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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.”
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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.
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Tuesday Tease: Boylesque – Part 2

IMAG0062In this special, two-part series, James Ulness, Brown Paper Tickets Client Services Representative and an avid, enthusiastic member of the Seattle burlesque community, prepares to make his début as a boylesque performer. James has been a regular presence backstage at local burlesque shows for years but last Saturday was his first foray onto the stage. In the first part of the series, James talked about his decision to perform and his process in preparing for his act. In this, the second part of the series, James shares his thoughts and feelings on the actual night of his boylesque debut and announces his NEXT performance! Enjoy.

My boylesque début has come and gone. Just a short while ago I was surrounded by the chaos of the show. The cold air backstage, thick with glitter and the sounds of performers rushing about. My small corner of the world enveloped in a cloud of noise and excitement. But, now life is still, quiet and average. I can already feel the itch to get back on stage. To dive into another maelstrom and be tossed about like a ship cursed by an angry Poseidon. However, now it’s time to do reflect back onto the past couple of days and review what I did and what I learned.

How did it feel being on stage for the first time?

Amazing! A mix of fear and excitement. I hardly remember the act itself, only that it went off almost exactly the way I rehearsed it and the euphoria of coming off the stage after. It’s hard to come up with specific details, everything is a bit of a blur but, judging from the audience’s applause, I didn’t make a complete fool out of myself. Or maybe I did. Either way, they seemed to enjoy my performance. One thing that surprised me was my lack of nervousness before going on stage. I was not expecting to be relaxed backstage but as I stood in the wings, waiting for the MC to announce me, there wasn’t an ounce of hesitation in my body. I had rehearsed the act until I knew every beat of the song. I new every mark I needed to hit. Nothing was left to chance. I was on auto pilot as soon as I stepped onto the stage and it felt like home.
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Artist Ticket Picks: El Radio Fantastique, Burlesque in Black & White, Derby and more Derby

347963-250Welcome to this week’s Artist Ticket Picks. The Artist Ticket program gives our customers a way to donate to causes that we care about.

If you’re an event producer, you can allow your ticket buyers to purchase limited-edition tickets printed with original artwork in your event settings. The ticket buyer will pay a small, additional charge of $0.25 and receive a limited edition, collectible ticket imprinted with original artwork. The current charity of our choosing will receive 100% of the additional charge. Physical tickets must be enabled on the event.

If you’re a ticket buyer, check to see if the limited edition ticket is available at the beginning of the ticket check-out process or by visiting the Artist Ticket page. You receive a small piece of collectible art and support a valuable cause just by checking the box in the Artist Ticket widget when you’re purchasing your tickets.

Saturday, April 5 I El Radio FantastiqueSeattle, Washington

Led by its creator, the charismatic singer, songwriter, dumpster diver and one-time gravedigger Giovanni DiMorente, EL Radio Fantastique is a collection of talented and electrifying musician-performers from the small farming community of Point Reyes Station, California.

The overarching musical influences for the group derive from DiMorente’s coveted record collection scavenged from abandoned tenements in New Orleans and a lifetime of dumpsters. EL Radio Fantastique comprises a unique menagerie of sights, sounds and musical styles. Indeed, the vibration emitted from this group defies all genres as much as an archaic knob would turn on an antique radio. EL Radio Fantastique is known to put on bewitching and alluring shows with steamy theatricality. Consistent with DiMorente”s folklore, witnesses have remarked that the band’s players appear to be charmed and somewhat possessed, inspiring a visceral and enchanted concert experience.

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Tuesday Tease: Boylesque – Part 1

332984-250In this special, two-part series, James Ulness, Brown Paper Tickets Client Services Representative and an avid, enthusiastic member of the Seattle burlesque community, prepares to make his début as a boylesque performer. James has been a regular presence backstage at local burlesque shows for years but this will be his first foray onto the stage.

Over the years I’ve spent quite a bit of time working around the edges of the burlesque world. I’ve written about shows, photographed them, worked backstage, constructed props and have even been a prop myself. But one thing I have never done is perform onstage. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and planned on doing but never quite got around to it. “Someday,” I told myself, “Someday I’ll get up on that stage and I will be amazing.” It took a lot longer than I thought it would but that day has finally come. Or rather, that day is March 22, 2014.

