The Burlesque TOP 50 2014 continues with 20 – 11!
On each results page I have included information, links and footage so that you can get to know all the people on this list, especially if you are new to burlesque or less familiar with some of the names.
Please Note: The results are determined by thousands of public votes. I do not decide who makes it into this list. Please resist emailing me to complain or campaign.
NB: All links open in a new window, so you won’t lose this page.
The Burlesque TOP 50 2014 is sponsored by Sublime Boudoir
20. Missy Lisa
Texas golden girl Missy Lisa kicks off the TOP 20! She entered the Best Debut category at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in 2014 and was awarded ‘Most Classic’ – one of the multiple awards Team Texas took home on the night. 2014 BHoF footage isn’t out yet, but you can watch her perform the same routine here when she won Miss Viva Las Vegas 2013.
In 2014, Missy also appeared at the Dallas Burlesque Festival (read her Festival Diary here), the New York Burlesque Festival, the New Orleans Burlesque Festival, the Kansas City Burlesque Festival, and gave a step-down performance at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. Her troupe, the Ruby Revue, celebrated their 4th Anniversary with a special show at House of Blues in Houston.
19. Kitten De Ville
(Miss Exotic World 2002)
‘Queen of the Quake’ Kitten De Ville, widely admired for her iconic status and a lovely woman to know, shook it like only she can pretty much non-stop in 2014.
Highlights included the Toronto Burlesque Festival, the Windy City Burlesque Festival, the Helsinki Burlesque Festival, the Toronto Burlesque Festival, shows in Paris, Cirque Rouge in Vienna, Lucha VaVoom, and The Missy Malone and Friends Burlesque Revue in the UK. Kitten also instructed and encouraged students at the Kitten De Ville School of Burlesque throughout the year.
Kitten De Ville at the Helsinki Burlesque Festival 2014: ‘The Temptress’ [VIDEO].
Kitten De Ville at the Helsinki Burlesque Festival 2014: Dixie Evans ‘Casting Couch’ Tribute [VIDEO].
Burlesque Beauty: Kitten De Ville (21st Century Burlesque Magazine).
(BHoF Best Boylesque 2010)
Trixie and Monkey celebrated their 2nd Wedding Anniversary and thirteen years together in 2014, but when you consider their schedule it’s incredible they found any time to mark the occasion! Performing together and separately throughout the course of the year, here are some of their many highlights…
In June, Trixie and Monkey performed in the Sunday Night Icons and All Stars showcase at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend. Trixie’s solo act was not accepted for the Queen category but she took it in her stride, responding publicly to the news with this thoughtful and intelligent piece.
Together, the much loved pair performed in New York, visited London to perform at The Box and in an edition of SLEAZE, and appeared at the Moisture Festival in Seattle.
Trixie teamed up with Jen Gapay to produce SHAMELESS in New York, which starred herself and Monkey alongside a brilliant cast including Captain Kidd and Bambi the Mermaid. Trixie also produced Trouble In Stubble: A Night of Male Striptease in Baltimore, featuring an incredible line-up of boylesque superstars, including Monkey, Tigger!, Captain Kidd and Mr Gorgeous. She revisited Baltimore again to put on the 3rd Annual Baltimore Beauty Pageant, and the 10th Annual Holiday Spectacuthon in December, which also starred Midnite Martini and Little Brooklyn.
Monkey travelled the world in 2014 as a BRIEFS cast member. I caught the show at London Wonderground and he was outstanding, as you would expect! Monkey also appeared at the Boylesque Festival Vienna.
The long awaited Trixie and Monkey documentary, Us Naked, finally screened in 2014, but only after a passionate Kickstarter campaign to raise enough funds to complete the film. They made the target at the eleventh hour, with Monkey shaving off and mounting his iconic moustache, as promised for a $10,000 donation!
Trixie and Monkey Talk Love, Success, and Burlesque at DOC NYC.
The Us Naked trailer.
Trixie Little’s ‘Banana Peel’ act at All Natural Organic Burlesque 2014 [VIDEO].
Trixie Little’s ‘Balloon’ act at All Natural Organic Burlesque 2014 [VIDEO].
The Evil Hate Monkey at the Vienna Boylesque Festival [VIDEO].
17. Vicky Butterfly
UK heavyweight Vicky Butterfly was back on sensational form in 2014. She was beautiful on her twinkling, rocking moon at London Wonderground in Black Cat Cabaret. She was exquisite and captivating in the delightful Cabaret at Scarfes Bar. She mercilessly teased each side of the audience in turn at the Wonderground edition of Another F*cking Variety Show – nude and glowing and just so damned cool. Yes, darlings, I’m all but naked under this mesmerising cape, but you’ll see what I want you to see, when I want you to see it, if I feel like showing you. Deal with it. Sooo sexy.
