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Tuesday Tease: The 10th Annual New York Burlesque Festival

Arts >

Get ready New York burlesque fans! In a little more than three weeks, your fine city will host four days of world-class burlesque performance at the 10th Annual New York Burlesque Festival. This festival is considered to be one of the top five festivals in the world for burlesque and the list of performers is veritable who’s who of the neo-burlesque and boylesque scenes: Dirty Martini, Angie Pontani, Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey, Jo Boobs Weldon, Miss Mina Murray, Jonny Porkpie, Tigger! and many, many more.

We are incredibly honored that such an incredible festival chose to use Brown Paper Tickets for their four-day passes this year. You can pick yours up right over here and I advise you get yours quick because they won’t be around for much longer. Trust me. You don’t want to miss this.

We got a chance to sit down with the festival’s co-founder Jen Gapay (pictured above) of Thirsty Girl Productions to talk a little about the history of the festival, what they got planned for their 10 year anniversary, the rise of boylesque and more.

So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, Miss Jen Gapay!

Tell me a little about the history of the New York Burlesque Festival. What’s your history with burlesque? What inspired you to start the festival?
I started producing burlesque shows back in 2001. There was something in the air back then. Burlesque was really starting to pop and it occurred to me that New York should have an international Burlesque Festival so I asked Angie Pontani if she would want to co-produce the New York Burlesque Festival. We hosted our first festival in 2003 to sold out crowds and the rest is history, or her-story rather!

Do you have anything special planned for your ten year anniversary?
Yes we do! We are bringing out burlesque legend Tempest Storm for our Golden Pastie Awards show! We also have live music each night of this years festival, The Hot Sardines, Ricky Railto, The Brian Newman Quintet and The Fisherman Xylophonic Orchestra!

While you have performers from all over the world, there seems to be a strong showing of New York-based performers. Do you intentionally try and keep the New York presence strong at this festival?
It is important for us to support the New York burlesque community in the festival, but also, many of the best burlesque performers come from the Big Apple, so that makes our choices pretty easy.

You also were involved with the 1st Annual New York Boylesque Festival back in April and boylesque is represented at this year’s festival. Have you seen an increase in boylesque performers over the last couple years?
In the last couple of years there has been a big increase in the number of boylesque performers, both internationally and in New York and we have tried to represent as many as possible in the New York Burlesque Festival. But something happened in the last year and it seemed like the number of boylesque performers doubled all of sudden, and it occurred to me that the boys should have their own festival, so I teamed up with night-life promoter Daniel Nardicio and we produced the first ever New York Boylesque Festival in April of 2012. It was extremely popular, especially with the boys, and we sold out in advance and had to turn many people away. So undoubtedly, there will be a second NY Boylesque Festival in 2013!

Tell me a little about the Golden Pasties award. Any notable past winners?
The Golden Pastie Awards is to a burlesque performer, what an Oscar is to an actor!

Not really! Its more of a spoof on the Oscars and we have silly awards such as, “Performer Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse,” “Performer Most Likely to Start a Harem” and “The Performer Most Likely to Start a Bar Brawl,” but then we also have some more serious categories, like “Fanciest Feet,” for the performer with the fanciest dances moves and “The Hottest Freshman Award” for the newbie burlesque performer that is impressing the masses.

We have a nominations & a final voting process that is on our site that is open to the public, so go vote now!

It’s an extremely fun show with both performances and awards and its hosted by Miss Astrid each year who does a fabulous job of making fun of the whole concept while cracking you up at the same time.

Any advice for burlesque performers out there that may want to take part in next year’s festival? What do you look for in a performer?
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 and 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 and even though these videos tend to be higher quality, it really is ideal for us to hear and see the audience reaction as well as view a high quality video.

There you have it! Excellent advice from a seasoned burlesque producer. We want to thank Jen wholeheartedly for taking the time from her crazy schedule to chat with us.

I hope all of you in the Big Apple and beyond make it out to the ten-year anniversary of the New York Burlesque Festival. The whole she-bang kicks off on Thursday, September 27 at The Bell House in Brooklyn and finishes off with the Golden Pastie Award Show on Sunday the 30th at The Highline Ballroom. While individual tickets are available for each day, we advise you to pick up the four-day pass so you don’t miss one second of what is surely going to be THE burlesque event of the year.