We are pleased to give you the Burlesque TOP 50 for 2009 – as voted by YOU!
THOUSANDS of you have voted from all over the world – we were stunned by your response and are so glad that everyone took the time to vote.
This is a collective decision – some of you are performers, or people who work within burlesque as producers, writers, organisers, teachers, costumiers, photographers and so on. Others of you are dedicated audience members and enthusiasts. So the people that have made this shortlist have been voted for by their peers and their fans alike.
Overall, you nominated over 800 different performers!
We know that there will be inevitable discussion, and possibly some disagreement about who came where, and those who haven’t made the TOP 50 at all – believe us when we say there have been some shocks and heated discussions in our team over the results!
But here they are – YOUR TOP 50. The fifty individuals who have most impressed, entertained and inspired you in 2009. So let’s celebrate and acknowledge them!
20 – 11
Click on any name to find out more…
20. Kitten Deville (Miss Exotic World 2002)
Kicking off the Top 20 – it’s the Queen of the Quake!
Kitten is one of the most recogniseable burlesque stars; a towering modern-day Monroe who remains completely unique.
Kitten has appeared in every art medium you can imagine.
Books, magazines, music videos, photographs, paintings, documentaries, calendars and catwalks. Bunny Yeager, David LaChapelle and Jean-Paul Gaultier are just three of the big names she has worked with.
Kitten has her own school of burlesque in California, and continues to thrill audiences with her signature shimmy worldwide…
19. Dixie Evans
Now we have a chance to salute a very special lady…
‘The Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque’ (as named by Harold Minsky himself) – Dixie Evans is a living legend and burlesque godmother to us all.
She presides over the Exotic World Museum – a breathtaking collection of images, footage and costume that tell a thousand burlesque stories. And boy, can Dixie tell a good story. We have had the pleasure of hearing some of them, and you always go away wanting to hear more.
It truly is inspiring to speak to her – she is walking, talking, breathing burlesque history…
18. Angie Pontani (Miss Exotic World 2008)[Angie Pontani ©Orlando Marra]
Miss Cyclone has blown her way to No.18 on your list!
Credited as one of the pioneers of Neo-Burlesque; Angie has made burlesque her passion and her business.
She enjoys a high-profile career, appearing in prominent publications and television shows, posing for prominent photographers, and entertaining A-list celebrities.
A choreographer and producer as well as headline performer; Angie produces the New York Burlesque Festival each year, and co-produces and stars in the off-broadway hit, ‘This is Burlesque’
A recent highlight for us was Angie’s farewell performance at The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2009. It was so simple, so disciplined, so skillful. No gimmicks or props – just Angie. It was like a beautiful dream – everyone was spellbound…
17. Perle Noire[Perle Noire ©LA Burlesque]
The Black Pearl of New Orleans is at No. 17. A bold, beautiful burlesque firecracker with a unique talent and fearless dedication.
Perle’s high energy perform ances have to be seen to be believed. Described by some as the reincarnation of her heroine, Josephine Baker; Perle dances with strength, confidence and breathtaking gymnastic agility.
In 2009, Perle was crowned ‘Queen of Burlesque’ at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival. She won Best Debut at BHoF in 2008, and Second Runner Up in 2009 – we are sure that we will see her crowned Reigning Queen at BhoF in the near future…
16. Kalani Kokonuts (Reigning Queen of Burlesque 2009 [Miss Exotic World])[Kalani Kokonuts ©LA Burlesque]
We give you – your Reigning Queen!
We made no secret of the fact that we wanted to see Kalani take the crown this year – and she did it in fine style! (You can read all about her life and career here…)
The ultimate showgirl of burlesque. Every show Kalani produces is an awe-inspiring culmination of her vision, imagination, experience and showmanship; they go above and beyond a one-dimensional striptease. Kalani creates theatre and spectacle – an entire fantasy world springs to life around her.
