Frenchie Kiss’ Superstars of Burlesque Diary

I was so thrilled to be a part of Superstars of Burlesque, which started as an incredible show in 2009 and has now (year three!) become a full weekend. I’m such a lucky ducky that I got to stargaze and participate in so many ways this year. So, let’s open the pages of my diary, shall we?

Thursday night, September 20th: VIP opening party

Left to right: Murray Hill, Frenchie Kiss, Jett Adore, Roxi D’Lite, Imogen Kelly and Foxy Tann. Photo by Lady Ginger

Left to right: Murray Hill, Frenchie Kiss, Jett Adore, Roxi D’Lite, Imogen Kelly and Foxy Tann. Photo by Lady Ginger

The Superstars have landed! And I got to see Roxi D’Lite and D’Arcy first because they were staying chez moi for the weekend. After some quick catching up, I headed over to the VIP opening party to see the rest of the Superstars, along with all of our VIP ticketholders, from the Everleigh Social Club swing (truly the best seat in the house). Diary, the Everleigh Social Club is Michelle and Franky’s baby, and home to so many of our fun, intimate gatherings. I love it there because it’s like being in the sexy living room of your dirtiest grandma.

The VIP opening party at the Club gave us a chance to mix and mingle and kick the festivities off right. We got to enjoy delicious bites from Get Off the Couch catering while watching a handful of equally delicious Chicago Starlets in a fashion show, modeling the latest little underthings from Taboo Tabou and gorgeous boas from Fancy Feathers. Nora Gretz, Kami Oh and Lily Bloom closed the evening with fabulous, fun, flirty performances.

Michelle L'amour being interviewed by documentary film crew. Photo by Frenchie Kiss.

Michelle L’amour being interviewed by documentary film crew. Photo by Frenchie Kiss.

Behind the scenes, a few of the Superstars were giving interviews to a documentary film crew, the Chicago Starlets were running final group rehearsals, and Jett and I were getting the desk ready for transport to the theatre. The weekend was off to a whirlwind start!

Friday, September 21st: Show day!

Diary, I think we were all dragging after the VIP opening party (or maybe it was just me), so I was happy for the relatively slow start to Friday. The D’Lites and I went for brunch and discussed hair – documentaries, weaves, chemicals, curls and product (isn’t that what you discuss over eggs?). Roxi and I obviously have opinions on good hair, but it was most fascinating hearing D’Arcy’s knowledge on the subject.

Murray doing tech rehearsal with the Starlets.© Frenchie Kiss.

Murray doing tech rehearsal with the Starlets.© Frenchie Kiss.

Happily full, we headed over to The Music Box theatre for tech. Things ran smoothly, but there were a lot of us to go through, and Jett and I were especially focused on getting the desk set just right on the uniquely-shaped Music Box stage. Which meant there wasn’t much time between tech and call. Luckily, D’Arcy was a gem and helped at the house, taking care of food (even though he was a guest! ), giving me and Roxi time to get our makeup on and costumes packed. I am eternally grateful! Once we were set, we were off to the theatre again for the show…

Roxi D'Lite and Michelle L'amour pose in front of the Superstars poster.  ©D'Arcy Bresson

Roxi D’Lite and Michelle L’amour pose in front of the Superstars poster. ©D’Arcy Bresson

And what a show it was! This is the third year that I’ve done group numbers with my Starlet sisters. I love performing with these girls, Diary. But the reason this third time was a charm is because I got to perform ‘Who’s the Boss’ with my beloved Jett Adore, a great follow up to our win at the Burlesque Hall of Fame this Summer. We were both really excited to be a part of the cast with our duet.

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Murray Hill hosted and was a million laughs, as always. He granted me and Jett our new tagline: ‘the Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise of burlesque’. (Thanks, Murray.) And this year featured one of my favourite show openers with the Chicago Starlets all dressed as Murray, running through the aisles of the theatre, yelling ‘showbiz!’ It takes a lot to make Murray speechless, and they did it. Nicely done, girls! The Starlets came back mid-show for a Carmen Miranda inspired spectacle, which is when I got to share the stage with them. Hilarious all around.

Will the real Murray Hill please stand up? Starlets and Murray as Murrays!  ©Lily Bloom

Will the real Murray Hill please stand up? Starlets and Murray as Murrays! ©Lily Bloom

Every act in the show was dazzling, and when I wasn’t performing I was in the audience, watching with stars in my eyes. Everyone was incredible. I can’t even name favourites, because they were all favourites.

Can they all be favourites? I say yes, Diary. Among every single favourite, I do have to mention how special it was to have legend Kitten Natividad perform with us – she was the dirtiest bird of the bunch, and seeing her dance with her photos on the screen behind her blew my mind. I spent a lot of time joking with Michelle that this show practically produces itself (ha!), but to get serious for a minute, Diary, I don’t know how Michelle and Franky put up such an incredible Superstars show year after year, and for Michelle to spear us all in the hearts with her panther act on top of it all? I was speechless, and not just because I lost my voice from screaming so much.

The Dolls of Doom backstage.  ©Lady Ginger

The Dolls of Doom backstage. ©Lady Ginger

I had also worked up quite an appetite. Luckily, so did a few others, so Roxi, D’Arcy and I grabbed a late night bite with some friends from Minneapolis and The Dolls of Doom. It was a great way to end a busy and fabulous day.

Saturday, September 22nd: Workshops

The day after the show, there was a full roster of workshops being taught by a few of the Superstars at Studio L’amour. The workshops are a highlight for me, Diary, because I don’t get that many opportunities to take classes with performers from other cities. I started the day with ballet with Dirty Martini, then did some improv exercises with Julie Atlas Muz, followed by some Charleston work with Russell Bruner (and dance partner work with Lady Ginger). I took a break from classes, but just between you and me, Diary, I did eavesdrop a little into Imogen Kelly’s class because the stories she was telling were so interesting.

The Superstars merch table.  ©Diana Cannon

The Superstars merch table. ©Diana Cannon

I regained enough energy to take hip hop class with the Wham Bams, though, truthfully, Foxy Tann and I were having plenty of fun just watching them teach because they were so entertaining. Seriously, Diary, I am not made for break dance moves, no matter how hard I try! Then I did some flexy, bendy things with the master of bendy-ness, Lola Martinet from the Dolls of Doom. (Thanks for the backbend help, Lola!)

Michelle L’amour, Kitten Natividad and Frenchie Kiss at the T&A Q&A.  ©Franky Vivid

Michelle L’amour, Kitten Natividad and Frenchie Kiss at the T&A Q&A. ©Franky Vivid

We ended the day with a T&A Q&A with master storyteller Kitten Natividad, who is absolutely the sweetest. She said she was shy, but with one question she was off and running with jaw-dropping stories. I never would have guessed that Tony Curtis was into aluminum foil masks, but I got that straight from Kitten’s mouth. Her favourite costume was her blue feathered duster. And she stays fit by doing all her own gardening and home repairs. I should probably take up gardening, Diary, in the hopes of staying as fit as she is when I’m her age! Hearing her speak was a fitting end to such a magical weekend.

Until Superstars of Burlesque 2013, Diary…

Love and bisous,
Frenchie

www.superstarsofburlesque.com

Frenchie Kiss
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