The Downtown Delilahs


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Tucked away behind bustling Historic River Street is a secret night club known only to those who have a key. Inside is a throwback to the era of speakeasies, debauchery, and, of course, burlesque. This back-alley bar’s resident burlesque troupe has perfected the art of the tease with intricate costumes, bold dance routines, and sheer style. 

 

God as my witness, I never thought anything could make Pat Boone sexy. 

And yet there I was, getting hot under the collar to a perilously unprofessional extent as the Downtown Delilahs ran through a rehearsal that infused Boone-defying sensuality into the aggressively milquetoast crooner’s hit “Love Letters in the Sand.” 

While Boone sang about a day like today, I watched Bambi D. mime ironing laundry, her hips swaying hypnotically along to the music. Beside her, Kiki D. mimed sewing, an arched eyebrow signifying more on her mind than just needlework. Roxy D., fiery red hair framing a look of erotic nonchalance, swept, while Penny D. stared daggers of sexual tension into the empty rehearsal seats.

I can promise you, when you see the final product, you will never listen to Pat Boone the same way again.

 

 Especially when the record scratches, smash cutting the music into blistering saxophone from The Coaster’s “Yakety Yak” and the pantomime of housework gives way to… well it was a rehearsal, so it was all pantomimed, but suffice it to say the tasteful frocks of the bored housefraus don’t make it to the end of the song.

This is the trademark of the Downtown Delilahs: taking all of the raw sexuality of burlesque, and tweaking the formula into bold and energetic permutations. They represent the new generation of cabaret, a blast of erotic cold water from an era before every sexual act imaginable was available in an instant on every smartphone in every pocket in the world. Theirs is the era when sex was Sex, capitalized, important, spoken of only in hushed tones and even then never in public. 

Theirs is the era of the speakeasy burlesque show, and that era is returning in a big way.

But before you go thinking it’s all sin and scintillation, a brief primer on the art of the tease that is burlesque. The origins of the term are actually comedic in nature, as it was used to refer to satirical plays generally meant to lampoon anything from high art to contemporary culture, with an exposed leg here and there as a side dish. It wasn’t long before that exposed leg took center stage, and the vaudeville halls of late 19th century America erupted with this majestically sexy new American art form.

The comedy was still there, but it was punctuated by extravaganzas of raw sexuality, over the top costumes and a sense of artistry sorely missing from the smartphone erotica of the modern age.

The art of the tease reached its zenith just as the entire country took a turn for the boring in the 1930s with the advent of prohibition. A general societal backlash against everything fun drove burlesque underground, off of the vaudeville stage and into the speakeasies of the era.

But now, much like the speakeasies themselves, burlesque is making its comeback, and the Delilahs have been able to capitalize on both. For starters, they perform in an honest-to-God speakeasy, their black box theater tucked away through a hidden door along one wall of Mata Hari, itself a speakeasy tucked behind a nondescript door off of Factor’s Walk. Plus, they bring all the comedy, the spectacle and the sex of good old fashioned Burlesque. Even if they don’t call it that.

“As the show has grown and evolved into something a little different than how we started, I feel most comfortable describing the show as a ‘dance cabaret,’” said Delilahs founder Jade Bills, known on stage as Lana D. “We are definitely burlesque inspired, but it’s grown… to an actual experience. Inside our own private theater, you are actually transported to a place where people can dress up, go to a nice private club, have drinks, and see a show.”

That show is a meticulously planned and choreographed routine whose every aspect begins and ends with Bills. Since her early days watching and mimicking the great starlets of late-90s MTV – Britney, Christina, J-Lo, et. al. – Jade has been enraptured with the art of dance. She carried that with her to 309 West, a bar famed for its Coyote ...

To get the full scoop on The Downtown Delilahs and their 1950's-themed show, subscribe now or pick up the August/September issue of South Magazine.

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Events Calendar

  • GratiTuesday Program with Liz Massey

    Feb 25, 2020
    12:00 PM - 1:30 PM @ Savannah Power Yoga

    Gratitude! What is it good for? Our general well-being!   Studies now show that the practice of gratitude actually enhances our immune systems....

