Pinups and puppies: A Philadelphia love story

Once an odd couple novelty, pinup girls and pit bulls have become something of a classic combo in Philadelphia. That’s thanks to Deirdre Franklin — also known as Little Darling on the burlesque circuit — who in 2005 founded Pinups for Pitbulls, a rescue and advocacy organization that combines the power of fishnets and big puppy eyes to educate the public about the stigmatized breed.

This weekend, the ladies are releasing their 2013 calendar at a fundraiser at the Trocadero. And while it’s always a hot seller for the obvious reasons (see Miss December, at left), this year’s calendar is extra special: Shot by Philly pinup photographer Celeste Giuliano, it borrows its imagery from Norman Rockwell paintings, underscoring pit bulls’ roles as classic, loyal family dogs throughout history.

“I was really happy about the relationship that we were able to show,” says Giuliano of the calendar, which includes scenes of sneaking cookies at the diner, cheering on the home team and baking cupcakes — all in heels, naturally. “I loved the idea of showing the human-canine bond, how the dog is part of your family, how you do everyday things with your dog. And Rockwell is such an iconic storyteller.”

Sunday’s retro release party will include burlesque performances, live music by Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society, cigarette girls courtesy of Bettie Page Clothing and the inaugural Miss Pinup Philadelphia Pageant. Although style is an important part of the pageant, judges will be looking for more than bouncy curls and bright red lips — like the calendar models, who are all animal advocates, Miss Pinup Philadelphia will need to have a little something extra.

“We’re really looking for someone who has a great personality and emulates a classic pinup,” says Giuliano. “The personality and the way they carry themselves are as important as that great style.”

If you go

Pinup Peepshow

Sunday, 8 p.m.

$16-$18, The Trocadero

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