Well, here we go again! Thank you all for your patience – I have counted, confirmed and written up the results as fast as I possibly can, and here they are.
A record number of you voted this year, and the results are very interesting. There are several new entries in the TOP 50 this year. There are also a few tied positions, so there are more than fifty people acknowledged in this list, but we see it as an excuse to celebrate even more people by sticking to fifty positions, rather than fifty individuals.
2011 was an amazing year for burlesque, and I think the TOP 50 reflects its variety, creativity and quality. I had the pleasure of enjoying some incredible performances, and interviewing many beautiful and talented people. I am thrilled to see some new faces make the list after the fantastic contributions they have made in 2011.
Please feel free to leave comments below, and discuss the results on our TOP 50 Facebook page, or on Twitter with the tag #burlesquetop50
(Tired but happy Editor-in-Chief)
RESULTS: 20 – 11
Kitty Bang Bang
We are thrilled to see Kitty made the TOP 20! We got to know her much better in 2011 and just can’t get enough. An intelligent, beautiful, athletic, multi-talented artiste with a distinctive combination of glamour and grace and an edgy, rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic.
She certainly got everyone’s attention at BHoF on Thursday night with her ‘Viva Las Vegas’ routine. In the words of J.D. Oxblood: “…I realized she was on pointe. And had been, the entire act. What vaults this performer into the “wow” is the execution of non-ballet steps on pointe. Jazz steps, ballroom steps – do we have that shot of her absolutely LEANING? – all on pointe.”
Kitty also thrilled the crowds with a provocative fire routine in The Hurly Burly Show in London’s West End, and came away a winner from the Milan Burlesque Awards.
Kitty deserves her place, and we can’t wait to see what she does in 2012.
At No. 19, is the innovative, sometimes controversial, playful and unique entertainer, Ms Tickle.
In 2011, she competed for the title at BHoF with a provocative and memorable act, and wowed everybody at the New York Burlesque Festival with a stunning costume and striptease to match. She also popped out of a cake to wish Gypsy Rose Lee a happy 100th birthday at the New York centennial celebration.
Fan yourselves people, a scorching hot Texan has just landed at No. 18!
Ginger is a consistently great performer to watch, with a beautiful smile and eyes you could lose yourself in. In 2011 she earned particular praise and attention as the winner of the New Orleans Burlesque Festival ‘Queen of Burlesque’ competition. You can enjoy her winning performance here… Ginger also competed for Best Debut at BHoF, and seduced her adoring public at Bustout Burlesque.
Ginger continues to be the co-producer and director of the Ruby Revue, which performs regularly in Texas, and helps to produce the Dallas Burlesque Festival.
At No. 17 is a fiery latin goddess that never fails to make us smile, with a wonderful sense of humour that infects her audience. Ophelia has been seducing us in her own wonderful way for over twenty years, moving expertly from the ridiculous to the smoulderingly sexy.
Ophelia performed a hilarious, well executed routine at BHoF this year, and has established The Playful Peacock Showgirl Academy for those eager to benefit from her wisdom and skills. It makes us smile to imagine how much fun a class with Ophelia Flame must be.
We are thrilled to see Ophelia recognised in the TOP 20, she holds a very special place in our hearts.
With an equal number of votes, No. 16 is shared by…
World Famous BOB
BOB has had a busy 2011! She hosted at the New York Burlesque Festival, and won two Golden Pasties – voted the performer “who has as much bling on the inside as they do on the outside”, and “the performer most likely to win RuPauls drag race”. She did a beautiful job of hosting the BHoF 54th Annual Burlesque Reunion Showcase, leading us all in her ‘Burlesque Pledge of Allegiance’. She also led classes at BurlyCon, and continues to teach her amazing self confidence workshop in New York and often at the events and festivals she attends.
BOB’s credentials and resume are mindblowing. She has been photographed by the likes of David LaChapelle and Mario Testino, taken to the catwalk for Lane Bryant and worked with Thierry Mugler, starred in MTV commercials, won six Golden Pastie awards, and graced the pages of Marie Claire, Esquire, Hustler, New York Times Magazine, Paper, Mode and Bust Magazine, amongst many others.
BOB is world class – and your votes have kept her in the Top 50 for another year.
Satan’s Angel is your chosen TOP 50 Legend this year. Her energy and intensity is simply incredible – her passion, drive and wonderful stories continue to inspire and entertain endlessly.
In 2011, her appearances included fantastic performances at Hotter Than Hell Burlesque in Dallas, and at the Montreal Burlesque Festival.
She has also completed the filming of her upcoming documentary: Satan’s Angel – Queen of the Fire Tassels. You can watch the trailer here…
Miss Astrid (Kate Valentine)
A spectacular climb to No. 15 this year for Miss Astrid, aka Kate Valentine – creator of The Va Va Voom Room (1997), a contemporary pioneer, and one of the best emcees in the business.