Vicky also performed in Cabaret Lune Noire in Switzerland, LouLou Champagne’s Beauties of Burlesque in Paris, and Voodoo Deluxe in Milan. Back in London she performed in Soho Burlesque Club at the Hippodrome Casino and in Salon des Artistes at The Cafe Royal. She saw out the year at Neil Kendall’s Nativitease in Chester, UK.
Together with the ‘Dark Prince of Cabaret’ Mr Dusty Limits – who got a respectable number of TOP 50 votes himself – Vicky’s creativity and vision has made the Black Cat Cabaret brand an award winning success, and Cabaret at Scarfes Bar was another highly enjoyable hit from the two of them (big props to Lili La Scala for bringing that one home, too). I look forward to seeing what they come up with in 2015.
16. Bella Blue
The hard working Bella Blue has achieved a high profile presence in the scene this year online and off, which would explain her high-hitting new entry in this list, but she is by no means a new face on the block. Born and raised in New Orleans, Bella Blue made her burlesque debut in 2007 and established The New Orleans School of Burlesque in 2008, which hosts weekly burlesque classes. She is also the Artistic Director of The Dirty Dime Peepshow, The NOSB Student Showcase, and the producer of The Blue Book Cabaret at Lucky Pierre’s which runs six nights a week. Busy lady!
As well as keeping all of the above ticking along in 2014, Bella performed at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2014, hosted workshops at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival and collaborated with striptease titan Michelle L’amour on The Joy of Tease, which also starred Jo Weldon, Darlinda Just Darlinda and Jett Adore.
Bella also won over 21st Century Burlesque Magazine readers with her TOP 10 Guide to Best Burlesque Behaviour, which was one of the most popular features on this site in 2014.
Bella has been working away in New Orleans for years establishing and supporting a thriving scene, and you have recognised her efforts.
15. Aurora Galore
Aurora declared 2014 #YearoftheWeirdo as a challenge to herself to push harder in terms of creativity and innovation than she ever had before. And what a result! Aurora competed in the Best Debut category at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2014 and was awarded… ‘Most Innovative’! Bang on target. The international burlesque community fell in love with her distinctive, fearless routines, and equally distinctive and fearless makeup and costume both on and offstage.
In London, Aurora brought her own production 3 Serpent Circus to the Vibe Bar on Brick Lane, performed in Another F*cking Variety Show at London Wonderground and Edinburgh Fringe, and starred in The Save Rubyyy Jones Revue and Soho Burlesque Club. She also appeared in a Kinky & Quirky show in Devon, at the Vienna Boylesque Festival, and Supperclub in Amsterdam. On top of all that, Aurora rubbed shoulders with RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Sharon Needles at Meth Lab in London and Adore Delano at the Powder Room in Brighton.
Offstage, 21st Century Burlesque readers loved Aurora’s Top 10 Lies They Tell You About Burlesque, which made the 21CB TOP 20 Burlesque Articles of 2014. She also offered a series of online makeup tutorials, which you can view on her YouTube Channel.
Aurora Galore discusses her 2014 highlights in an end-of-year video blog.
Aurora Galore in Fräulein Frauke Presents – Victorian Asylum [VIDEO].
Aurora Galore’s Fan Dance in Another F*cking Variety Show [VIDEO].
Aurora Galore performs ‘The Grinch’ in 2014 [VIDEO].
Aurora Galore’s 2014 Fire Showreel [VIDEO].
Aurora Galore performs ‘Ride on Time’ at Soho Burlesque Club [VIDEO].
The Burlesque TOP 50 2014 is sponsored by Sublime Boudoir
14. Jeez Loueez
RUFIOOO!! ‘The Powerhouse of the Midwest’ Jeez Loueez has cracked your TOP 50 again.
In January 2014 Jeez performed in Beggar’s Carnivale in St. Louis, and in March she produced the largest Jeezy’s Juke Joint to date. She was crowned ‘Queen of the Southern Fried Burlesque Festival’ in Atlanta and was the host and Associate Director of the 5th Annual Show Me Burlesque and Vaudeville Festival.
In June, Jeez competed for Best Debut at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend with her highly entertaining ‘Rufio’ act, and she went on to headline the Windy City Burlesque Festival. In November she headlined the Humboldt Burlesque Expo in California.
13. Ray Gunn
(BHoF Best Boylesque 2013)
You might want to unlace your corset, open a window or put some plastic sheeting down for this one (did I go too far there? Heh.) Smoking hot and insanely talented boylesque hunk Ray Gunn has struck out on his own in this year’s Burlesque TOP 50 and he stormed through 2014 with all of his usual style, sex appeal and considerable charm.
