Superstars of Burlesque

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How lucky are we, to have Michelle L’amour and Franky Vivid as Chicagoans?! For a third year, they along with Studio L’amour brought us a fantastic show that is, Superstars of Burlesque. With a star-studded cast of International Burlesque title holders, lots of rhinestones, tassels, and skin graced the stage at the Music Box Theater. Twice, might I add! Presenting two shows on Friday, September 21st, whereas I attended the encore presentation. And by that time the champagne was flowin’ and inhibitions were lost.

Hosted by none other than “the hardest working middle-aged man in showbiz,” was Mr. Showbiz himself, Murray Hill. Donned in the most ill-fitted custom made suit, Murray performed his signature opening “showbiz” number, this time joined by a slew of Murray lookalikes dancing next to him. But they weren’t just any mini-Murrays (even though they’re taller than him), these were the Chicago Starlets dressed in drag! Complete with tight suits, mustaches, eyeglasses, and dark parted wigs, they pretty much outshined him for a moment as they mocked him, walking off with broken backs screaming “That’s Showbiz!”

Entering through the house aisle, was a too cute performance by the Dolls of Doom dressed as a dragon, a costume we all recognize for Chinese New Year parades. The dragon stripped down for us to find Lola Martinet & Teddy Bear, as they proceeded to display what the flexy bendy Dolls of Doom are known for: Burly Cirque!

Hailing from Windsor, Canada was Roxi D’Lite, wearing a sequined gown with a tiger print, that fearlessly came off to reveal her best assets. Also known as the Bad Girl of Burlesque, whooda thunk she could make a mere piece of sheer fabric, be so damn sexy!

La Frenchie Kiss & Jett Adore, Chicago’s recent pride & joy, proved why they deserved the Best Duo win at at this year’s Burlesque Hall of Fame. Frenchie gave us a hell of a spin with her tassel skills, while seducing Jett in a comedic tango. Jett Adore, notorious for his facial expressions showed what it’s like to be shocked and satisfied at the same time. Ahh, and their specialty trick of a simultaneous straddle & tassel twirling–don’t understand what I’m describing? Then you gotta see it for yourself.

Las Vegas showgirl, Kalani Kokonuts definitely gave us a sultry earful with her rendition of a sing-talking performance in the likes of Jessica Rabbit. In true cartoony fashion, she slowly revealed her unbelievably hourglass figure! You could only imagine all the wolves in the audience howling, with their tongues wagging and eyes popping out of their sockets.

Julie Atlas Muz of New York is known as a triple threat, but better known as simply a threat. You really never know what she’ll bring to the stage, or rather to the house. Perhaps, half eaten powdered donuts spit and thrown at the audience?! Yes. Oh yes, she did. I can’t even try to describe the rest of her act: police uniform, head stocking, guns, dancing the running man in heels, robbery, smuggling a bag of coke… Ahem, you just HAD to be there.

Ohh and the Chicago Starlets, all dressed as Carmen Miranda, revealing colorful pasties while balancing fruity headdresses; you can’t help but smile from ear to ear, throughout watching their entire number.

Dirty Martini, a handful to drink in, was definitely something shaken–not stirred. She really is quite a beauty, with a tease of her glove she had us screaming for more. And boy did we get more! More gold, more tassel twirling, and more funbags!

The King of Boylesque, Russell Bruner was quite the treat. Wiggling his signature handlebar mustache and dancing with a spinning coat rack, he gave us a truly comical boylesque number at its very best. Not only did he reveal his huge cock…tattoo of a rooster, he displayed his tucking skills, belly dancing, and well, how he wears nothing but his bowler hat on his head–the other one.

The Twin Cities brought down a whole lotta woman, that is Foxy Tann. Accompanied by the Wham Bam Thank You Ma’ams, Foxy gave us a 70’s glam burlesque feel of glittery afros, and the love for green. I mean, who else can wear marijuana leaf shaped pasties, and have her foot licked on stage?

Coming to us from down under, Imogen Kelly of Australia, presented a fun flamingo number with a bit of puppetry and a ton of feathers! The best part was watching her body roll to an opera song.

Guest of Honor, Kitten Natividad graced the stage, showing she still got the moves to strip and shimmy. Projected on the screen behind her were images of her glory days as an exploitation film star & exotic dancer, who actually went to jail for doing what she loves! It didn’t take much for her to receive a standing ovation from the house.

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As usual, the show came to a close by Chicago’s own Queen of Burlesque, Michelle L’amour. It was quite a surprise for myself as I first spotted her panther cage sitting aside the stage, as I anticipated seeing this all night. This was the first number I’ve seen online, when I stumbled upon the name with such clout. I remember sitting at my monitor, breathless in such awe. And it was no different seeing her perform live! She revamped her costume a bit, with a velour leotard and adding sparkly nails to her paws. But that signature paw print vajazzle job was definitely a fave among her fans, other than that famous “ass that goes pow!”

Franky Vivid deserves a standing ovation just as much as the performers did. You gotta give it up to the man who put this show together. He helps provide the backbone to the mogul that is Viv’amour. I mean, it’s gotta be so tough to feed and provide a roof over naked women for a couple days. Not to mention, build and produce stage sets, lighting, security, show marketing; the man does it all!

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The Superstars have descended upon our city, and we can’t wait to experience this again. Perhaps it won’t be another year til the stars align, for a show to come with this stature. Be sure to keep up with events thrown by http://www.StudioLamour.com, as they keep bringing the best to town throughout the year at various venues, including their own at the Everleigh Social Club.

