Dear Constant Reader,
I know I’ve taken forever — more than a month — to give you my Expo report, but I wanted to make sure it was lavishly illustrated and the photos have just begun trickling in. So, let us begin with the first event on the first evening.
The Great Burlesque Exposition kicks off Friday night every year with the Rhinestone Revue, a gathering of special guests and Howard Award winners from years past and the current title holders.
(All photos by John Bilotti for The Great Burlesque Exposition, expect the photo of Blaze by Chuck Jones)
We were very fortunately this year to have the show hosted by The Buxom Foul-Mouthed Godmother of LA Burlesque, producer of Monday Night Tease, Lili VonSchtupp, bringing us a little #vagic all the way from Hollywood. Lili was also at the very first Expo which was held the same weekend in February and also had extreme weather. And yet she came back!
Femme Brulee, Most Beautiful 2013: Appeared as a giant bath puff, wrapped in the largest pastel tulle boa I have ever seen. A costume malfunction did not deter her from finishing strong.
Scarlett Letter, Most Classic 2007, Best Solo 2010: Slithered about the stage in a serpent gown. Audiences familiar with Scarlett’s performances can’t wait for the moment when she pulls her hair pins and four feet of red hair come tumbling down. She then rushed off to prepare to stage-manage The Bordello next door.
Scandal from Bohemia, Most Humorous 2010: She usually calls this act Minnesota Strip but in honor of our epic snowfall, she renamed it Massachusetts Strip. She came out all bundled up and proceeded to get less dressed and hotter to an appropriate Jimi Hendrix song.
Lucy Buttons, Most Classic 2009: She did a Jazz Age turn as Lucy The Mooch. I was kind of distracted at this point because I knew we were going on soon and I couldn’t give the stage my full attention. Too bad for me, Lucy’s a great performer, so I know I missed out.
JZ Bich, Most Humorous 2009: I missed this one completely because we were getting ready to head backstage. I could hear that it was to “Bohemian Rhapsody”, but that’s all I can tell you…
Taradise, Burlesque Idol NYC 2014: She welcomed us to Taradise on her private island. I was pretty impressed with her light-up fans and dancing en pointe, but the highlight (no pun intended) of the act what when she rubbed up against her palm tree suggestively and it suddenly lit up! I later learned the palm tree is named Peter. Of course.
The Boston Babydolls: We had just done a fairy tale-themed show, Bumps Upon a Grind and this was the finale. The Three Blind Mice (Devora, Evie, and Stella) are just minding their own business when a clever cat (Betty) and her not-very-bright friend (me) see lunch… Choreography credit goes to Stella Diamond for this one.
Angie Pontani, Miss Exotic World 2008: A graceful statue, Angie yearns to leave her pedestal and dance. Magically she’s is transformed into a living woman. She dances with abandon until, reluctantly, she must return to her frozen state. Angie’s a mesmerizing performer and I think there were some tears in the audience when she sorrowfully became a statue again.
Kitten Natividad: Our Legendary Guest this year was Russ Meyer Girl, Kitten Natividad. She was just a delight, on-stage and off. One of her songs was “Poetry in Motion” and it couldn’t have been more appropriate. She’s so graceful and full of charisma, yet earthy too — you can’t keep your eyes off her. We have so much to learn from our Legends.
Bella Blue: I’ve heard a lot about Bella Blue, but this was my first opportunity to see her perform. She commanded that stage from the moment the lights come up. The passion of her movements matched that of the song (“El Tango de Roxane” from Moulin Rouge) and her glove peel was particularly epic.
Blaze, Most Classic: A stunning vision in red, Blaze’s lavish costume was accessorized with “The Precious”: a vintage fox fur with three tails, embellished with rhinestones and dyed the same vivid color as Blaze’s hair. And it came into her hands that way; she didn’t change a thing. Some partnerships were just meant to be.
Scarlet Starlet, Best Hybrid: She calls herself “Miss Majorette of Burlesque” and began with very traditional baton twirling (the skill that brought her the trophy last year). Very quickly the mood & music changed to something a lot funkier. yet, the baton twirling remained excellent.
Whisper De Corvo, Most Beautiful: Whisper presented the beautiful act Forget Me Not which she used to propose to her partner. Her big reveal moment came when she swept her draperies aside to show her burgeoning baby bump.
Red Velvet, Most Humorous: She romped around stage as an orange cat and really nailed those feline mannerisms. What cat could resist all those feathers! Especially her boa tail.
Nina La Voix, Best Solo: Nina may have had a classic costume with gown & boa, but her style is much more high-energy. Of course, she showed us all #whatdatbootydo with an impressive range of butt tricks.
You can see more pictures and read Jimmy Berg’s account of the event in Burlesque Beat.
Don’t forget you can help The Expo!