Meet burlesque performer Taffy O’Neill, who took to the stage at night while taking her polio-stricken young son for treatment during the day; and Joni Taylor, who raised three kids alone from the age of 16; or Joan Arline, who entertained with two white Russian Wolfhounds. These are just a few of the women interviewed in Behind the Burly Q, a documentary that captures the wonderful story of the art and business of burlesque.

Seeing the old photos and hearing the tales straight from the women (and men) who lived it, the viewer is left with a realistic, exciting and titillating story of an art form that is today experiencing a renaissance.

Director Leslie Zemeckis, wife of filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, seems to have a special interest in the subject. She herself created a one-woman burlesque-inspired show, “Staar: She’s Back and Mistresser Than Ever!” She approaches the topic with a celebratory and revelatory tone, shedding light and respect on America’s most popular form of live entertainment in the first half of the 20th century. Zemeckis and producer Sheri Hellard traveled across the United States tracking down interviewees, from the last of the living legends to little-known acts.

One has the impression that this film was made just in the nick of time, as a handful of the women have passed on since being interviewed.

Grade: A

Behind the Burly Q releases in select theaters May 7.