“Kalani is a lovely person that I have my fingers tightly crossed to work with again soon…”
It was when we saw Kalani’s ‘Geisha’ that we simply ran out of things to say. It was exquisite in its drama, beauty and epic scale – complete with taiko drummers and falling snow. Sensual overload, delivered with absolute authority…
In at No.15, “an award-winning acrobatic burlesque superduo…mixing years of high level circus training, brilliant comedy and electric onstage chemistry…”
Sometimes, when a performer is hilariously entertaining, it can be easy to overlook the talent and dedication to their craft that makes it all seem so effortless on the surface. That never happens with Trixie and Monkey, because they positively ooze talent from every cheeky pore!
And Trixie and Monkey are equally as impressive and inventive when they perform separately, as they did recently at BHoF 2009, in their respective categories. Their performance at The New Orleans Burlesque Festival later in the year perfectly demonstrated how charming they are together.
We have witnessed nothing but deep affection for this dynamic burlesque double act…
14. Tigger! (Mr Exotic World 2006)
This outrageous and award winning neo-boylesque performer has made it to No.14 on your list!
The first ever ‘Mr Exotic World’ to be crowned, and the recipient of several Golden Pasties; Tigger! is unpredictable, scream inducingly naughty, and eye-wateringly flexible! (We have seen male audience members cradle their privates in horror when Tigger! does the splits!)
Buzzing with boundless energy and flamboyance, burlesque wouldn’t be the same without him…
“I met Tigger in the early moments of the new burlesque revolution and was blown away by his exciting performances. Tigger can perform Shakespeare, tell you what famous person was born on your birth date and turn a burlesque audience into a rowdy mob all with equal precision. Everyone who’s been to an international burlesque festival with him feels as if they know him intimately on first meeting.
He is the first man of the New Burlesque defining what gender and performance can do to change perceptions of what is possible. For me, the magic is that he can take an audience full of ‘regular guys’ who arrived to see naked ladies and make them feel a little more comfortable with some fairly taboo and dangerous concepts…”
13. Amber Ray
A burlesque butterfly with bright, luminous wings; Amber travels the world with her brand of “Professional Sensationalism”.
A beauty who creates beauty – you can always rely on Amber to create something colourful, sensual and inviting. Described by Molly Crabapple as a “veritable chameleon,” Amber is equally capable of playing the diva, the siren, a spirit of nature, the clown or the outright bizarre.
Amber also fashions beautiful costumes, headdresses and hair ornaments, and can often be found proudly selling her creations to burlesque festival-goers before thrilling them on-stage in the evenings.
With such an eye-catching presence and zest for life, it is no surprise that artists, photographers and publications are eager to immortalise her…
12. Julie Atlas Muz (Miss Exotic World 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.
A mistress of illusion, innovation, suggestion and sexuality; Julie’s creations are intelligent, provocative and extremely entertaining…
Take it from those who know her best…
“Julie is one of the most unique performers in burlesque. She weaves dance and clowning together like nobody else; plus she makes some of the most beautiful and inventive use of props of anyone I’ve seen…”
“Julie Atlas Muz is one of the most ingenious and under appreciated minds in the New Burlesque. Julie has been defining the parameters and shaping new burlesque since I met her in that fabulous tiny little burlesque venue, the Red Vixen, way back before anyone knew that ‘burlesque’ could mean something different than ‘strip joint’.
Now that everyone you meet on the street knows someone whose cousin does burlesque, Julie continues to innovate, push boundaries and can perform classic retro burlesque better than anyone on the scene. In a land of retro re-enactments, Julie is a true artist…”
11. Satan’s Angel[Satan’s Angel ©Brian Smith]
Do they come more charismatic, ballsy and brilliant than this lady?!
This living legend is adored by new and established performers alike – her teachings and stories are treasured and shared, and there is always an eager queue waiting to say hello wherever we see her. We were thrilled to see her receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at BHoF 2009.
Hell – this woman has truly lived her life in a way most of us would never dare to!
And you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve seen her work those legendary fire tassels!
(Which reminds us of a certain Tease-o-rama when the venue banned her from lighting her tassels at the last minute, and she defiantly declared she would march outside after the show and perform her fire tassels on the traffic island!)
Once you have met her, you will NEVER forget her. A burlesque force of nature…
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.