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19 Pearls of Wisdom from the Burlesque World


For years Brown Paper Tickets has worked with and learned from burlesque industry professionals. We’ve interviewed numerous burly pros to uncover words of advice, tips or pearls for those just starting burlesque.

From novice performers to stars like Michelle L’amour, many have been featured on our blog in the past. Enjoy a compilation of their top tips for event organizers, burly performers or burlesque-curious. Find suggestions for putting on a burlesque festival, wisdom for new performers, touring ideas, guidance for starting your own troupe and even pointers for emcees.

Take your shows from so-so to superb courtesy of 19 wise pearls from the wild, saucy world of burlesque.


1. Take time to learn. Treat burlesque as the art that it is. It takes time to grow and develop into the burlesque star you want to be. Patience, my dear.” ~ Michelle L’amour (Chicago, IL)

2. “[Take] inventory of what you like to see in shows. Determine what really does it for you. It could be pinup, 90’s music videos, politics, food…it could really be anything. If you have a message you’d like to convey, come up with a creative way to show it. Think about what you’d like to share with your audience or who/what you’d like to be when you grow up. Base your personal style on what is really you. Also, watch a million burlesque videos, go to as many shows as you can. Watch burlesque with an open heart and an open mind.” ~ Coco Lectric (Austin, TX)

3. “Go to burlesque shows. Watch lots of different performers with different styles. Take some dance classes, or burlesque workshops, learn some basic moves and have some poses. Volunteer to be stage kitten at burlesque shows, watch burlesque legends on YouTube. Find a mentor, learn how to use a sewing machine, a hot glue gun and a staple gun. Start stock piling crystals, sequins and glitter, get on stage with a veteran performer and join a group. Get a support network.” ~ Lola Rose (Washington DC)

4. “It’s important to remind people that come from a dance background that burlesque isn’t only about dance talent.  Burlesque is about the tease, the story, about entertaining and leaving a little something to the imagination. Of course, it always helps to ‘have a gimmick’ – if you can bring your talent in dance, theater, comedy, magic or costuming with you to the burlesque stage, you’re already one step ahead. To me, it’s about being unique, about being you… but of course, the most glittery version of you.” ~ St. Stella (Toronto, ON)

5. “Make your costume bangin’ from the dress to the undies to the pasties. Whatever you wear needs to scream burlesque. Don’t underestimate the power of face. Tell your story with your face. Bring that attitude. There’s nothing worse than watching a performer who is just going through the motions. You gotta be sexy all the time even when you ain’t.” ~ Ben Wisdom (New Orleans, LA)

6. “Know yourself. Be yourself. Practice one more time.” ~ Mama Dixie (Tuscaloosa, AB)

Event Planners/Producers

7. “Your first show is going to be a success. All of your friends and all of your performers are going to help out for free or pay to come and see it. You can get away with banking on that goodwill once, maybe twice if you’re very, very lucky. Don’t be crushed when your third show crashes and burns. It gets better.” ~ Scratch (Boston, MA)

8. “Put a good, hard-working and motivated team to work on the event with you. This will help support you. Learn from your mistakes and don’t get frustrated. This will keep you sane. Be clear with yourself about what your intention and goals are for the event you are planning. This will help guide you.” ~ Cha Cha Velour (Las Vegas, NV)

9. “While I don’t produce shows or perform as my primary source of income, I still give it the same level of care and professionalism. It isn’t unusual for me to spend 20-30 hours a week working on show stuff; it really is an around-the-clock process. And you have to have the ability to anticipate and plan for as many bad turns as you can and be able to roll with the punches when one comes along that you didn’t anticipate. That’s the mark of a real professional – when something bad unexpectedly happens, you don’t dwell on it. You just put your thinking cap on and say, “Okay, what are we gonna do now?” ~ Mistress Kali (New Orleans, LA)

10. “There are a lot of great venues in [Seattle] and a ton of shows. Find a way to distinguish your show from the others. Use Brown Paper Tickets and G&H Printing; they are both awesome and helpful, and make marketing affordable. Don’t be afraid to join the community. We want to perform in and come to your shows — we just need to know they are happening. Social media is your friend. Think outside the box, be sensitive and caring. And in the words of two of my favorite TV personalities ‘Make it Work’ and ‘Don’t F*ck it Up.’ ~ Whisper De Corvo (Seattle, WA)