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Chicago Teases for the Strip

Check out what I did last Friday!!

I have contributed a show recap piece to www.ChicagoBurlesque.org

The Burlesque Hall of Fame (BHoF) in Las Vegas, Nevada is something too rare that this community as a whole cannot lose. Sin City would seem to make the perfect archival home for keeping the rich history of burlesque alive, however its specific location has been overrun with the construction of the adjacent transit highway. And so, what is the BHoF to do, in order to properly preserve its precious gems? Well, those assels gotta get movin’! With the ever growing burlesque community and with room to spare for legends in the making, it is only fitting that the BHoF be relocated to an even lovelier and most of all, secure place to call home.

The organization’s goal was to raise $20,000 to cover relocation & memorabilia preservation expenses, with the deadline of September 1st. For months, various burlesque troupes worldwide have been producing shows with proceeds going to BHoF. On Friday night–the last day’til deadline, five shows across the continent were gracing the stage in BHoF’s honor. Though Chicago boasted the largest production of the fundraiser’s final night!

The Kiss Kiss Cabaret, along with its sponsors put on a fabulous show at their resident stage, the Greenhouse Theater. It was a great turnout of hootin’ and hollerin’ spectators to enjoy what was close to a 3 hour show. And what better way to high-kick off the Labor Day festivities.

Every seat is a great seat but if you want the performers to interact with you, get there early to grab the front row at stage level.  However, sitting up front doesn’t always get the attention you want drawn to yourself. Ahem… especially if you show up late, or if you get up to pee during the show. It probably doesn’t matter where you sit with the intimate setting. The host will rip at you and so, no one is safe. This is a burlesque show after all.

Only the chosen ones would know, but backstage must have been a better view. We could only imagine what it’s like to be surrounded by Chicago’s best of burlesque! And we thank you, beauties of: the Kiss Kiss Coquettes, Gorilla Tango Burlesque, Michelle L’amour’s Chicago Starlets, Belmont Bombshells, Hot & Heavy Burlesque, the Dolls of Doom, Plan 9, Angel Burlesque (Indianapolis), and other local independent artists devoting their time and talents.

All of the dancers were a joy to watch, but there were a few who left quite an impression on me…

Chicago Starlet, Honey Halfpint, spun her feather boa ring through her gyrating body. And I loved the surprise of her song choice, an R&B track taking myself back to middle school singing along. Indeed, her dancing “was like whoa!”

The ever so delightful Ray Ray Sun-shine, certainly delivered. She created a scene waiting for her lover, only to find a sparkly dildo sent to her door! She danced with it, stripped down for it, and happily ran away with her love into the sunset!

Tila Von Twirl teased the audience, hiding her sweet body with big feathered fans. Dancing to a number called “Hot Crossed Buns” she later revealed to us a very tasty treat…big, delectable, cinnamon buns!

Gorilla Tango Burlesque’s MsPixy thrilled everyone as a nerd girl and gigantic spider. I liked their comedic twist to the show!

Southern belle, Angela Eve, was incredibly sharp with her choreography. Spinning around in her beautiful gown, peeling off layers of beads and coins, she tore up the stage stronger than Hurricane Isaac ever could!

Nearly naked women weren’t the only entertainment of the night. We laughed the night away with comedic performances of:Brad French the Silver Fox Juggler, The Amazing Tomas the magician with hilarious impersonations, and Ken Raabe of the Claptrap Band singing about a dinosaur orgy?!

Marie Curieosity presented a super clever piece of Batgirl having an identity crisis. And with the magic of makeup, she turned into the Joker right before our eyes!

Hosting the show was Max Flattery, soliciting more donations for the BHoF, asking audience members to throw money on stage …to keep his clothes ON! But as any burlesque show goes, he dutily stripped down to heart printed boxers and red sequin tassels.

Ticket sales and dollar tossing weren’t the only ways to donate. A silent auction was held in the theater lobby, presenting an array of coveted items such as signed photos of burlesque legends to beautifully beaded costumes.

It was a definitive night for the city, with an eccentric collection of Chicago’s greatest burlesque troupes: from classic, to nerdy, rocker to comical…. And what do they all have in common?! The love for BOOBIES!

The finale number was a dream scene, with all the ladies on the stage. Jack Midnight sang of all the great things about Chicago, with the glamorous visual of sparkly costumes flying and titty tassels twirling!

Even before the show started, the Burlesque Hall of Fame had already reached its goal. By the end of the night, $5000 of which was presented on a giant check signed by the Kiss Kiss Cabaret, representing the generous donors of Chicago! At time of print, the BHoF has collected over $23,500!  Now, Chicago wasn’t “teasing for the strip.” I think we got down to business when it came to reaching BHoF’s fundraising goal!

For more info on the Burlesque Hall of Fame and how you can donate, please visit http://burlesquehall.com/2012/08/pleasegive/

About the contributor, Di’ Lovely
Hailing from San Diego, California, Di’ Lovely (of The Caburlesque Kittens) is a recent transplant to Chicago.  With her move to a city of rich history in burlesque, this exotic beach Babe is enjoying a sort of burlesque reawakening in her journey as a performer. Keep up with Di’ Lovely and ‘LIKE’ her profile at www.Facebook.com/MissDiLovely.