Welcome to the SIXTH year of The Burlesque TOP 50! I don’t want to contemplate how many votes I have personally tallied over the course of six years – am I really still doing this?! Well, I do it because you love it, and once again you have made your voices heard in your thousands.
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.
One final quick disclaimer to make sure everyone is clear: 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
50. Mat Fraser
Check out the handsome devil making his Burlesque TOP 50 debut, kicking off the countdown in style! Mat Fraser has worked in modern sideshow for over ten years, in cabaret for twenty years, and in neo-burlesque since 2003. He is arguably the UK’s best-known disabled performer, and he regularly hosts and performs at such famous US venues as The Slipper Room, Burlesque on the Beach in Coney Island, and The Box.
Mat became a hunky household name in 2014, starring in the latest series of the hugely popular American Horror Story. Every week when the show aired, the search terms on this website were maxed out with his name, often combined with the words ‘nude’, ‘naked’, and ‘single?’
Sorry to disappoint his enthusiastic new fans, but this talented chap is taken, and he and burlesque superstar wife Julie Atlas Muz were outstanding in their tour of Beauty and the Beast, a fabulous, freakish fairytale which tells their unique, hilarious and tear-inducingly romantic love story with charming-but-rampant tissue paper bunny rabbits, deeply personal monologues about their life together, and a shamelessly pornographic dinner table scene involving suggestive items of fruit.
Mat also spent some time in London delivering more outrageous episodes of SLEAZE and performing in the London Wonderground Sideshow, and in New York he appeared in Bushwick Burlesque and the New York Boylesque Festival.
Mat is more than worthy of a place on this list and I’m glad to see his entry after a high profile, highly successful year.
Interview: Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser (Partnerships Series).
Video Interview: Mat Fraser (This Is Cabaret).
Review: Beauty and the Beast.
Mat Fraser: American Horror Story (The Guardian).
Access All Areas: Mat Fraser on Disability Arts [Video].
49. Catherine D’Lish
(2 Time Miss Exotic World Winner)
While she is universally acknowledged as the mistress of striptease, Catherine demonstrated other talents in 2014. She collaborated on a hypnotic debut single Dead Air with electro swing maestros Bart and Baker, which was accompanied by a music video showcasing Catherine in all her curvaceous, amber glory. She also created a range of sumptuous dressing gowns, which were all snapped up within moments – naturally, and in the build-up to the launch of her own fashion line she brought out some adorable bunny slippers as a festive offering.
Catherine spent much of the year touring in France with Cabaret New Burlesque, and reunited with Dita Von Teese and the original Strip Strip Hooray! cast for the final US tour.
Here’s to another year of song and seduction from Mistress D’Lish!
48. Coco Framboise
Canada calling! The captivating Coco Framboise performed at the 2014 Toronto Burlesque Festival and contributed further as the festival’s Director of Programming. She also gave burlesque lessons to Amy Jo Johnson – the original Pink Power Ranger – as training for Amy’s upcoming film The Space Between, a significant portion of which is set at a burlesque festival. Coco also continued to instruct at the Coco Framboise School of Burlesque and also appeared at Kitty Nights Toronto.
47. Waxie Moon
Self-styled ‘Lady Boylesquer’ and star of Fallen Jewel, Waxie Moon has made your list this year and 2014 was a busy one for this fabulous creature. Early in the year he joined the cast of House of Thee Unholy, and later appeared at the San Antonio Burlesque Festival and the Edmonton Burlesque Festival. He was also immortalised in a huge mural, commissioned by the Pink Door restaurant in Seattle, and now towers proudly over the historic Pike Place Market. Waxie saw the year out performing in Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann’s Land of The Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker, and students continue to benefit from his instruction at Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque.
In 2015, Waxie Moon will be a headliner at the second Vienna Boylesque Festival, and I’m sure it will be just one of many spectacular appearances and achievements.
Darlinda has had a stellar year, celebrating ten years in burlesque, and she continues to make outstanding contributions. She took to the BHoF stage in 2014 to perform one of my favourite burlesque routines of all time, letting a flowing red satin robe and her beautiful behind do all the talking. Fabulous.
She joined Roxi D’Lite and a world class burlesque cast for Theatre Bizarre: The Illusionists’ Ball in Detroit, taught at BurlyCon and the New York School of Burlesque, performed at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend and the New York Burlesque Festival, wowed at The Box and the Slipper Room, produced a second edition of Tooth Box: A Vagina Dentata Competition, reunited with her Dangerous Curves Ahead sisters for the first time in two years, and delivered the 8th Annual Menorah Horah with her fellow Schlep Sister Minnie Tonka. I published a special interview with Darlinda and Minnie which you can read here. I was delighted to catch up with Darlinda during her stay in London in July and hope to see her on stage here again soon.
