Alyssa Kitt‘s epic Australian Burlesque Festival 2016 report continues in Byron Bay and Brisbane. Read Part One here. Read Part Two here. Read Part Three here.
Australian Burlesque Festival: Byron Bay
We boarded the flight from Darwin to Brisbane and then had a late night drive to Byron Bay. Our tiredness inspired a deliriously choreographed suitcase ballet while waiting for our hire-van to arrive. Almost at the end of the tour, we were all aware that Craig is the master of suitcase Tetris and to not try to help because he’ll just take your bag back out and repack it ‘properly’.
This drive to Byron is hazy in my memory. Our phones had all run flat – an utter emergency. Delirium had set in and flash back snippets range from Craig’s questionable music choices of French music, peppered with the odd English lyric to Elena Gabrielle yelling “FILTH” at the top of her lungs, Zelia Rose and I were just laughing maniacally for some unknown reason. We got into Byron past midnight and collapsed, only to wake to see Byron in all its splendour.
Byron is a picturesque beach town, the most Easterly point of Australia. Probably Australia’s hippy epicentre, complete with a huge concentration of hipster cafes boasting fully organic, ethically sourced food and cold-pressed juices. We got a few days rest and respite to relax, take and retake some beach boomerangs and terrorise the town as a girl bike gang. Dirty Martini and I should not be trusted on bikes (as imposing as we were on our low-rider bicycles) and almost caused several traffic accidents. Although, the mere fact that we rode our bikes to get cocktails speaks volumes of how much we should be trusted of bipedal modes of transportation.
The Byron Bay show was the same night as the Australia’s elections, and we were bumping into the Byron Bay community centre flanked by political affiliates trying to hand us flyers to vote for their party. Instead, I believe we convinced them to come to our show. We went from a tiny cast in Darwin to quite a large show of performers in Byron, joined by the newly formed showgirl troupe the Green Fairy Bombshells, who, under the direction of Lila Luxx, provided a schmick, polished and camp opening number.
Australian Burlesque Festival: Brisbane
My home-town of Brisbane was our last stop of the Australian Burlesque Festival tour. I took Dirty to visit and hug koalas with my Mum, just around the corner from my parent’s house in Brisbane. Mama and Papa Kitt were so thrilled to have Dirty come over to visit that they wouldn’t let her leave without insisting upon cooking dinner for her and regaling her with tales of the time that the Schlep Sisters stayed with us.
The Brisbane show was at the old Tivoli theatre, a beautifully refurbished 1920s vaudeville house with an epic balcony and our biggest audience for the entire tour. Imogen Kelly and her horde of puppets joined us again for this show, which is always a treat both onstage and backstage.
After performing both my numbers early in each set I got to pop into the audience and watch some acts that I never get to see from a front-on angle. My favourites include Memphis Mae’s internal monologue act, fresh off the Vegas stage. Such a clever act, a sexy classic tease with her voice-recording perched on top. It’s sassy, comical and Memphis at her best.
Amidst stage managing, Lila Luxx manages to squeeze in a stellar performance. Lila performs a new act entitled ‘Cube’. Boss bitch in a pant-suit with a sound-cued fully engineered light up box! My hat truly cannot be tipped enough for this lady, who makes multi-tasking look so easy and always has us lit to perfection.
The night ended with Australiana soft toys gifted to Dirty Martini, flowers for Dolores Daiquiri and Lila Luxx, a very fancy bottle of whisky for our whisky-loving tour daddy Craig, and a whole heaps of happy tears to be parting ways. The burlesque scene in Brisbane flocked to the show, which felt like one of the most supportive love-fest reunions of so many faces that I love.
Touring with the Australian Burlesque Festival was an incredible experience and one of the highlights of my career to date. I was endlessly proud to be among a cast of such kick-ass women who slayed the stage every single night.
By the last show in Brisbane, I have almost entirely lost my voice, I collapse into my bed with a fever and am thankfully at home with my folks when I finally succumb to the dreaded showgirl flu.
The Australian Burlesque Festival 2017 runs 28 September – 28 October 2017. Find out more at www.australianburlesquefest.com.
Quoted in major international newspapers and held in high esteem and affection by the international burlesque community, 21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene since 2007. Founded and edited by Holli-Mae Johnson.