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!
30 – 21
Click on any name to find out more…
30. Leyla Rose
After nine years as a professional belly dancer, Leyla exploded onto the UK burlesque scene, and has performed internationally alongside some of the best in the business. Often found on stage or in the classroom with her partner in crime, Missy Malone; Leyla has featured in Harpers Bazaar, Q Magazine and Playboy, and is proudly sponsored by Vivien of Holloway.
29. We have a tie!
Our resident columnist has made your list! Spreading fun and joy with endless exuberence, wit and vigour; Khandie has become a much loved addition to the UK community. She constantly surprises us with a new style or approach, and is never afraid to articulate her opinions or concerns with intelligence and good humour. It’s a pleasure to have you with us Khisses…
Khandie shares her spot with another UK starlet. We hear such affectionate accounts of Diva from those who have received support and inspiration from her. We were fascinated and privileged to learn more about her struggle with MS, which she discusses openly in the hope of encouraging others to be open about their disabilities, and even allow it to enhance their creativity and performance, as she does.
“I get amazing emails from audience members and other performers making me feel very humble about the fact that I have been so open about my illness and that going out there doing what I love gives them strength and confidence to fight what is going on in their lives…”
28. Miss Astrid
This weimar wonder holds a very special place in our hearts. We defy you to find an emcee with such eye-wateringly sharp wit and deadpan disdain! Her timing and perception is quite simply incredible – you don’t know whether to cower in your seat or howl with laughter.
A highlight for us this year was seeing her conduct the wedding ceremony for Michelle and Franky at BhoF this year. We were dabbing away the tears on this beautiful occasion – but we could hardly tell which were tears of joy for the happy couple and which were Astrid-induced tears of hilarity! If you haven’t experienced this iron lady in action yet, do so immediately – you don’t know what you’re missing…
27. Honey Lulu
Arguably best known for her iconic giant teacup; Honey frolics with an array of elegant props and constructions for our delight. Teacups, perfume bottles, a giant purse – she thinks big, but always keeps her performances classic, clean and glamorous, with tongue firmly in cheek. We find her utterly charming…
Another hot hostess at 26! We first came across Kitten at Tease-o-rama some years ago, were we enjoyed several interludes of saucy songs, and were soon singing along with the rest of the audience to such classics as ‘Salty Meat Girl’, ‘Pretty Princess Day’ and ‘Pony Girl’!
Equally wonderful in a beautiful gown seated at a grand piano as she is with big pink hair and mini ukelele’s over her nipples; Kitten is delightfully silly, outrageously naughty and extremely talented…
25. Ava Garter
Hold on to your hats folks! Scorching hot Hollywood siren ahead! With her flaming red mane and hypnotic amber eyes, Ava transports us back to a golden era of glamorous, feisty women.
Described by Liz Goldwyn as the ‘Striptease Queen of the Silver Screen’, Ava has performed world-wide, for a variety of high profile brands, with mouthwateringly gorgeous costumes and classic, playful routines. We have enjoyed getting to know Ava, and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next…
24. Gentry de Paris
At 24, the hard-working Hollywood honey who brought burlesque back to Paris. In a city saturated with commercialised titillation, Gentry’s glittering spectacles and soirees attract an eclectic mix of celebrities, eccentrics and jetsetters, as well as the grateful burlesque enthusiasts who flock to enjoy the classic striptease and cocktail-fuelled frolics.
In 2009, Gentry realised a grand vision – The Gentry de Paris Revue at the historic Casino de Paris – a modern reinterpretation and revival of the traditional Grande Revues of Paris.
A classically trained dancer; Gentry shares her ethos and experience with her students at her school of burlesque, and is frequently consulted by the french media for her burlesque insight and expertise…
23. Missy Malone
Part rock-chick, part pinup princess; Missy has to be one of the most popular and recogniseable UK performers. Actress, trapeze artiste, model, stilt walker, striptease siren and instructor – Missy is already well established at 24 years of age, and remains highly sought after by photographers, producers and brands…
22. Nasty Canasta
It is widely agreed that Nasty is one of the most innovative and frankly ingenious neo-burlesque performers of today. Thanks to her ‘Unknown Stripper’ routine, we can safely say we will never think of Groucho Marx in the same way ever again. Ever.
She is bold, she is unique, and thoroughly deserves her place on this list…
21. Little Brooklyn
Just hearing her name brings a smile to our faces. Little Brooklyn is one of the greatest comedic burlesque performers we have.
Merging slapstick and striptease, she never slips out of character for so much as a second. (So that makes her niche ‘StripStick’… Or ‘SlapTease’… Now we think about it, StripStick sounds like a burlesque product someone should invent – maybe like a glue stick for stripper-related craft activities? SlapTease sounds kinda kinky… Anyway, we digress!)
Only this year (2009) she was awarded ‘Most Comedic’ at the Burlesque Hall of Fame pageant, and has won a hat-trick of Golden Pastie awards in her native New York.
She is so brilliantly expressive and fearless – willing to stoop to all levels of ridiculousness for our entertainment! Brooklyn – we thank you!
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.