Festival Organizers

11. “Producing a show is a skill set that should be mastered before even attempting a large-scale festival. If you can’t turn a profit on a small show, you won’t make it up in volume. You have multiple shows, classes and workshops, vending, volunteers to manage and much more to balance. Make sure you have a great sales team in place, a real plan for the weekend with goals and targets, a good marketing strategy and support from an awesome ticketing company. But mostly, produce because you love it. When the passion is there, the audience finds you.” ~ Lili Von Schtupp (Los Angeles, CA)

12. “It makes me so happy to see more and more cities hosting burlesque festivals. Establishing the San Antonio Burlesque Festival helped make our local burlesque community become a lot stronger. There was a big sense of unity and pride after the festival. As far as advice goes, if you are a performer taking the role of a producer, remember to keep your personal preferences in mind when producing but don’t let it rule your decision making. Really focus on the overall picture and try to give your audience the best show possible.” ~ Jasper St. James (San Antonio, TX)

13. “It’s a lot of work. Seriously. Make sure you have a solid team you are working with, and get a good promoter. You will have many obstacles that fall in your lap, so it’s important to stay calm and breathe. Just remember that. Oh, and have fun.” ~ Valencia Starling (Detroit, MI)


14. “Being in a troupe takes more work than most people realize. We work hard to put out five different and unique shows each year that include new solos, duets, and group acts. As a soloist or hobbyist, it’s a easier to create numbers and then figure out what shows you may fit in, as opposed to tailoring acts for a show. It has taken a long time to get to this place, but we now have a great group of committed performers willing to work together toward a common goal and put in all the work needed for booking, producing, advertising, etc.” ~Ginger Snaps (Austin, TX)

15. “Make sure to make it clear who is making a final call. If you want a good troupe, you need good leadership and the ability to make tough decisions. This can mean saying no to a friend or disagreeing with a dance move or costume choice. In my opinion, one of the biggest differences in making a themed show with a bunch of independent performers and a troupe show has to do with content. It must be cohesive and feel like everything is planned and intertwined. Having a clear leader helps from getting the group stuck since everyone is always very different. Have fun with it and make sure you like who you are with.” ~Holly Dai (Portland, OR)


16. “The best advice I can give producers taking their show on the road is to give themselves enough time. Plan in advance, and plenty early! There is a LOT to consider when taking a professional show out on the road for several weeks. Lots of different factors come into play. Each venue books differently, each burlesque community performs and works differently, and there are a heck of a lot of logistics to figure out. Luckily, I am OCD when it comes to business preparedness and I’ve got a form, document or contract for everything. Definitely dot your I’s and cross your T’s as the more concrete you can get everything in advance, the less surprises and unaccounted for factors will arise later. You are always on the go, so if you don’t have the organization and infrastructure to back it up, you’re setting yourself up for failure.” ~ Deanna Danger (Richmond, VA)

17. “The most valuable piece of advice I can give to a burlesque troupe that wants to go on the road is taking the time to understand the dynamics of the city you are considering and getting to know the local pool of performers is really important. Building those great relationships before is really key to having a full venue when you arrive.” ~ Donna Touch (Chicago, IL)

Applying to Festivals

18. “I can’t stress how important a good quality video is to us in our application process. We get close to 400 applications each year. Many performers send us video that we simply can’t see or hear, or send us a studio version where there is no audience reaction. Even though these videos tend to be higher quality, it is ideal for us to hear and see the audience reaction as well as view a high quality video.” ~ Jen Gapay (New York, NY)


19. “For burlesque emcees: shut up. I had to learn that the hard way. Be concise, funny, and charming. Then get that next act out there ASAP. The audience will love you a whole lot more for it.” ~ Ben Wisdom (New Orleans, LA)

Photo credit: Audrey Penven

Arts >

Burlesque Ticketing 101

BPT_Burly_Ticketing_Front-01Brown Paper Tickets supports event organizers, producers and performers with free advice, services and ticketing tools. We ticket thousands of burlesque events every year. In fact, more burlesque events than any other ticketing platform. We’re crazy about burlesque.