As Miss Astrid in 2011, she hosted the BHoF Tournament of Tease, and at the New York Burlesque Festival. She also appeared at the Helsinki Burlesque Festival, and was the emcee at Roxi DLite’s first production, Boom Boom Burlesque in Windsor, Ontario.
Kate also gave her State of the Union Address at BurlyCon in 2011, and the two speeches she gave were compiled and published on 21CB in November. A number of people returned from BurlyCon in October and contacted us to say how moved they were by this address, and to stress how important they thought it was that the speech could be read and discussed by the wider community. It certainly got people talking!
Kate has been contributing and entertaining since the contemporary burlesque revival began, but is always looking forward and wanting the best for burlesque and the community. Your votes show how much she is valued.
‘Boylesque’ superstar Tigger! is in at No. 14.
The first ever ‘Mr Exotic World’ to be crowned, Tigger! is unpredictable, scream-inducingly naughty, and eye-wateringly flexible! Buzzing with boundless energy and flamboyance, burlesque wouldn’t be the same without him…
In 2011, Tigger performed at the New York Burlesque Festival, in Michelle L’amours epic Superstars of Burlesque show, and flew off to Australia to host Jac Bowie’s final Burlesque Ball. He also put together a very special performance for the BHoF Sunday Night Spectacular, which involved many other celebrated male performers.
Tigger! throws the gauntlet right down in every performance – you can’t be a passive audience member. Every fantastic routine provokes shock, surprise, exhileration or laughter, and sometimes all four at once.
Tigger! also got married to his loving partner, Scott. Much love and congratulations again guys x
Julie Atlas Muz (Reigning Queen of Burlesque 2006)
Julie is someone we can’t really define. In fact, we wouldn’t want to limit her scope of artistry and performance by attempting to define her.
The woman is FEARLESS. And her history as a performer is fascinating. A mistress of illusion, innovation, suggestion and sexuality; Julie’s creations are intelligent, provocative, often extreme, and always entertaining.
In 2011, Julie spent a lot of her time touring with her fellow Cabaret New Burlesque members, Dirty Martini, Mimi Le Meaux, Evie Lovelle, Kitten on the Keys and Roky Roulette. Julie, Dirty, Mimi and Kitten also led a special workshop with us during the London leg of the tour.
She also performed throughout the BHoF Weekend, including this performance from Thursday night, and also performed with her fiance Mat Fraser in Roxi DLite’s Boom Boom Burlesque show in Windsor, Ontario. (Additionally, we have heard nothing but rave reviews of their amazing adult cabaret show, The Freak and the Showgirl – check it out!) Julie also produced a special show, entitled, Knock Knock. Who’s There? 9/11. 9/11 Who? YOU SAID YOU’D NEVER FORGET! To mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
Julie is, in short, a genius. A warm, generous, thoughtful human being, who can make you feel like the most important person in the room and leave you feeling so encouraged and uplifted. It’s unthinkable that she would not make this list.
Lola Van Ella
The mistress of song and striptease from St. Louis in at No. 12!
Striptease and song is so often a marriage that doesn’t quite work. So few performers can do both to a high standard, and at the same time. But Lola is an example of how well it can be done. It’s the little gestures, winks, raising of the eyebrows and knowing smiles that make her performances special.
In 2011, Lola performed in a variety of shows and events in and around St Louis, including the Show Me Burlesque Festival, which she produces. She also performed in the New Orleans Burlesque Festival competiton, and continues to run her marvellous burlesque school at Van Ella Studios.
Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey
Sat just outside the TOP 10 is one of the most talented and adored couples in burlesque – and they celebrated their tenth anniversary this year!
Their list of appearances in 2011 is long and varied, but it includes performances at Viva Las Vegas, frequent shows at The Box in London and New York, at The Toronto Burlesque Festival, the Colorado Burlesque Festival, the Best of Midwest Festival, the incredible Superstars of Burlesque show in Chicago, not to mention a number of their own productions. And we will never forget their hilarious performance at BHoF in June. People were doubled over laughing, it was just brilliant.
Trixie and Monkey also perform separately of course, and they both returned to the stage individually at BHoF to entertain us. Trixie performed this fantastic routine on the Thursday night, and Monkey returned to hand over his ‘Best Boylesque’ crown and look back on his reign (SO funny). Monkey also joined the lineup for Rick Delaup’s new production, Boylesk: Male Striptease Revue, in New Orleans.
Monkey surprised Trixie after their performance at Lucha VaVoom on their tenth anniversary with a marriage proposal, and we couldn’t wish them more joy and happiness than we already do. We defy you not to get a bit misty eyed watching this…
We were very excited to hear about the upcoming documentary film about their lives and partnership, Us Naked, which has been filmed gradually over the last few years. It sounds like the perfect way to mark the tenth anniversary of such a fascinating and successful partnership.