October 12, 2010
It’s been over a week and I am still basking in the afterglow of the New York Burlesque Festival. May I just say it was an amazing experience and I highly suggest more people check it out. I bought the 4-day pass and also took three classes on Sunday which cost a pretty penny, but made the experience all-encompassing and completely wonderfully overwhelming. It was great to have an entire 4 day weekend devoted to burlesque.
Thursday was the teaser party at Brooklyn Bowl. The night was broken into 4 acts, the first 2 hosted by the World Famous *Bob* and the remaining 2 by Albert Cadabra. there were so many great performers that night, and every night, so I don’t have the stamina to write about all of them. I will say I was very impressed with the ‘boylesque’ that night including Paco Fish, Go-Go Harder Faster Stronger and Brad Scolbie. All did fantastic acts and blew me away. The night was complete by dancing into the wee hours with Hazel Honeysuckle, Kita St. Cyr and Cheeky Lane while ?uestlove DJed.
Friday was the premiere party at the Bell House. This show had no intermissions, which I was not expecting, so the long time without sitting was a little tough in my corseted dress. It was still a great show and the host, Scott the Blue Bunny was hilarious, a great mix of sarcasm and insults that kept the audience alive for the whole show. The act to note for the night was Little Brooklyn, who is pregnant and showing. One might think that this would deter people from performing, but Little Brooklyn, the NY legend that she is, embraced it and performed an act where she started nude and different well-known NY neo-burlesque performers came one by one and dressed her in a touching and tear producing sort of burlesque baby shower. By the time Little Brooklyn turned around to show her stomach, I was all emotional and the music box version of “Missing You” (the Aerosmith song) only made it that much more poignant.
Saturday was the Saturday Spectacular at B.B. King’s (times square). This night was hosted by Murray Hill and boasted some of the top acts in the burlesque world. I was lucky enough to sit at a VIP table with Ruby Valentine, Pat (of Pat & Tony) and B. B. Heart (who I commiserated over the lack of vegan food options with) which made the night even more fun. The acts were great and the fact that I got to see so many acts from around the world in one show was quite exciting and fulfilling. The part I was really excited about was to experience Murray Hill as a host. Mr. Showbiz himself, Murray Hill is a fantastic host, walking the line between persona and sincerity that makes you wonder where the quick wit comes from, become jealous of his charm but also want to just sit down and shoot the schtick with him.
Sunday was the Golden Pastie awards. This one was held the Highline Ballroom but since I arrived late most of the tables were already full and I had to join strangers in the VIP section. Different categories are selected each year and the voting was done online. I was happy to see some of my burlesque acquaintices snag a golden paste and it inspired me to keep working in the burlesque world so maybe one day I’d win one. The host on Sunday was Lady Astrid, whose overly sarcastic and unenthused German persona was great to watch laugh with as she mocked the audience and peroformers. This night also held an amazingly poignant moment when Tigger! came on stage to talk about the recent string suicides by LGBT youth due to bullying. A candle light memorial was being held in Washington Square park, so the NYBF had a little moment of silence, which quickly turned into a raucous tribute and message to the youth that it gets better – with Lady Astrid singing “Don’t Stop Believing” as the queer burlesque performers got on stage and danced and the audience all belted out the lyrics. It was a very burlesque way of telling gay and queer youth that there is at least one coommunity that will accept you, and it is quite a fabulous community at that!
ps- Sunday morning I took 3 classes at the NY School of Burlesque. The first one, which I sadly arrived late to due to an emergency, was done by Indigo Blue, the head of the Seattle Burlesque school, about how to convey more expression while performing. If you want to know and see more of Indigo Blue, check out the documentary A Wink and A Smile which shows her as she teaches several ladies in her 8 week burlesque class. You can stream it instantly on Netflix if you have it. The second class was by Dirty Martini which was about strutting and walking on stage. You can see more of Dirty Martini in the french film Tournee which should be coming out in America soon. The final class was the Ultimate Self confidence class by the World Famous *Bob*. This class was an introspective look at yourself and is for performers and non-performers a like. I’d highly suggest any of these classes to others.