As Burlesque Representative, I assist performers and producers in setting up and promoting their shows. Here are seven pieces of advice I commonly give when I talk about burlesque ticketing:

1. Use Your Own Credit Card Processor

Budgeting for your show can be a challenge. Often, burlesque producers operate on a shoestring budget and desperately need the money from ticket sales to pay out-of-town performers, venue fees, promotional costs, etc. If having cash in hand the night of your show is an issue, I stress that with Brown Paper Tickets, you can use a third-party processor, like PayPal (probably the most popular) and we’ll give you 2.5% of our 3.5% processing fee paid by the ticket buyer back to you, the producer. This means you get the full face value of your tickets as they’re sold. Plus, you get a little bit extra to help offset the fees your third-party processor charges.

2. Use Brown Paper Tickets’ Promotion Help

With all you’ve got going on around show time, promotions is one of those things that might slip. Don’t let it. We take a close look at your promotional plan and suggest ways you can improve it. We’ll help you build curated media lists for your area. We’ll send out tweets for you. We’ll edit and refine your press releases so that they are more effective in getting media placements, even coach you on TV or radio appearances. It all depends on your needs. And we won’t insult you by offering placement in mass e-mails, which most people delete immediately. With us, you’ll have a dedicated team of event specialists to get the most out of your promotional campaign. I suggest that you contact us at least six to eight weeks prior to your event to get the best results from your campaign.

3.  Offer Limited-Time Price Reductions

Many producers don’t like offering discounted tickets as they feel it will cut into their total take. But I’ve found that limited-time price reductions create a sense of urgency and you’ll pull in folks who may not have considered attending otherwise. It’s the whole “It’s on sale! I HAVE to buy it.” philosophy. The best times to offer discounts are either right when you announce ticket sales (early bird discounts) or on a significant day. For example: “It’s Gypsy Rose Lee’s birthday and we’re offering a special discount to all burlesque fans in honor of her memory.” Something along those lines. Trust me, you’ll see a spike in sales.

4. Offer Special Discounts to Your Mailing List

Show your devotees a little extra love by offering the first opportunity to purchase tickets to your shows. While you’re at it, give them a special perk like a glass of champagne, discounted VIP seating, maybe some merch. Whatever you can do to show your fans how much you appreciate their support will only endear you to them more and ensure their loyalty over time. Loyal fans are the best advertisement a burlesque performer could have, so throw a little money their way. Trust me, next time they’ll bring their friends.

5. Bundle Tickets with Merchandise

Speaking of bundling merchandise, it’s easy to offer a special price that includes some form of merchandise with their tickets. This will help you move merch and expand exposure to your brand while also saving you from having to sling merch after the show. Some merch ideas: branded drink tokens, signed posters, branded panties, t-shirts or even flasks. Merch is a great way to get your brand out in the world and if done well, can become an extra revenue stream. Just inform your door person that ticket buyers will receive something extra at the door, based on price points.

6. Offer Group Packages

Over the years, burlesque events have become increasingly popular with bachelorette parties. Consider the bachelorette angle when marketing your event. One way to encourage bachelorettes or other groups to come to your shows is to offer a group package. Think birthdays, tourist groups or bachelorette parties. Even better, develop a relationship with local wedding planners or concierges. Consider offering a percentage of the packages they sell so that they have incentive to encourage their clients to attend your events. These relationships can become super valuable and get you high-paying gigs outside the burlesque circuit, like corporate events or private parties.

7. Customize Your Producer Profiles

If you organize multiple events, let your fans see all your shows on your producer profile. Customize the page to match your branding or even better, have our tech team create a skin for your profile page that matches the look and feel of your website. Then your producer page can basically replace the calendar on your website and folks never have to leave your site to see all your shows and get tickets. If you want more information on how to create a customized producer profile, contact our Client Services department and they can get that started for you.

