Vermont Burlesque Festival, Saturday part 2

Dear Constant Reader,

For the first two parts of this account, go here and here.

I think we arrived at Higher Ground before the show actually started, checked in with Kyla, and headed to the Chinese restaurant next door. A chicken and vegetable stir-fry is one of my favorite pre-show meals, so that was perfect. The photo is kind of dark, but we’re all wearing LBDs and the matching jackets Betty made for us, plus our rhinestone name necklaces from Scratch. The other 4 Babydolls have incorporated their demon horns for our number into their hairstyles.

After a relaxing dinner, we headed into the venue, which was completely sold out. We found a place to stand, way in the back, and watched some of the first set. After a while, my feet started to hurt and I went to the “Big Room” where the groups were set up. Betty and I sat under the warm lights on the stage and stretched. Just after the first intermission was over, Scratch came and got us because he had procured seats up front.

We got to see the second set of the show from the luxury of the second row and then we scampered off to the Big Room to get dressed and warm up for our number.

The show was unusual for a festival in that many of the performers from the previous night performed again. And a couple of the headliners performed twice. It made for a very long show. A few highlights from the bits I did get to see:

  • Miss Astrid: she’s one of the best MC’s in the business. A pleasure to watch her rip people up one side and down the other.
  • Jonathan Bitchman and Quechee George: a burlesque of burlesque to “Maple Syrup Time/Pour Some Sugar on Me”. So funny. So local. Nice scarf work.
  • Everybody who sang. Especially those who sang and stripped. That’s a challenge!
  • Scarlet James: So beautiful.
  • Lili Von Schtupp: Dirty and oh so funny. And she used a song from The Wet Spots which would have won my heart if she hadn’t already done so years ago. You can see her performing at The Expo in less than 2 weeks!
  • Cha Cha Velour: Her Bearded Lady number was quite touching.
  • Alexa Luthor: She performed a charity strip for a local cancer center. She tossed her gloves and hat into the audience and they came back full of money.

    And then there was Ray Gunn. My God. Of the three Stage Door Johnnies, he was the one I had not seen perform before, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting this show. He did “Trust Me”, the act that won at BHoF. I was stunned into silence. Later I was able to see how the snakey movements initiated in the core, like he’d shown us in class, and really appreciate what an excellent dancer he is. However, at the time all that was on my mind was that I had never seen anything so sexy on stage.

    And on that note, we all scrambled off to the Big Room to get into our costumes, touch up our makeup, and warm up. We were presenting “Hell”, our very first ever group number, although it has improved vastly in terms of dance and costume, it’s still the story of a sweet young thing (me) seduced by demons (everyone else).

    There wasn’t a lot of communication between the crew and the performers and it was impossible to hear the stage from the dressing room, so I was getting really anxious about getting to places on time and staying warm. Finally, we stepped out on stage and started.

    Scratch later said that it was as well-executed as he’d ever seen us do it, which is high praise from him. But I could tell we just didn’t have the audience. The lights came up on us in position before our music started and those few seconds of dead air just sucked the audience’s energy. There was a lot of energy on stage, so I hope we won them back. Also, it was *very* late at this point and a lot of the audience had left at the previous intermission and I could tell that many of those that were left were just tired. Frustrating.

    Still, we were happy with our performance when we came off stage and wriggled into our Babydolls t-shirts (our standard attire for curtain call) and rushed out into the house to see Ray Gunn again. We all perched on the back bar, which was a great vantage point. He premiered his Dandy act, which just blew me away. His musicality was stunning (I believe I said something unfit for delicate ears). He’s one of those rare dancers who looks like his movement is creating the music*. And the music itself was terrific: strong and powerful.

    Then we heeded the pleas of the stage crew and took our places for curtain call. It was kind of a cluster with so many performers cramming in the back hall. I managed to get separated from my fellow Babydolls and had to sneak on with Green Mountain Cabaret.

    And here’s absolutely everybody:
    (Photo by Michael Z. Rork at Zinfandel Photography)

    And that was the Festival!

    The recap of Sunday is: we drove to Boston, we went straight to the studio, we rehearsed, I went home, I slept.


    * My former bellydance teacher Taj is another one. Her dance “War Drums” has the same effect.

  • Published in: on 30 January 2014 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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