Show-Me Burlesque

Show-Me Burlesque & Vaudeville Festival

This was my my most fun festival experience thus far, however it was the only festival I actually stayed for its entirety. And I’m so glad I did!

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It was a 3-night circus of events, and what a circus it was! I liked this festival because it tastefully included the classic vaudeville aspect of burlesque. So the line up of unique acts was so intriguing to watch. There was just no time to Instagram dat shet, ’cause your eyes were glued to the performers to see what kind of tricks they had up their sleeve!

I was lucky to make friends with Jeez Loouez earlier this year that I was able to stay at her St Louis apartment for the weekend. It was a full house at Twerkington Towers; a slumber party with Nashville’s Shan de Leers, Freya West, Bebe McQueen, and Kisa Von Teasa from Knoxville. Oh, and Jeezy’s house cat named Gucci. As much as I claim to be a “Caburlesque Kitten” I’m still deathly allergic to actual cats. Ugh, talk about misery in Missouri! I loaded up on meds, tough but funny times. Hahah!! Sorry Gucci for kicking you out of the main rooms of the house.

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Friday was a long night of two shows. I performed my signature blue boa piece for the late-night, Red Light District Revue. I was excited to be included in this especially sultry showcase, and even honored to be the last soloist just before the headliners performed! By the time I graced the stage it was just after 1:00 AM, and I really felt the exhaustion on stage. I can’t even imagine how headliners do this all the time. I tried hiding it, and hoped I’d managed doing so.

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Throughout the weekend there were several workshops offered from the experts performing at the festival. There was such a fantastic array of classes it was tough to choose from! This is my favorite part of being involved with the burlesque community. No matter how long a performer has been on stage, she must always make the effort to continuously train and learn from the best! It always makes it so much more rewarding when I attend workshops from performers I admire. I know always something to improve on. And what better way to get in the studio and dance alongside (and be critiqued by) performers who I aspire to be like?! It’s very challenging to say the least. We tend to make it look easy when we’re on stage. But when we get the chance to sit back and break things down, we could still very well be shy and insecure about a lot of things!

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The last event of the weekend was Beggar’s Carnivale and it was so fantastic I hadn’t had that much fun in a very long time, as simply an audience member. It was intriguing to see all the special acts that are performed on a larger scale, whether it be props or costumes. My lawd, that Jett Adore and his huge… Butt –butterfly wings! Sadie Hawkins as an aerial mermaid, Midnite Martini wrapped up and stripped down in her aerial silks act. Sweetpea, Perle Noire, Peekaboo Pointe, need I say more?! Oh and Sammich the Tramp acting up with several other mime friends. Then to top off the night at the after party, the performers gathered at Lola Van Ella’s dance studio for the Hot Mess Talent Show! And must I admit, that Russell Bruner has such pillowy lips to kiss–though all the other ladies there that night would agree. Hahaha!!

So! Much! FUN!! I definitely want to try to get back to St. Louis for this festival again & again.

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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.