Any burlesque questions or need help? Please contact me directly at jimmy[at]

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12th Annual New York Burlesque Festival

NYBF_2014Jen Gapay and Angie Pontani are no slouches. Not only have they created the biggest and grandest burlesque festival of its kind in the New York Burlesque Festival, now celebrating its 12th year, but they both have very impressive resumes outside of the festival.

As a performer, burlesque extraordinaire, Angie Pontani, “The Italian Stallionette,” was a key player in establishing NYC’s burlesque scene. She won burlesque’s most prestigious award, “Queen of Burlesque, Miss Exotic World” in 2008 and has toured multiple runs in the United States, Italy, Australia, Spain and Hong Kong, earning the title of “Best International Touring Artist of 2009,” by The Naked City/Alternative Media Group of Australia. As a producer she has produced the 2010 Burlesque Hall of Fame’s The Titans of Tease, the 53rd Annual Striptease Reunion Showcase and the Saturday Night Competition. She was co-creator of the off-Broadway hit, This is Burlesque as well the on-going U.S. tour, Burlesque-A-Pades, starring the “#1 Burlesque Attraction in the Nation”(, The World Famous Pontani Sisters. Angie will also be featured in the PBS series Great Performances, performing live at Lincoln Center with Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. This is scheduled to air on PBS on October, 24, 2014.

Jen Gapay is the founder of Thirsty Girl Productions, which debuted in 1997 in Seattle with Capitol Hill Block Party, now one of the largest annual urban music festivals in the country. From 2000 to 2002, she was the Promotions Director at the Village Voice, where she created and produced the Siren Music Festival at Coney Island. Other notable accomplishments include the New York Boylesque Festival, which she co-produces with famed NYC producer Daniel Nardicio, and the Coney Island Talent Show, now in its fourth year. She was also the artistic director for the Dresden Dolls’ F**k the Back Row tour in 2006 and talent coordinator for several of their tours in the USA, Europe and Australia. This is just a smattering of what she’s done.

From Thursday, September 25th to Sunday, September 28th, they’ll host the 12th annual New York Burlesque Festival. You can pick up full festival passes from Brown Paper Tickets HERE, and we advise you grab some ’cause they’re going quick.

We were able to chat with Angie and Jen about the festival and burlesque in New York. Jen shared some advice to event organizers and producers considering having a festival.

Wow. 12 years is quite an accomplishment. What do you feel is the secret behind the festival’s success and longevity?

Jen Gapay: Thank you. I feel that having the festival in NYC has helped the festival grow.  Everyone wants to come to New York to visit and everyone wants to come to New York to perform and that has been extremely helpful. Also Angie and I work together well as producers, run a tight ship and know how to put on a good show, so our festival has a good reputation from performers and patrons and you can’t buy that.

What performers are you especially excited for this year and why?

Jen Gapay: I am particularly excited to see Imogen Kelly from Australia perform this year. She is an amazing performer who is known as Australia’s Queen of Burlesque and also took the title of Queen of Burlesque in 2012 at The Burlesque Festival Hall of Fame Weekender in Las Vegas. She has a variety of styles and is a very visual performer, and one not to miss.

It seems that the line-up of performers is more focused on performers from NYC.  Do you feel that the pool of talent is growing in New York as burlesque becomes more popular?

Angie Pontani:
Our line-up is definitely chock-full of NYC performers, but how could it not be? New York City is home to the biggest and fastest growing burlesque community in the world, we have an insane wealth of talent here. I think that is in part to burlesque becoming more popular and also because this is New York, a thriving hot bed for the performing arts as well as one of the birthplaces of the new-burlesque resurgence. But the festival also brings in performers from around the globe. This year we have folks from Australia, Helsinki, London, Canada, New Zealand and more, not to mention representation from just about every state in the union.

Do you feel that your audiences are made of predominantly New Yorkers or do folks travel to come to the festival every year? 

Angie Pontani: We get a good amount of New Yorkers, but there are a lot of people who come to town for the weekend, some make it an annual tradition. If you’re a burlesque fan,  what better vacation can you have then catching your favorite performers from around the globe right here in the Big Apple?

