Burlesque Hall of Fame 2015: Icons and All Stars
21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene…
Kitten ‘N’ Lou here, reporting from the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2015 Sunday night spectacular! After a criz-azy ‘show-busiest couple’ style weekend, jam packed to the glitter gills (panel speaking, bowling tournament judging, legends night performing, and competing in two categories on Saturday, PHEW!), we filled our pineapple cups with tequila and settled in for a night of getting straight up DAZZLED.
21st Century Burlesque Magazine Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2015 Coverage is sponsored by Fancy Feather.
Icons And All-Stars (or as we have re-named this year’s show: Sex, Drag, and Rock ‘N’ Roll!)
The Sunday night show is always a stunner because the competition is over, peeps are kicking back and cutting loose, and the showcase is filled with pros who ain’t got sh*t to prove. Which makes for EXCELLENT showbiz! There are so many highlights from this night, but here are the moments that we and the audience seemed to really hold on to:
We have to begin by shouting from the rooftops how freaking fantabulous the dynamic drag hosting duo Ernie Von Schmaltz (Seattle) and Victoria Deville (Minneapolis) were together. Each pros at hosting in their own right, but having never met or worked together, they apparently spent weeks Skyping each other to get a feel for each other’s style and working out their schtick. And boy did it show: seamless, flawless, hilarious. They were like two seemingly unrelated delicious flavours that taste even BETTER together, like peanut butter and chocolate, or a bowl of soft serve ice cream with whiskey dumped on top of it, then set on fire. YUMMY. Victoria had us feeling some kind of way with her incredibly smart, funny, and moving song about marriage equality, set to Part of Your World. We’re pretty sure she single handedly witched that SCOTUS decision into existence with this performance. Also, we can now add ‘cried actual tears over a Little Mermaid song’ to our list of things we never thought would happen in a zillion years.
LouLou D’vil, who kicked off the show with her cowgirl act, is often called ‘sex on legs’, and we would say that description is 100% accurate! Rumour has it she’s moving her Finland fine-ness to Vegas, so they better prepare for the weather to get a few degrees hotter than usual.
Tigger! did his poignant and clever ‘Applause’ act, which never fails to put a huge smile on our faces. He spends a good five minutes graciously waving and bowing to the sounds of rapturous applause, only to be devoured to shreds by the crowd which adores him. We’ve watched and been part of this act several times and it never gets old; it’s such a pleasure to see this superstar use his acting chops.
Stephanie Blake bowled us (and the audience) over with her outrageous flexibility and floor work again! She entered in one of the most stunning and architectural costume pieces we’ve ever seen: a floating spiral of white fur and diamonds wrapping around her body. With that costume and her mane of flaming red hair, she could have easily got away with just parading around on stage for five minutes and we would have all died happy. But NOPE, instead she did backbends and about 15 different kinds of pretzel-y splits, leaving a room full of people half her age feeling suuuuuuper lazy and out of shape. And we loved her for it.
Imogen Kelly was unexpectedly and sadly unable to physically be at BHoF this year, but she made her presence felt and heard in a MAJOR way. Sending along a letter to be read aloud, her words were a call to arms, a rallying cry, a stripper manifesto. Use this platform as more than just a fancy promenade. Demand what you are worth. Get paid. Be heard. Although El Vez closed the show with an exuberantly kick-ass Liz Renay tribute set to a Sex Pistols tune, Imogen’s letter was the most punk rock moment of the evening by far. Sending so much love to that fierce lady.
Back to the sex: Michelle L’amour. In a giant cage. As a panther. With dat A$$. And a paw shaped merkin. (Insert blushing face/eggplant/water droplets emoji). Clearly she leaves us incapable of making coherent sentences. GUH.
Good GAWD LORD BABY LADY JESUS, Roxi D’Lite knows how to put on a motherflippin’ show! Now y’all know we’ve all been salivating to get to see her instantly infamous ‘Madame X’ act in person, and it seriously delivered. She worked the stage like a boss, worked that gag-worthy giant padded ‘X’ prop like a boss, and worked that hot gimp (normally we would say it is a mortal sin to cover Ray Gunn’s pretty face, but this would be the exception) like a BOSS. And can we talk about that dress?! You know, the one that now officially makes all other fishtail gowns look basic? Her costumer should win the Nobel Peace Price.
We were so thrilled to see the bizarrely brilliant Bambi the Mermaid honoured with a Sassy Lassy Award. Presented by our own bizarrely brilliant new Queen Trixie Little, we were treated to an irreverently reverent glimpse into the life, times, and work of this pioneer in the new burlesque movement and guardian of Coney Island magic. You know someone’s work is truly weird and wonderful when you could barely hear the speech being given due to the collective constant gasps of shock and wonderment over Bambi’s slideshow of fantastical images created over the years. So inspiring.
We finally got to see Dirty Martini’s ‘Leda and the Swan’ act live, and we’re still swooning! Dirty is the perfect example of a performer who knows how to use classical imagery and technique in an act to great effect; no ‘fancier-than-thou’
Indigo Blue rounded out the drag element of the evening with a super fun and campy tribute to Miss Gay Seattle 1985 Smokee LeFaux (calling in Lou for some last minute drag brow tutelage), recreating her ‘Big Splash’ act, complete with gorgeous hand beaded raindrop splash costume and multiple death drops.
Overall the show was sexy, hilarious, moving, and most importantly after 101 hours of burlesque watching that weekend, quickly moving, thanks to the skilled hosts. We stumbled out of the theatre content, inspired, and ready for some deep fried jalepeno chilli cheese potato skin onion blossom poppers at TGIF’s. Until next year, treasures!
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21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene since 2007. Founded and edited by Holli-Mae Johnson.