45. Havana Hurricane
UK whirlwind Havana Hurricane gave her glitter passport a decent bashing in 2014, travelling to the New Orleans Burlesque Festival (enjoy her Festival Diary here), cheering the competitors on at The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas, making sensational stops in Switzerland and Barcelona, joining the cast of the Double R Club in London and then heading back up north to perform at The Wet Spot in Leeds and the Green Eggs and Glam Burlesque Revue in Manchester. She reportedly has an even more extensive and ambitious world tour planned for 2015, so stay tuned!
The Burlesque TOP 50 2014 is sponsored by Sublime Boudoir
44. Betsy Rose
Porcelain British beauty Betsy Rose has sashayed elegantly into No. 44. She spent her year in Milan, Croatia, Geneva, Vienna and, of course, London, where she entertained audiences in a range of exquisite costumes.
43. Fraulein Frauke and John Paul Bichard
I really enjoyed watching this talented, hard working couple climb up and up the hundreds of names tallied and into the TOP 50. Singer, peeler, costume maker and stylist Fraulein Frauke proudly flies the flag for Swedish burlesque as the founder of Fraulein Frauke Presents, a burlesque and cabaret club catering for 700 guests with an enviable line-up of international performers and live music. Her husband, John-Paul Bichard, is a talented photographer and artist who has taken stunning shots of many of our celebrated performers. Together they produce the Stockholm Burlesque Festival, overseeing its fourth successful year in 2014, and run Bichard Studios, creating events, footage, shoots and other creative projects.
42. Lola Van Ella
41. Polly Rae
2014 was largely a year of hosting and delivering sexy lounge arrangements of pop classics rather than stripping for Miss Polly Rae, but she still fully embodies the spirit of striptease and curates top notch casts every week for Soho Burlesque Club at the Hippodrome Casino. She kicked off the year in Adelaide with the cast of Comic Strip, brought a brand new version of Between the Sheets to London Wonderground, seduced at the Savoy, entertained in Italy, and saw out the year with two sensational shows at the Royal Albert Hall no less! Style all the way with this girl, with a cheeky side order of hilariously naughty songs!
40. Minnie Tonka
Minnie spread the gospel of Tonka far and wide last year, including appearances at the Iowa Burlesque Festival, the Florida Burlesque Festival, the New York Burlesque Festival, and instructing at BurlyCon in Seattle. She also appeared in Wasabassco productions and Burlesque at the Beach on Coney Island. 2014 also marked ten years of Schlep Sister magic for Minnie and Darlinda, and I interviewed them to celebrate the occasion. Minnie is already confirmed as a Vienna Boylesque Festival headliner in 2015, and I have no doubt I will be listing many more achievements this time next year.
‘Chameleon of the night’ Xarah Von Den Vielenregen launched a new venture in 2014, The Amsterdam Burlesque Award, which crowned a ‘King of Burlesque’, a ‘Queen of Neo-Burlesque’ and a ‘Queen of Classic Burlesque’. She also performed at the Berlin Burlesque Festival and the International Burlesque Circus in Holland.
Xarah’s husband, Herr Dokter, who worked closely alongside her and very sadly died in 2014, also received a high number of votes from you and I want to acknowledge him here and wish Xarah all the best for the future. The votes he received demonstrate how much people respect and love him.
38. Cleo Viper
Snake-wrestling, crow-embodying, butterfly-winged spectacle-peddler Cleo Viper was a truly international showgirl in 2014. She was a cast member on the Australian Burlesque Festival Tour with an additional appearance at the Perth International Burlesque Festival, performed at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend, and towards the end of the year she performed at Cirque Le Soir in Shanghai and London.
The Burlesque TOP 50 2014 is sponsored by Sublime Boudoir
37. Lada Redstar
Lada Redstar had a non-stop year in 2014, appearing in Belgium, France, Cirque Rouge in Vienna, the Helsinki Burlesque Festival, and joining the cast of the Australian Burlesque Festival tour and Perth International Burlesque Festival. She also appeared on German TV and recently joined Lady Lou on her Burlesque on Air radio show, discussing everything from dinner parties and backstage rituals to anal orgasms! She also featured on a limited edition skateboard and released a Valentine’s Day single with electro swing DJs Bart and Baker.
Burlesque on Air – Lou and Lada: Rituals Before a Burlesque Show.
Burlesque on Air – Ask Lou and Lada: How to be an Unforgettable Dinner Date.
