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: 50 – 31
With an equal number of votes, No. 50 is shared by…
‘The Queen of Australian Burlesque’ kicks off the Top 50 this year. Imogen remains one of the most original, innovative, bold and creative performers in burlesque. Her performances inspire excellence and ambition within the Australian community. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing her Marie Antoinette routine again at BHoF in June, and her ‘Chandelier’ and ‘Flamingo’ routines wowed the crowds at a number of events in Australia in 2011.
Also at No. 50 is Miss Coney Island 2009, the gorgeous and feisty Gal Friday! She won a coveted New York Burlesque Festival 2011 Golden Pastie for ‘Perfect Posterior’ and continues to be a popular instructor at the New York School of Burlesque.
Mr Showbiz has had another sensational year. He hosted Dita Von Teese’ Strip Strip Hooray! tour for a second year, made an appearance on UK television, and has just hosted another fabulous holiday show.
Arguably the most established and best known burlesque photographer, and a much loved member of the community, Don Spiro has made your Top 50 this year! Don continues to produce wonderful photos from a number of events, including the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend and the New York Burlesque Festival.
(He also led the tributes to his late partner, Diane Naegel, who we tragically lost in September, and miss so very much… Ed.)
We are so happy that he has made the Top 50, he surely deserves to be here.
Spreading fun and joy with endless exuberence, wit and vigour; Khandie took off from UK shores in 2011 to entertain the crowds at the Australian Burlesque Festival and over the pond at the Paris Burlesque Festival. She has also ventured into acting this year, and will soon be on screen in an upcoming Alan Moore film. Khandie also teaches fun-filled classes in London and continues to pen entertaining and thoughtful columns for 21CB.
Darlinda Just Darlinda
It’s wonderful to see this uber-talented Schlep Sister make the TOP 50! Darlinda is a burlesque performer, producer, instructor, a performance artist, and has appeared on television and in Off Broadway productions. In 2011 she led a number of classes and workshops at BurlyCon, and performed at NYBF, the Toronto Burlesque Festival, the Dallas Burlesque Festival, and on tour with ‘Dangerous Curves Ahead’. She also competed with fellow Schlep Sister, Minnie Tonka in the Best Troupe category at BHoF in June.
“Hold onto your hats! Nothing can quite prepare you for the exotic Luna Rosa. As shapely and sultry as Dorothy Lamour, she has all the glamour and mystique of old Hollywood. Everything about her – from her fabulous feathered costume to her intriguing choice of music – is so well considered, and man, can this gal move. With each hypnotic sashay, Luna entices you further into her mysterious world. Fall under her spell, but take care – she might just break your heart.”
Liz Aratoon, The Stage.
That puts it pretty well we think! Beautiful Luna has captivated audiences in London, Italy and Spain this year, and has been nominated for a London Cabaret Award.
Kitten de Ville (Reigning Queen of Burlesque 2002)
At No. 44, it’s the iconic Kitten de Ville. Kitten is one of our most recognisable burlesque stars; a towering modern-day Monroe who continues to thrill audiences with her signature shimmy worldwide. Her 2011 appearances include performances at BHoF, the Windy City Burlesque Festival, the New Orleans Burlesque Festival and the Paris Burlesque Festival.
With an equal number of votes, No. 43 is shared by…
Making the TOP 50 for the first time – singing, dancing, producing UK starlet, Amber Topaz has spent much of 2011 touring the UK in An Evening of Burlesque, alongside fellow London performers, Kiki Kaboom, Slinky Sparkles and Chrys Columbine.
Sammich the Tramp
The loveable scamp from St. Louis has made your list again this year. Sammich has spent much of 2011 focussing on her role as the producer and artistic director of The Beggar’s Carnivale, and is the production assistant for the Show Me Burlesque Festival. She also continues to perform wonderful routines with Lola van Ella.
With an equal number of votes, No. 42 is shared by…
Cha Cha Velour
At 42, it’s the ‘Burlesque Beauty, Tattooed Cutie’, Cha Cha Velour! Since 2006, Cha Cha has delighted Las Vegas with a variety of kitsch and colourful acts, including ‘Teach me Tiger’ – an act performed with a full-sized tiger puppet which won her ‘Best Solo’ at the 2011 Texas Burlesque Festival (see her perform it here at the 2011 Southwest Burlesque Festival…) Earlier in 2011, in Las Vegas Weekly, she said of burlesque: “I can’t imagine life without it … Burlesque is in every aspect of my life. It’s a sickness I don’t want to be cured of.”
Also at No. 42 is “The foul-mouthed buxom Godmother of LA burlesque”, Lili VonSchtupp! Making her debut in 2004, Lili is the co-producer of Monday Night Tease!, LA’s longest running weekly burlesque show, and is the host and creator of Burlesque Podcast, which offers a series of very enjoyable interviews to listen to.
Beatrix von Bourbon
Beatrix has continued to establish herself not only as a thoughtful, accomplished performer, but as a writer, tutor and a mentor. Her guides and articles for 21CB remain some of the most popular and widely read features on this site. In 2011, Beatrix has divided her time between giving beautiful performances in Germany, and giving equally entertaining performances and valuable instruction at a number of UK events and locations.