How has the New York burlesque scene changed since you started the festival 12 years ago? What makes the New York scene unique?

Angie Pontani: The scene has changed and evolved over the years. When we started 12 years ago it was much smaller. We didn’t have as much of an application process, we just invited everyone we knew in burlesque and that was about 60 people mostly from NYC, LA or New Orleans. Now we are sifting through over 300 applications from all over the world.  Burlesque has grown exponentially and one of the coolest things about seeing all these performers is you get a feel for the burlesque scene where they come from. Every city has its own vibe: Chicago is really theatrical, Texas is big and showy, LA has an ultra-glam spirit, New Orleans has the blues and New York has everything.

Tell us a little about the all-new Burlesque Bazaar.

Jen Gapay:  The Burlesque Bazaar is a new event we just added to the festival last year.  It’s taking place on Sunday, September 28th at Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Brooklyn and will feature over a dozen vendors showcasing costumes, vintage clothing, corsets, feather accessories, pasties, Burly-Q’s Nell’s pop up burlesque museum and even Fredini’s 3-D Scan-A-Rama that can scan your image right on site. We will also have a Q&A with burlesque legend Val Valentine and feature a live pinup shoot on stage with Don Spiro and stars of the festival. Plus, this event is free.

Brown Paper Tickets is seeing burlesque festivals pop up all over the country. Now every state seems to have its own festival. What is the number one piece of advice you would give to a burlesque producer who’s thinking of starting a festival in his/her town?

Jen Gapay: I think in order to produce a successful burlesque festival, it really helps to have  a thriving burlesque scene already built into the community, so make sure you have that before doing it.

Thanks to Jen and Angie for taking the time to chat. If you’re in the New York area next weekend, be sure to check out this world-class showcase of the best that burlesque has to offer.

Arts >

Land of the Tease: Home of Burlesque

burlesque, fireworks, July 4th, patriotic, AmericaI know that technically, Europe is the historical home of burlesque. The term first appeared in 17th century Italian, French and British opera and literature. However, the modern definition of burlesque which provides the inspiration for the current revival has its roots in the burlesque houses of New Orleans, New York and Las Vegas, right here in the good ‘ol U.S. of A.

Therefore,  it seems fitting, as we approach the most patriotic of American holidays, that so many of our burlesque producers are paying tribute with 4th of July shows.

Today, we feature some of our favorite 4th of July shows along with quotes from the performers themselves on what audiences can expect. Sure, fireworks are great, but I think these shows will get your blood pumping as well. Nice thing is, most of these shows happen on Saturday, July 5th so you can enjoy a nice wholesome family Fourth on Friday and indulge your wild side on Saturday. Sounds like the perfect weekend to me!

Friday, July 4th

THE FOUNDING FOLLIES! An Evening of Explosive IndependencePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania   Come watch as Broad St. Burlesque & company pay tribute to the greatest country in the universe the only way they know how- with glamour, glitter, and acts of undress! Broad St. Burlies’ Hayley Jane and Liberty Rose said: “To us, Philadelphia is the home of independence and no national holiday cultivates community with such vigor as 4th of July…As Philadelphia’s tag team champions of burlesque, we could think of no greater way to honor our city, our country and our freedom than to dress up like presidents and go off like fireworks!” Can’t get more patriotic than that.

Saturday, July 5th

Cyn Factory Saves America at the Bier BaronWashington D.C.  Here’s what Mary Cyn and Sarah Tops of Cyn Factory have to say about their upcoming show: “Every city has a holiday that it “owns”. Chicago has St. Patrick’s Day, New Orleans has Mardi Gras, New York and San Francisco share Halloween. 4th of July is DC’s holiday and we’re really excited to be part of the celebration. The neo-burlesque that Cyn Factory presents is especially American because, while there is burlesque all over the world, it tends to be mostly classic and dance-based. What Cyn Factory presents is largely story-based and influenced by theatre and performance art, creating an American spin on a worldwide art.”

FireworksBeacon, New York  Fireworks producer Dr. Lucky had this to say about why Independence Day and burlesque are such natural bedfellows: “Independence is a great way to describe what so many performers and fans alike love about burlesque: independent women (and some men) creating their own personas, acts and costumes and really going for it on stage. It’s what America is built on: independence and individual free will.” Amen to that Dr. Lucky!

