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.

 

myself, Hazel Honeysuckle, Kita St. Cyr and Cheeky lane at the Thursday night Teaser Party

 

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.

 

Curtain call at the Saturday night Spectacular

 

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.

 

Mr. Showbiz himself, Murray Hill!

 

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!

 

Curtain Call on Sunday night.

 

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.

 

Headed to the Sunday night after party - Hazel Honeysuckle, me, Cheeky Lane & Kita St. Cyr

 

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If you have been a reader for the past few months you know I have done a lot of backstage work for Wasabassco Burlesque since I’ve gotten involved in the NY  new burlesque scene.  Well, a week or so ago Doc Wasabassco had been asking around to try and find a stage manager for the Saturday City Winery show. I asked if I could step up to the plate and use my past backstage and kittening experience to help out.  Doc was down with the idea and I once again joined some wonderful performers down in the weird hidden dressing room of City Winery.  I was in charge of collecting music, filling out the info sheet for the show (performer order, song titles, when to cue music, etc) rounding up the performers, working the curtain, stage cleanup and helping to set up and props/chairs that the performers needed for their acts.  Since people had seen me the previous show from backstage, this time I got more dressed up.  Sadly I forgot to take pictures of any of this because things just went so quickly I completely forgot.  To keep this post short I’ll briefly give a synopsis of each performer and their amazing act (not listed in any specific order).
Marlo Maruise did a super adorable act where she had a large makeup puff that she used almost as fans to dust powder all over he body. Kita St. Cyr did a traditional glam striptease with some sparkly articles of clothing. Amber Ray did a super creative almost showgirl act where she had lilly pads on the stage and a bra that when she took it off and put it together it created a flower. Jenny C’est Quoi did her “I am the Walrus” act that I love so much and makes me giggle everytime. Vikki Likkerish did a fan dance, but the fans were made of balloons. Ruby Valentine did an act that included swinging nun chucks around. Stormy Leather started as a housewife, then undressed and used rope to create a knotted corset for herself, while blindfolded. Nikki Le Villian performed an act with candles and in the end poured the wax on her chest. Sapphire Jones did a comical routine where she was dressed up as a school lunch lady.  Also,Albert Cadabra, who performs  at Ripley’s Believe it or Not, did a magic act and a balloon swallowing act.
At the end of the show during the curtain call, I got to go on stage and share the applause with the wonderful performers.  Overall it was a very fun and rewarding night and I look forward to working with Wasabassco again in the future, hopefully soon as a performer!