As the 2013 ‘Best Boylesque’ title winner, Ray gave an electrifying step-down performance in the Movers, Shakers and Innovators showcase at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend. His ‘Jabberwocky’ routine is seriously something to see!
Ray also performed at the Florida Burlesque Festival, the Show Me Burlesque Festival, the Texas Burlesque Festival, the Vermont Burlesque Festival, the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, the Nerdlesque Festival and the Southwest Burlesque Showcase! A multi-talented artist, Ray not only wowed us with his own routines but choreographed acts for his peers in Naughty Little Cabaret. He also thrilled at the Edinburgh Fringe with his fellow Stage Door Johnnies Jett Adore and Bazuka Joe, Tigger! and Russell Bruner in boylesque extravaganza DIXEY. The boys put together a DIXEY Guide to Boylesque Brilliance, which you can read here.
Whether he’s sensationally solo or part of a renowned trio, Ray is loved the world over and this result proves it.
12. Dita Von Teese
Burlesque’s triumphant mainstream ambassador was as productive and focused as ever in 2014 and appears to be moving determinedly into a new phase dedicated to her work as a designer. I anticipate further signings and promotional appearances for her global fan club to enjoy, but fewer public performances from Dita in the future (I could, of course, be wrong – only Dita knows her plans). However, she certainly gave her US fans a tour to remember in 2014.
Dita reunited with her Strip Strip Hooray! dream team – which included celebrated big hitters Dirty Martini, Catherine D’Lish, Murray Hill and Perle Noire – to embark on a final US tour, beginning in the South early in the year and finishing up in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. I saw the show towards the end of 2013 and appreciated how inclusive, high energy and accessible it was for the hardcore fans swooning all around me.
Dita also performed at Café Olé at Space Ibiza, made an appearance on Project Runway, and appeared at Julien’s Auctions to honour Gypsy Rose Lee as bidding opened on some of the burlesque legend’s incredible costumes and accessories.
In 2014 Dita continued to cement her reputation as a passionate, informed and hands-on lingerie designer, bringing out new collections which were distributed by an increasing number of fashion retailers and included a collaboration with Destination Maternity. Online lingerie superstore Bare Necessities chose to stock the widest range of sizing of any retailer. Dita commented that it “makes me very proud, because since I first created the collection, it was important to me to offer glamorous lingerie for just about any woman who wants it.”
11. Angie Pontani
(Miss Exotic World 2008)
Perched proudly just outside the 2014 TOP 10 is a veritable machine, an uncompromising, business-minded burlesque pioneer who probably doesn’t stop to sleep during burlesque high season.
I wanted to interview Angie Pontani for years, and I finally got my chance towards the end of 2013 during my burlesque business trip to New York, pinning her down for an hour or two just before the New York Burlesque Festival madness began. Angie is refreshingly candid, extremely funny, incredibly focused and charming to speak to, and she’s been around long enough to have a pearl or three of wisdom about pretty much anything you could ask. Our long discussion finally got transcribed and edited this year and 21st Century Burlesque Magazine readers loved the result, making it one of my most talked about interviews ever. If you haven’t read it, pour yourself a glass of something and enjoy it here.
In 2014, Angie joined the all star cast of Theatre Bizarre in Detroit and performed in the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Burlesque Showcase, The Great Burlesque Exposition and the Southern Fried Burlesque Festival. She also appeared at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret in Denver, with the Ruby Revue at the House of Blues in Dallas, and starred for two nights at Dragon-i in Hong Kong. In addition, she performed on The Queen Mary for Ink-N-Iron, in Jo Weldon’s GodDamned Women, toured BURLESQUE-A-PADES throughout the year and saw out 2014 at Snoop Dogg’s Snoopadelic Cabaret at TAO in Las Vegas on New Years Eve. Get all that? Phew!
Alongside co-producer Jen Gapay, Angie oversaw another fabulous New York Burlesque Festival (covered here by Imogen Kelly), and together with the New York School of Burlesque produced the Burlesque Legends Mothers Day Brunch, which was attended by burlesque legends Jean Idelle, Kitten Natividad and Shannon Doah.
Many, many jobs well done Angie. Bring on 2015!
Angie Pontani in the Viva Las Vegas Burlesque Showcase [VIDEO].
Angie Pontani at Hukilau 2014 [VIDEO].
Angie Pontani at the New York Burlesque Festival 2014 [VIDEO].
Angie Pontani at the Southern Fried Burlesque Festival 2014 [VIDEO].
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.