Black Widow Burlesque presents: America EXPOSED! – Politically Incorrect!Austin, Texas  Black Widow Burlesque‘s Ginger Snaps had this to say about their annual 4th of July production: “Black Widow Burlesque has a tradition of celebrating 4th of July with our America Exposed! shows. This year we get to take a more critical and comedic eye at American life and culture! This will include anything from political and historical figures to scandals and pop culture”

Pasties for Patriots Burlesque ShowAustin, Texas  Another incredible Austin-based troupe, the Bat City Bombshells will show you their best Americana-inspired bump and grind at this show at the incredible 6th Street venue The Parish. Bat City Bombshell Sherry Bomb says: “The Bat City Bombshells have celebrated the 4th of July for the past three years with our Pasties for Patriots Show, it is our time to really celebrate everything Americana. Burlesque is ingrained in American history, so it is only fitting for this time of year to be popular in the burlesque community. Whether it is satirical political humor, classic pin-up or a salute to the troupes, a wide array of performances can be found for this patriotic holiday!

Be sure to pick up tickets to these great shows as they’re going fast and, from all of us at Brown Paper Ticket, HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!

Image courtesy of Vintage Gal’s Tumblr page.

Arts >

3 Best Washington State Music Festivals for 2014

9407113070_468b48cc6dI’m sure you all have noticed music festival announcements happening left and right in the past month, signs that music festival season has indeed arrived once again. Here in the Pacific Northwest, after being shrouded in clouds all winter, we like to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Throw in a ton of incredible local and national acts and it’s a no-brainer. The only problem is, we have so many great festivals to choose from, it can be hard to know which ones to choose.

Don’t fret. Today, we’re featuring our 3 picks for Washington’s 2014 music festival season. The Fisherman’s Village Music Festival in Everett, located just a half hour north of Seattle, is celebrating its inaugural year this weekend. Timber! Fest is celebrating its second year in the idyllic setting of Carnation and features some great national names alongside local talent. And, finally, Chinook Fest, located in beautiful Naches, Washington, in the heart of Central Washington’s agricultural lands, has an amazing lineup for lovers of roots-rock and Americana music.

Fisherman’s Village Festival

The good folks at the Everett Music Initiative have an incredible lineup in store for music lovers this coming weekend, Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17 in Everett. 60+ bands will perform on four stages in Everett’s beautiful downtown district. All venues are within walking distance from each other, including the historic Everett Theatre, the oldest running theater west of the Mississippi.

Northwest favorites The Moondoggies and singer Mary Lambert hail from Everett and this festival is all part of an effort to raise Everett’s profile as a bastion of local talent.

Festival organizer Steven Graham says, “After two years of putting on shows in downtown Everett as the Everett Music Initiative, Ryan Crowther and I decided it was time to launch our own festival. This is all in an effort to bring more quality music to Everett and make it a better place to live, work and play. Events like this festival help shine a light on some of the great talent we have up here in our city.”

The Moondoggies will be performing one of their only shows this year at the festival alongside Rose Windows, La Luz, The Grizzled Mighty, The Maldives, Fly Moon Royalty, Hobosexual and more. Be sure to pick up your tickets in advance as they’re going fast!

Read More…

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Surviving Burlesque: April Anniversaries

348978-250Last week, not one, not two, but THREE of the burlesque troupes we work with celebrated anniversaries: VivaVoom Brr-Lesque in Anchorage, Alaska celebrated nine years together, Black Widow Burlesque in Austin, Texas celebrated five years and New Orleans’ Freaksheaux to Geaux celebrated their third anniversary. Also, the Seattle-based monthly burlesque revue Tuesday Tease celebrated two years of world-class burlesque with live music.

Milestones like this are especially notable in burlesque, since so many troupes and shows come and go. Building up a show and cast from scratch, operating on a shoestring budget and devoting spare time to rehearsals, costume creation, promotions and the million other things that go into creating a captivating experience for the audience, is not for the hobbyist. To produce multiple productions year after year requires a deep-seeded love of the artform and a commitment to the craft. These four producers have obviously figured out how to survive in the competitive world of burlesque and were kind enough to share their stories with us.

