light that look like energy zapping across the scene as the performers electrify the audience. Other times light seems look like ectoplasmic spirits surrounding the performers. When it works, it creates a cool effect. Below are a few examples of that technique.

Here are some more of my favorite photos from that wonderful evening. If you have a chance, check out one of Romeo’s shows and performances from Storytellers, Desert Drumfire, Willow, Betsy Propane and Madame Reaper. Below are links to Romeo and the other performers.

Photo: John F. Sheehan Photography ( <a href="http://www.jfsheehanphoto.com">http://www.jfsheehanphoto.com</a>)
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