Toronto’s burlesque scene is blowing up! The Canadian cultural hub has always been known for producing great art and its contributions to the burly world are certainly no exception. Some of the best performers that I saw at the Great Burlesque Exposition back in March hailed from Toronto and I was especially taken with St. Stella, who performed an amazing routine with James and the Giant Pasty at the Rhinestone Revue, the weekend’s opening show.
What set Stella apart for me was her obvious dance experience. While many burlesque performers have dance backgrounds, I’d never seen a performer incorporate classical dance moves so seamlessly into a burlesque routine. It gave her routine a sense of sophistication and grace that set it apart from anything else in the show that night.
I caught up with Stella for an interview about her experience, influences, the Toronto scene and her upcoming show Meet Me Under the Bleachers. She was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to chat with me and she even offered some advice to burlesque performers just getting started.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to present the lovely St. Stella. Enjoy! Read More…
This past weekend, our East Coast Ambassador A.J. Andrews and I had the honor of attending the Great Burlesque Exposition in Boston. This incredible showcase of burlesque talent was celebrating its 7th year of existence and both A.J. and I were bowled over by the amount of talent that was presented to us over the course of this past Easter weekend.
This week on the Tuesday Tease, I’ll give you a breakdown of, what proved to be, an incredible weekend featuring burlesque royalty and newcomers alike. I personally left Boston feeling inspired and excited for the future of burlesque and I have to give a big shout-out to Scratch and Miss Mina, the Exposition’s founders, for putting on an amazing festival.
So, without further ado, here’s what went down:
Friday night’s kick-off show, The Rhinestone Revue featured a wide spectrum of burlesque talent: from classic burlesque to comedic burlesque routines to boylesque and I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite act since they were all so incredible but I will talk about a few of my favorites.
The Boston Babydolls are Boston’s “home team” burlesque troupe and Mr. Scratch, their director, is the organizer of the Exposition. The act was a Vegas-style number set to the JXL Remix of Elvis’ “A Little Less Conversation.” The only lighting in the act was from flashlights that the girls were holding and they used them to great effect to create an exciting routine that had the audience on their feet screaming for more. To me the act was able to feel new and exciting, while paying homage to classic Las Vegas showmanship. Well done Babydolls!
A couple other highlights for me were two girls from BPT’s hometown of Seattle: the always graceful and stylish Shanghai Pearl (pictured) and Scandal from Bohemia, who did an act to Weird Al’s “My Bologna” that involved meat pasties and a big ‘ol sandwich. The centerpiece of Shangai’s act was an absolutely stunning peacock costume and her effortless grace impresses me every time I see her perform.
Dot Mitzvah did a great operatic routine to an Yma Sumac song. The high notes were not lyp-synced! She sang it all while taking it all off. Boylesque performer Paco Fish did a hilarious routine in a judges wig and robe, which ended with his gavel in a most compromising position and Canadian performers St. Stella and James and the Giant Pasty, did a highly original act that was inspired and super sexy, with references to great works of art.
On the classic side of things, modern-day burlesque legend Jo Weldon did an incredible fan dance that was a tribute to Pink Light Burlesque, an organization that she founded that offers free burlesque lessons to breast cancer patients (See video below). Cherokee Rose displayed some impressive tassel twirling technique and Canadian performer Burgundy Brixx busted out a sweet boa that ended up being a robe in disguise.
Winter is coming to an end and spring is springing up all over the place! The snow is beginning to melt away and be replaced by flowers, which can only mean one thing: festival season is here!
Burlesque conventions are a great way to not only network with fellow performers but also to see some great up-and-coming talent, perhaps see a living legend of burlesque and to witness the top burlesque performers that are touring the convention circuit. You can get a few tips, perhaps pick up some stage gear, and hob-nob with your burlesque idols.
This year, Brown Paper Tickets is ticketing more burlesque conventions and festivals than ever before and the first batch are going on sale already with the PA Burlesque Festival coming up this weekend, quickly followed by BPT newcomers, the Southern Fried Burlesque Fest and The Great Burlesque Exposition in Boston, where Brown Paper Tickets will have a table set up and where we’ll be teaching a class on the Sunday of the conference. If you’re planning on attending the Expo, be sure and come up and say hi!
As we get closer to summer, we’ll feature more festivals but be sure and get your travel plans in order for these incredible festivals and conventions. Just judging by this list, it’s going to be HOT this Spring! Read More…