Ginger Snaps of Black Widow Burlesque: “Being in a troupe takes more work than most people realize. We work hard to put out five different and unique shows each year that include new solos, duets, and group acts. As a soloist or hobbyist, it’s a bit easier to create numbers and then figure out what shows you may fit in, as opposed to tailoring acts for a show. It’s taken a long time to get to this place, but we now have a great group of committed performers willing to work together toward a common goal and put in all the work needed for booking, producing, advertising, etc.”
Read More…

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New Brassy Award Spurs Burlesque Innovation

BPT_brassy_pic2April has special significance for the burlesque community. Legendary fan dancer Sally Rand was born on April 3, 1904, striptease legend Gypsy Rose Lee died on April 26, 1970 and it was in April of 1937 that New York City began to close the original burlesque houses.

While they tried to kill it, 77 years later, burlesque is bigger and stronger than ever! Therefore, April seems to be the perfect month to announce a very exciting collaboration between Boston’s Great Burlesque Exposition and Brown Paper Tickets.


The Great Burlesque Exposition and Brown Paper Tickets are excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for The Brassy Award. The Brassy Award will reward innovation in burlesque production with prizes that will support the production of an ultimate burlesque event. To enter, simply submit your dream production idea for a chance to win.

“We want to inspire world-class innovation and originality in an effort to revolutionize burlesque productions and help the industry to continue its worldwide growth,” said Scratch. “By celebrating creativity and supporting the production of an ultimate event, we hope to bring the burlesque industry to new heights.”

The Brassy Award prize package includes up to a year of mentoring by the Brassy Committee, a special edition commemorative cup, a cash award to be used towards event production costs, venue location services, publicity assistance provided by Brown Paper Tickets, as well as a full weekend’s admission to the Great Burlesque Exposition of 2015 (Feb. 20-22, 2015), where the Brassy Award winner will be announced. The Brassy Committee includes some of the most successful burlesque producers across the U.S.: Scratch, founding chair of the Great Burlesque Exposition and impresario behind The Boston Babydolls; Lili vonSchtupp, producer of Monday Night Tease, longest-running weekly burlesque show in Los Angeles; Sailor St. Claire, Seattle producer of The Tuesday Tease, a weekly fusion of burlesque with live music; and Red Hot Annie, producer of The Windy City Burlesque Festival and Vaudezilla shows.
Read More…

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The Mid-Week Beat: A Little Bit of Folk, A Little Bit of Rock and Roll

220px-Bob_Dylan_-_Bob_DylanOn this day in 1962, Bob Dylan released his first record for Columbia Records. Not only was this record the start of one of the modern era’s most prolific and groundbreaking songwriter’s careers, it also created a template for the modern folk musician. What made Dylan different than the other folk singers of his time, was that Dylan seem to have one foot in the folk tradition and another firmly planted in the world of rock and roll and its associated counter culture. While it was clear that he was drawing heavily from Woody Guthrie and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, there was also something new to Dylan’s sound and that difference brought folk music out of the coffee shops and political rallies and into the bedrooms of teenagers everywhere.

In honor of that groundbreaking record, I wanted to feature modern artists that are little bit folk and a little bit rock and roll. Everyone of the performers featured today, borrows strongly from the folk tradition but throws a little rock and roll attitude into the mix, creating a traditional music that would be way too raucous for the coffee shop crowd.

Lydia Loveless and Jon Langford wowed audiences at Bloodshot Record‘s showcase at SXSW last week and Larry and His Flask and Bob Wayne and his Outlaw Carnies have built up a strong international following through their relentless touring and blistering live performances. All of these performers have brought traditional music to rock audiences with great success.

Thanks for being you Dylan and let’s hear it for the legacy that he created 52 years ago with that classic record.


Thursday, March 20 I Lydia LovelessSan Diego, California317786-250

In support of her new CD on Bloodshot Records, Lydia Loveless will be performing an intimate, high-energy show at the beautiful Seven Grand Whiskey Bar in the North Park section of San Diego tomorrow night.