The ‘Reigning King of Burlesque’ is in at No. 40. His performance at BHoF this year won ‘Best Boylesque’ AND ‘Most Dazzling’ – you can watch it here!
This hot Aussie also toured BRIEFS, an all-male burlesque cabaret, which entertained for a month at the Edinburgh Festival.
With an equal number of votes, No. 39 is shared by…
Making her beginning in the Moscow ballet at the age of three; Greta is a fire-breathing, trapeze-flying temptress who performs with The Alley Cat Revue, St. Louis and makes beautiful costumes and accessories. Here she is at the Show Me Burlesque Festival 2011 afterparty…
Gravity Plays Favourites
Katrina Dohl and Michelle Mynx ‘have been flying high across the US and beyond as Gravity Plays Favorites for over five years’. Combining striptease and acrobatics; they have performed with the Dresden Dolls and Margaret Cho, and entertained at The New York Burlesque Festival, Cabaret Verdalet, La Biblioteque in Sweden, and at BHoF.
Immodesty Blaize (Reigning Queen of Burlesque 2007)
British bombshell, Immodesty Blaize has had another busy year. She hosted Triumph Lingerie’s Inspiration Awards in March, headlined a Warchild benefit at the historic Gibson Hall, gave a special birthday performance for Depeche Mode, performed at the Royal Opera House in a stunning, specially created costume, and returned once again to the famous Windmill Theatre.
Italian performer Dixie Ramone makes her TOP 50 debut at No. 37. In 2011, she represented Italy at the New York Burlesque Festival, the Paris Burlesque festival, and acquired some new fans in Las Vegas. She also instructs new Italian hopefuls at ‘The Academy of the Art of Burlesque’, and strives to be an effective and committed ambassador for Italian burlesque.
This young lady definitely deserves a place in this list. What an exciting talent – that seems to have come out of nowhere and burned so brightly in a relatively short time. Born and raised in Spain, trained in tango and flamenco, and now settled in New York, Medianoche really got people’s attention in 2011, when she was invited to join Dita von Teese on her Strip Strip Hooray! tour. She also appeared at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival. Her costumes, movement and manner are exquisite and fuelled by a passion and dedication to her craft that makes us long for more.
The Bishop of Burlesque has blessed the TOP 50 with his presence at No. 35, and it’s lovely to see him make the list. Behind many of the most celebrated and successful events in the burlesque calendar, and always on hand at such events to bestow a blessing on proceedings, is the devoted, long serving stage manager, David Bishop. He has stage managed the New York Burlesque Festival since 2004, the BHoF Weekend since 2007, and has blessed shows and festivals in fifteen US states. His 2011 credits also include the New Orleans Burlesque Festival, Colorado Burlesque Festival, the Show Me Burlesque Festival, and BurlyCon.
Voted ‘the most fun to share a dressing room with’ and ‘the performer most likely to have a travel bar in their purse’ at The New York Burlesque Festival 2011 Golden Pastie Awards; Minnie is a ‘sassy semitic sexpot’ that can always be relied upon to be quirky and unpredictable, especially with her fellow Schlep Sister and partner in crime, Darlinda Just Darlinda. In 2011, Minnie performed a hilarious routine at BHoF, competing in the Best Debut category, and Minnie and Darlinda also competed for Best Troupe.
At No. 33, grace and flexibility personified! Aerial goddess, Midnite Martini is famous for her incredible stocking peels and innovative circus routines. Midnite’s 2011 included performances at The Great Burlesque Exposition in Boston and the Grand Burlesque Show in Montreal, competing for the title at BHoF in June, and co-producing the Colorado Burlesque Festival, as well as her own, ‘Midnite Martini’s Sexy Circus Sideshow’.
With an equal number of votes, No. 32 is shared by…
The creator of Peaks and Pasties – Southern Colorado’s first and only burlesque, boylesque, vaudevillian, variety troupe; Lola Spitfire and her troupe perform at the most prestigious venues in Southern Colorado and frequently contribute to local charities. She aims to incorporate ‘classic, traditional, vaudevillian, and modern talents, along with the art of theater and burlesque’ into every show she produces.
Lola is the co-producer of the Colorado Burlesque Festival, and headmistress of ‘Spitfire and Sparkle Academy of Burlesque’. Additionally, she is a Satan’s Angel-approved fire tassel queen!
Go Go McGregor
Also at No. 32 – sassy St. Louis based showgirl, GoGo McGregor. Making her burlesque beginning with The Alley Cat Revue three years ago, GoGo is highly valued in her local community as a performer, teacher and producer, and is making her mark across the US.
She is also the co-creator of ‘Batty for Bling’, creating couture costumes and accessories with Greta Garter (N0. 39).
Described by Lola van Ella as “an action packed power house of amazing!” Jeez Loueez has made your TOP 50 for a second year.
In 2011 she performed at the Windy City Burlesque Festival, Colorado Burlesque Festival, New Orleans Burlesque Festival, and the Show Me Burlesque Festival. A trained actor and dancer; Jeez has appeared in a variety of revues and musical productions, and gives private dance lessons in Chicago.