Hello, darlings! C’est moi, Frenchie Kiss, Temptress of Twirl, Chicago Starlet, one half of the Frenchie and Jett ever-lasting Duet, and gal still processing the magic, drama and sparkle that was Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend 2015. Are any of you still trying to catch your breath? Yes, it’s August, and, yes, we can still be reeling because I think this year’s weekend was the best yet!
21st Century Burlesque Magazine Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2015 Coverage is sponsored by Fancy Feather.
It’s hard to narrow down the je ne sais quoi that made the weekend such a standout, but I’ll try by focusing on the performers who competed in the Best Small Groups and Best Large Groups categories in the 2015 Tournament of Tease.
Best Duo… er, Small Groups
Before I go one word further, I need to say (again) that I wish we could return to the Best Duo category. Last year I wrote that the dynamic between two people in a duet is so different from what happens with three or more people on stage. To me, it’s odd to lump the threesomes in with the twosomes, especially this year when all the Small Groups were duets! *End rant and moving on.*
Gin Minsky and Perle Noire, self-proclaimed wives, opened the category with an act full of side-eye and shade as they dueled their flapper selves to the death. They have an obvious chemistry due to their longtime friendship, and the audience (full of a well-established fan base) lapped up their big boobs/small boobs jokes and topless cartwheels. Who wouldn’t?!
Circus De Moccos was back again this year with their trademark red wigs and pure zany joy. Even if the audience had no idea what was happening, we couldn’t help but smile and laugh our way through their superhero act because – come on – superheroes! In red wigs! With a palpable authenticity! I felt like I was watching a psychedelic Japanese gameshow and will always root for them.
Kitten ‘N’ Lou! It’s no secret that I am one of the show-busiest couple’s biggest fans (among many). They were EVERYWHERE during the weekend, and we couldn’t get enough of them! If we were betting on the competition outcome (per J.D. Oxblood’s suggestion), I went in to the night betting on them to win. I was betting on them to win last year, too, and, as all of us who have attended BHoF weekends for several years know, the competition outcome is often surprising. They did not win, but they also did not disappoint with their signature camp and drag cowgirl/boy act. They had props and a cactus and lip-synching. They were polished professionals who told a fun, funny story with their act. They made it look easy up there and I loved it!
The Original Twins, Paris and Trojan, are two-thirds of last year’s winners for Best Small Group, but they were not resting on their laurels with this charming, brassy, comedic, acrobatic act. We saw them dancing to I Can’t Do It Alone from Chicago musical fame, which, for those of you who don’t know (and if that is you, please stop reading and go watch Chicago) is about a sister act, so to see these brothers doing it was really funny! They carried it off perfectly and brought us all in on the joke. It helps that they have had a lifetime of brotherly love to seal their chemistry and ability to play well together on stage. They dazzled us and won again!
While I’m on the subject of duets, I have to mention Tansy and Leon Sugar, otherwise known as The Lion. This duo did not compete, though I’m not sure why because they melted my mind (and are mostly why I’m still reeling two months later) when they performed as lion tamer and lion on Thursday night. It was so unexpectedly hot and compelling, and that duo raised the bar for Saturday night’s competing duos. Meow and WOW!
Best Large Groups
The secret word for this category seemed to be ‘collaboration’. The majority of these groups were all about the power of camaraderie, something the BHoF audience loves. I do, too! But I also think there’s a noticeable difference between a group that has a creative director and one who doesn’t. Being a member of a group that does, I know the difference when I see it: the director gives the group a little extra polish because you have one person whose job it is to make sure all people are working in harmony, creating images and putting on a good show. I want to urge groups that don’t have this creative direction to find it; one extra set of eyes will take things to the next level!
That said, Don’t Blink Burlesque seemed to have a director and group focal point in Matt Finish, who was crowned Best Boylesque later in the evening. They worked the crowd with their Proud Mary act. (Historical note: Proud Mary was the act Foxy Tann & The Wham-Bams won with in 2006.) Who doesn’t love a large group of people twirling tassels and assels?!
Sizzling Sirens Burlesque Experience brought their game faces, literally. They gave us a real life Operation game table, and combined stripping with ‘Hammer Time’ and major group assel twirling. They were newcomers, and crowd-pleasers!
Cheescake Burlesque Revue is a popular group as they’ve performed at BHoF several times and they always bring the cute! This was a high-energy, New Orleans-inspired number that ended with a ‘Cheesecake’ corset reveal. (Major props to Champagne Sparkles who was injured, but since the show must go on, did her best with a gold brace.)
Last but not least, Jenny Rocha and Her Painted Ladies made their debut with a modern and controversial breast-focused act. They had clear direction and sweet hip hop moves, complete with the dangling boob choreography that I found clever, and had the audience cheering. Though later, those same cheers became commentary on the ‘was it or wasn’t it’ political correctness and body shaming of a boob job, then dangling boobs. Regardless of the discussion, they stood out among the other groups and were polished. I predicted them to win and they did!
Did this help you catch your final breath? Whew, it helped me! I want to congratulate all the small and large group performers for all bringing the entertainment and fun to this year’s competition. Until next year, darlings… bisous!
View the full list of competition results here and stay tuned for more Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2015 coverage – enjoy all the coverage so far HERE!
About Fancy Feather