One of the philosophies I try to live my life by is the idea that you should never ask other people to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself. And with all the time I’ve spent around burlesque it would be hypocritical of me to not put myself on a stage. But there was a problem. I had absolutely no idea where to start. The logical starting point would be to take a burlesque class, which is what I was planning on doing as soon as my schedule permitted (and I still recommend it for anyone who whats to jump into burlesque). But while I was pondering when and where to go to burlesque school opportunity came knocking at my door. Chameleon Productions, one of the groups I’ve gotten to know in my time hanging around burlesque folks, announced that they were accepting submissions for there new production, Morsels for a Mongrel.
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Artist Ticket Picks: Glen Miller Orchestra, Thin Lizzy and More

glenn_miller_orchest_67d7fd-1Friday, March 28 I Whiteside Theatre presents The World Famous Glenn Miller OrchestraCorvalis, Oregon

The Glenn Miller Orchestra has always been very musical, disciplined, and visually entertaining.  And it has its own distinctive “sound.” That sound is created by the clarinet holding the melodic line, doubled or coupled with the tenor sax playing the same notes; and the harmonies produced by three other saxophones, while growling trombones and wailing trumpets add their oo-ahs.

Glenn Miller and His Orchestra made a big impact right before and during the war. It had more hit records in one year than anybody in the history of the recording industry. In fact, its recording of “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” earned the first Gold Record ever awarded to a performing artist.

Back in the days of the big band era of the forties, any dance band “worth its salt” had a distinctive theme song. It was the musical signature with which they signed on and signed off at their engagements and radio broadcasts. The theme of Glenn Miller and His Orchestra was the beautiful “Moonlight Serenade”, and it is still the signature tune of the Glenn Miller Orchestra today.
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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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Tuesday Tease: Mardi Gras with a Side of Southern Fried Burlesque

20140131223844-1669879_283701681793257_1260797718_oIs it that time again? Can you believe that Fat Tuesday is just a week away? Things have been raging in New Orleans since the 15th but in the rest of the country, this is the week for Mardi Gras madness.

This week I thought I’d highlight some Mardi Gras events happening both north and south of the Mason Dixie line. I also wanted to feature some great burlesque events happening in the South itself, the American home of the Mardi Gras. We all know that Southerners know how to party and this week you can be sure they’ll be strutting their stuff.

If you’re in the North, party like you’re in the South. If you’re in the South, just do what you do and show that Southern pride.

Friday, February 28 to Wednesday, March 26 I The Mason Dixie Burlesque TourVarious Cities  The Mason Dixie Burlesque Tour brings you the hottest vixens from both sides of the Mason-Dixon! In the spring of 2014, these four award-winning ladies will be crossin’ state lines, eight pasties at a time!​ Starring: Deanna Danger (Richmond, Virginia), Üla Überbusen (New York City), Porcelain (Raleigh, North Carolina) and Hazel Honeysuckle (New York City)​. Co-producers Deanna Danger and Üla Überbusen bring you a show that’s got class, sass and a whole lotta ass!

Shows being ticketed by Brown Paper Tickets are Washington D.C.; Charleston, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; St. Louis, Missouri; Wichita, Kansas; Gainesville, Florida and Orlando, Florida.

Also, check out this great interview we did with Deanna Danger last year on the Tuesday Tease too! She offers some great advise for touring burlesque performers.

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Tuesday Tease: 90’s Retro-Americana

tank_girl__oil_change__anyone__by_mj_chan-d3l2d9pPop culture is always an odd and fascinating thing to behold. Completely unpredictable fads and fashions slip in and out of the public’s consciousness like a pinball, bouncing rapidly from thing to thing in a tempest of lights and sound until it finally drops between the flippers. But neither the ball nor the fad is truly gone forever. They are just sitting in their hold, waiting for their turn to be shot back out onto the playfield.

The 1990s were an… um…. interesting time for pop culture politics and music. This was a time in history when Pepsi was clear, Beanie Babies were an investment and Tank Girls roamed the earth. And now it looks as if it’s the ’90s turn in the ball shooter of retro-Americana with this weeks featured burlesque events.
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Tuesday Tease: Love and Pasties – Valentine Burlesque

7deac8d54c157ffb60e86be3864f6960I know burlesque has a bit of a rowdy reputation but this week on the Tuesday Tease, we want to focus on the softer side of the shimmy. While certainly burlesque can be raunchy, funny, weird, ironic and topical, it can also be sensual, sensitive and très romantique!

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we are going to focus on some burlesque shows that are sure to provide the perfect appetizer for whatever romantic main course you and your significant other have in mind.

Friday, February 14 – Valentine’s Day

Wine & ValentineSeattle, Washington   Seattle’s Tasting Room is thrilled to invite Nickey Bourbon and her troupe of performers back to the Pike Place Market for another show! This special Valentine’s production will feature: Octavia Sexton, Alexa Perplexa, Queen O’Hart, Lana MilknHoney, Ms. Audrey Rugburn & Lesley Rialto. A special wine pairing menu is optional and will feature: Taylor Shell Fish Oyster paired with Treveri Bubbles, Beecher’s Cheese paired with Wilridge Vineyard’s organic white wine blend, Fabrique Delices pate paired with Harlequin Wine Cellars Syrah,  Salumi Salami served with Nota Bene Cellar’s Cabernet and the Symposium red dessert wine from Willis Hall Winery paired with Theo Chocolate.
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