Teaser for Lada Redstar’s 2015 single with Bart and Baker [VIDEO].
Lada Redstar sings Zou Bisou, Valentine’s Day 2014 release [VIDEO].
36. Julie Atlas Muz
(Miss Exotic World 2006)
Make way for the titan at No. 36! As well as performing the highly acclaimed Beauty and the Beast with husband Mat Fraser, Julie Atlas Muz toured with Cabaret New Burlesque, joined the cast of Theatre Bizarre: The Illusionists’ Ball in Detroit, appeared in New Orleans for Bella Blue’s Dirty Dime Peep Show, performed in Jo Weldon’s GodDamned Women and joined the FEMEN protest against Vladimir Putin in Times Square with Dirty Martini.
She also starred in Beth B’s excellent documentary EXPOSED: Beyond Burlesque, alongside husband Mat and Dirty, Tigger!, Rose Wood, World Famous *BOB*, Bambi the Mermaid and Bunny Love.
35. Peekaboo Pointe
‘The Fastest Tassel Twirler from East to West’ went on a grand tour in 2014, starting with Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria, followed by Belgium, Germany, Holland, and England, where she led a special workshop. Other appearances included the Hawaii Burlesque Festival and the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. She’s earned a wave of new fans across the world and you’ve shown your appreciation.
34. Dangrrr Doll
Bow down before your Khaleesi, the dynamic Dangrrr Doll!
In 2014, as well as winning the Game of Thrones inspired Golden Pastie Award at the New York Burlesque Festival (which she received in costume accompanied by dragons – badass!), she co-produced RAWR! Burlesque productions with ‘cosplay queen’ Stella Chuu, performed in Sweetpea’s Diversi-Tease, travelled to Europe to feature in the Vienna Boylesque Festival, and tore up the stage at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival. In New York she appeared at New York Comic Con, the Slipper Room and in Wasabassco productions, as well as teaching at the New York School of Burlesque. Never short of common sense advice, I love publishing Dangrrr’s articles on 21st Century Burlesque Magazine, including a piece on The Cost of Burlesque published in 2014.
Nasty Canasta’s Desert Island Strips: Episode 1 – Dangrrr Doll.
Dangrrr Doll at Theatre Bizarre [VIDEO].
Dangrrr Doll in It’s Burlesque at Beachland Ballroom [VIDEO].
Dangrrr Doll performs ‘Winged Warrior’ [VIDEO].
33. Iva Handfull
Can you handle the fierce at No. 35?! In 2014, burlesque rock star Iva Handfull served up kickass performances at the Iowa Burlesque Festival, Edmonton Burlesque Festival, Windy City Burlesque Festival, Kansas City Burlesque Festival and the Nerdlesque Festival, and competed in the Miss Exotic World, Reigning Queen of Burlesque category at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend. She also continues to offer a range of sparkly neckties from Haute Under the Collar, and offers instruction to performers looking to unleash their inner rock star.
32. Russell Bruner
(BHoF Best Boylesque 2012)
The award winning Russell Bruner approached 2014 with his customary style and skill, performing in the incredible Theatre Bizarre: The Illusionists’ Ball in Detroit with a cast including Roxi D’Lite, Angie Pontani and Dirty Martini, headlining the Vienna Boylesque Festival (read his Festival Diary here), making stops in Munich and Texas, duetting with Michelle L’amour in her Valentine’s Day Big Sexy Show in Chicago, and teaming up with Tigger! and The Stage Door Johnnies for DIXEY at the Edinburgh Fringe (read their Guide to Boylesque Brilliance here).
31. Sydni Deveraux
In 2014, the statuesque Sydni Deveraux made a big move from Seattle to New York and made plenty of big moves on stage too, performing in the New York Burlesque Festival, the Stockholm Burlesque Festival, the Ohio Burlesque Festival, the Colorado Burlesque Festival and Diversi-Tease 2014, as well as competing for Miss Exotic World, Reigning Queen of Burlesque at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend. She became a Wasabassco Associate Producer and made her mark on the brand as Doc and company celebrated ten years of Wasabassco shows. Sydni contributed more fantastic articles to 21st Century Burlesque Magazine in 2014, which you can read below.
The Would-Be Queens: 20 Questions with Sydni Deveraux (BHoF 2014).
Sydni Deveraux at the Colorado Burlesque Festival [VIDEO 1 VIDEO 2].
Sydni Deveraux singing with her band, Empire Beats.
Sydni Deveraux: Burlesque Performers – Stop Working for Free!
10 Years in Burlesque: Sydni Deveraux interviews Doc Wasabassco (Part 1, Part 2).
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.