Two years after the critical success of her breakout second album, Indestructible Machine, Lydia Loveless emerges from the trenches of hometown Columbus, Ohio with the gloves off and brimming with confidence on Somewhere Else. While her previous album was described as “hillbilly punk with a honky-tonk heart” (Uncut), this one can’t be so quickly shoehorned into neat categorical cubbyholes. No, things are different this time around. Loveless and her band have collectively dismissed the genre blinders and sonic boundaries that come from playing it from a safe, familiar place.

On their fourth overall release, Loveless and Co. (Ben Lamb on bass, Todd May on guitar and vocals, and new drummer Nick German) have coalesced into a band with a broad rock ‘n’ roll range, after a couple years spent performing everywhere from rowdy festivals to pin-drop quiet dinner sets. Without ditching the ribald, spit-in-your-eye attitude of her previous recordings, Loveless travels into some parallel-universe, roots-born Exile In Guyville territory. These are songs that find her asserting stylistic choices, while baring themes of insatiable desire, unrequited emotion, and mistake-making on life’s crooked path.

Lydia will also be performing a week later on Thursday, March 27 at The Brewhouse in Modesto, California. You can pick tickets up for that show right over here.

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St. Patrick’s Events: Celebrate the Emerald Isle

irish-music-sessionI know. I know. It’s a big week for music fans this week with SXSW raging in Austin and countless musical icons making guest appearances and performing in tiny venues. But, we should not forget that St. Patrick’s Day is in a week and for fans of Celtic music, or drinking music in general, this is a great holiday to get out of the house and enjoy some live music. Sláinte!

Saturday, March 15

ColcannonBroomfield, Colorado307653-250

Colcannon formed in 1984 in Boulder Colorado, and their reputation has grown steadily over the years with the release of eight CDs on the Oxford Road Records label. The band’s recent CD The Pooka and the Fiddler received a Parent’s Choice Award for its artful interweaving or music and storytelling. The Emmy®-award winning PBS special, Colcannon in Concert, filmed at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts has aired nationwide.
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Tuesday Tease: Viva Varieté!

3122870673_7c1d6a0f7dThis week on the Tuesday Tease, I’m going to focus on burlesque shows in the U.S. and Canada that offer more to their audiences than just twirling tassels and risque reveals. This week we pay tribute to the varieté show; a show that incorporates some laughs, some magic, some circus, some sideshow, some live music and even some mind reading! We also give a shout-out to two New York burlesque institutions that are celebrating anniversaries this weekend: RAWR! Burlesque is celebrating its first year and The Schlep Sisters are celebrating a decade of burlesque sisterhood.

What a week for burlesque fans!

Wednesday, March 5 I Voix-de-VilleMontreal, Quebec   Wednesday nights at The Wiggle Room is where you want to catch Montreal’s freshest variety show. Packed with gems from the worlds of burlesque, comedy, magic, dance, circus, music and more, the Voix-de-Ville Variety Show offers a dizzying array of entertainment. Hosted by sassy southern belle Kitty Vanderbuilt, don’t miss this weekly fixture on the Main. Come in, sit down, enjoy the cocktail of the week and vote for which performer wins the $100 cash prize. This week, The Wiggle Room welcomes to the stage:  Tranna Wintour, Vincent Pimparé (mindreader), Lulu les Belles Mirettes (burlesque), Daniel Caim (comedy) and Black Mamba (burlesque). The special guest host this week is comedian Chris Sandiford!

Friday, March 7 I SPEAKEASY FRIDAY’s Burlesque & Comedy Revival @ Harvey’s Joke JointBrooklyn, New York   If you are reading this you are in need for a break-out session. This monthly series is just the ticket and your access to that red pill experience. This show will tickle places you try & ignore, it will push your boundaries, it will galvanize your very spirits. Most importantly, you will like it. Possibly even beg for it! Come step out of the safe prison of conformity for an eve of intrigue and intimacy through the arts of burlesque & stand-up. The two have been spending time alone and want company….yours.
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