  • Oglethorpe Mall Carnival

    Feb 20, 2020
    5:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Oglethorpe Mall

    Experience the sights, sounds and aromas of the electrifying midway with rides and games for all ages, favorite fair food and Victoria Circus...

  • Nature and the Arts: Botanical Art and Illustration

    Feb 25, 2020
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ One Hundred Miles (OHM), Savannah Office

    Nature and the Arts: Botanical Art and Illustration Tuesday, February 25th • 6:00-8:00 pm OHM Savannah Office - 2424 Drayton Street, Savannah,...

  • Confident Complexion – Love Your Skin at Bluemercury!

    Feb 13, 2020
    11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

    The beauty of makeup is that you’re in control of when and how you wear it—whether it’s to enhance, conceal or simply not to wear it at all....

  • 2020 Tak Argentinis Valor Awards

    Feb 27, 2020
    6:15 PM - 9:00 PM @ Charles H. Morris Center

    Join us as we honor some of the area’s most courageous first responders at the 2020 Valor Awards. Awards are presented to law enforcement, fire...

  • 2020 Tak Argentinis Valor Awards

    Feb 27, 2020
    6:15 PM - 9:00 PM @ Charles H. Morris Center

    Join us as we honor some of the area’s most courageous first responders at the 2020 Valor Awards. Awards are presented to law enforcement, fire...

  • Second Annual Royal Flush Casino Night

    Feb 27, 2020
    7:00 PM - 11:00 PM @ Savannah Station

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  • Run Free Trail Run

    Feb 29, 2020
    7:30 AM @ Hunting Island State Park

    Join us for our inaugural Run Free Trail Run on February 29, 2020 at Hunting Island State Park. Choose from the 5k, 5 mile, or 10 mile option - or...

  • ESPN Diabetes 5K Race

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    8:00 AM

    Join us as we help build awareness, education and support for locals fighting Diabetes through this family friendly Run/walk event. A little...

  • Red Cedar 5k Race

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    9:00 AM @ Red Cedar Elementary

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  • Forsyth Farmer's Market

    Jun 29, 2019
    9:00 AM - 1:00 PM @ South end of Forsyth Park

    The Forsyth Farmers’ Market vendors offer a variety of local goods including seasonal produce, eggs, honey, pastured meat, bread, cheese,...

  • 17 Gun Salute Sporting Clay Benefit Tournament for SD Gunner Fund

    Feb 29, 2020
    12:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ 17 South Rod and Gun Club

    The 17 Gun Salute Sporting Clay Benefit Tournament will be held at 17 South Rod and Gun Club to benefit the SD Gunner Fund. There will food...

  • “Does the Earth Really Orbit the Sun? Thinking Scientifically vs. Believing What We See”

    Mar 04, 2020
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    Savannah Country Day School's Faculty Explorations lecture series continues with a lecture by Science Department Chair Adam Weber. About this...

  • Savannah Antiques & Architecture Weekend

    Mar 05, 2020
    6:00 PM - 6:00 PM @ Various Locations, Downtown Savannah, Georgia

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  • First Fridays in Starland

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  • The McCartney Years

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  • Chick Fil A Benefitting Young Life 5K

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    6:30 AM @ Savannah Harbor Golf Club

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  • Coastal Home & Garden Show

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    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Crystal Coast Civic Center

    Turn all of your home and garden dreams into reality at the 32nd Annual - Coastal Home & Garden Show. With over 12,000 Sq Ft of exhibits , this is...

  • ELLA Foundation’s Charity Lee to Host Book Signing at The Foundery Coffee Pub on March 7

    Mar 07, 2020
    1:00 PM - 3:00 PM @ Foundery Coffee Pub

    WHAT:  Charity Lee Book Signing Event. The ELLA Foundation founder and Executive Director Charity Lee will sign copies of her powerful new memoir...

