Madison Hurley. The year-old mother, "herstory" advocate, and self-proclaimed "Queen of Rust" has most famously served as the voice of reason on History Channel's American Pickers for nearly a decade.
And when she's not sending the stars to unassuming garages- and farmhouses-turned-treasure troves across the country, or researching the make, model, price, and origin of a dizzying array of rare finds, she's fawning over sequins, garters, feathers, and nipple pasties. For Colby, the art of burlesque picked her. The world of burlesque and politics of the stripper stage have endured many changes since Colby first took to the stage as an year-old "Iowa girl" when she performed an impromptu striptease at a drag show.
Burlesque has since shimmied from the fringe spotlight of underground and DIY venues and into the mainstream, enticing a new generation with the promise of self-expression, body positivity, incredible costuming, and the ability to reclaim personal agency. Since her humble debut, Colby has embraced the strength of her stature and developed a stage persona: Dannie Diesel.
You're baring a huge part of yourself, no matter what part of the industry you're in. I have a lot of respect for just your classic stripper, your nightclub stripper, because it takes a huge amount of guts and intuition and courage and fortitude within yourself to be able to go in front of a group of people At a strip club there are a lot of things that are thrown at you that are not anything like you would see at a burlesque show.
Outside of American Pickers — which allows her to work two weeks onsite or on the road and two weeks off — she dedicates most of her time to perfecting her own burlesque practice while traveling the world to study its origins and the stories of the many performers who made it possible for dancers like Colby to find their voice.
For Colby's headlining performances at the 20th annual Dirty Show, she says she has prepared several routines, all of which lean into her love of costume-heavy styling and envelope-pushing. She's partnered with a Canadian design house led by Christina Manuge to create a "Burning Down the House"-inspired "fire" costume — complete with flame-colored feathered fans and corseted armpieces — and is revamping her Queen of Hearts costume, which she deems as being her "easy routine.
I'm 5'9" and lbs. As a master treasure hunter, Colby cites her growing collection of vintage costumes and accessories once worn by burlesque performers, both famous and unknown, as perhaps her most prized possession.
Cyr's pasties, or Tempest Storm's earrings which were gifted to her personally. For Colby, each piece contains a spirit and a story — and pushes her to be better at her craft. So, when you come in contact with something like that, something somebody has spent so much creative time and energy, that's also quite cathartic because you go through a lot of therapy when you're dancing and when you're sewing.
Burlesque is the axis on which Colby's world tilts and twirls. Recently, her passion led her to Puerto Rico, where she has been juggling her studies of burlesque's Caribbean history and extensive volunteer relief efforts which continue following the destruction of Hurricane Maria in Colby's schedule allows her to spend weeks at a time there, where she actively works alongside the La Casa De Todos orphanage, local animal shelters, the Boys and Girls Club, and Puerto Rico's Cultural Institute.
In terms of her own history, Colby is focusing on being in the moment. Though she will continue sifting through dust and rust, revisiting the past through her adventures on American Pickers now in its 20th season and digging deeper and further in time to connect with her burlesque studies, Colby believes the present time is the most interesting.
Colby's love of history gives her perspective. Trying to balance that in this world is a tough thing. But the little pretty things in between like burlesque are great and they keep my mind focused on the positive.
But studying history can sometimes be a very dark thing if you have a heart. Get our top picks for the best events in Detroit every Thursday morning. Sign up for our events newsletter. Switch to the mobile version of this page. Detroit Metro Times. Danielle Colby has picked many things. Jump to comments. Speaking of Punk-rocker-turned-artist and Dirty Show special guest Niagara on love, drugs, and isolation Feb 12, More by Jerilyn Jordan Ready for your closeup?
Most Popular Most Read. Punk-rocker-turned-artist and Dirty Show special guest Niagara on love, drugs, and isolation Read More. February 3, Today Tomorrow This Weekend. Newest Slideshows. Newsletters Never miss a beat Sign Up Now Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox. Special Issues Bands to Watch. The People Issue. Best of Detroit.
Marijuana guide. City Guide. Metro Times 30 E. Canfield St. RSS Feeds. Arts and Culture Arts and Culture Home. Best of Detroit Best of Detroit Home. Social Media Facebook Twitter Instagram.