  • Foundation for Educational Excellence’s Annual “Jewels & Jeans” Event

    Mar 07, 2020
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    Join us at the Foundation for Educational Excellence’s annual “Jewels & Jeans” event on Saturday, March 7 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Hilton Head...


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Scenes of the South

2020 Southern Coast Heart Ball

The American Heart Association held its annual Southern Coast Heart Ball on Saturday, February 8th at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa. Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception with a silent auction, dinner and program, and dancing to end the evening. All proceeds went to the Open Your Heart campaign.

4th Annual Hearts for Healing Gala

Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center held its Fourth Annual Hearts for Healing Gala on Friday, February 7th at the Tybee Island Wedding Chapel. Guests enjoyed gourmet dining, dancing, and a silent auction. All proceeds from the auction benefitted the Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center's program for individuals with disabilities.

IDC Benefits the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire

The LeClerc Family owners of IDC (International Diamond Center) in Savannah 349 Mall Blvd held a benefit to support the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire on Thursday, February 6th from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Guests enjoyed light food and drinks, while bidding on several silent auction items, including autographed footballs and helmets donated by Anthony Lanier II.

Royce Learning Center Annual Low Country Boil & Oyster Roast

The Royce Learning Center held their annual low country boil and oyster roast on Saturday, February 1st. Guests enjoyed mingling over the seafood selection. Royce Learning Center meets the needs of children and adults with learning differences and literacy needs through its unique programs.

Dining in the Dark 2020

The Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision held its annual Dining in the Dark event on Saturday, January 18th at the Embassy Suites Downtown Savannah. Guests were served a four-course meal in complete darkness by the Savannah Metro's SWAT team. Dining in the Dark serves to raise awareness about vision loss.

January Brews for a Cause

South magazine in collaboration with Southern Eagle Distributing hosted their monthly Brews for a Cause on Thursday, January 16th at the Savannah Taphouse in a successful effort to raise money and awareness for the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision. The night featured delicious appetizers by Savannah Taphouse and a range of flavored Bud Light Seltzers provided by Southern Eagle. These events provide good food, fun entertainment, refreshing drinks and most importantly – raise money for a great cause! Be sure to be on the lookout for our next Brews in February!

Ford Plantation's Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting for Silk Hope

The Ford Plantation celebrated the completion of its two new Silk Hope model homes on January 10, 2020. The Silk Hope project is limited to 53 homes, on beautiful lots of buyers’ choosing amongst old oaks and a Lowcountry marsh setting. This member-backed project is the first new for sale residential development at The Ford Plantation in more than fifteen years and represents the final phase of home development to be offered. The Silk Hope community is the product of a collaboration of some of the world’s top residential architects and landscape designers and has been modeled to capture tranquil European village and Lowcountry architecture.

Mat Best Signs his New Best-seller at Nine Line

Veteran, entrepreneur and author Mat Best met fans and signed copies of his new book “Thank you for my Service” Thursday Dec. 12 at Nine Line Apparel. Best’s best-selling authorial debut chronicles his service as a U.S. Army Ranger. Best's Black Rifle Coffee co., partnered with Nine Line Apparel, has shops on River st. and off route 95 on Ft. Argyle rd.

Victory Antiques and Engel & Völkers' Holiday Party

Dickey Mopper and his team at Engel and Völkers celebrated the season at their annual holiday party on Wednesday Dec. 11, with a special appearance from the jolly fellow himself, Santa Claus. Mopper and company, celebrating alongside the crew of Victory Antiques, showed off the newest Engel and Völkers office at 1650 East Victory Dr. in Savannah.

Good Times Jazz Bar & Restaurant's 2nd Anniversary Celebration feat. Lady Leah

Jazz lovers celebrated Good Times Jazz bar's second anniversary on Nov. 8 and 9 featuring jazz vocalist Lady Leah and the culinary stylings of Good Times' chef Joe Randall, the dean of southern cuisine. In 2017 Randall teamed with Danielle and Stephen T. Moore to create one of the city's smoothest spots, a confluence of culture and taste fit for the soul of Savannah.