Exotic World - Capturing the Magic: Chris Beyond

Exotic World – Capturing the Magic: Chris Beyond

One of the most enjoyable and enduring aspects of the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekends, and indeed many burlesque events, is the array of beautiful photographs that are shared around the world. They can make you feel like you were there, capture affection, innovation, inspiration and celebration, and preserve magical memories for many years to come. The photographers who work at BHoF each year are much loved members of the community, and I asked some of them to share their memories, and some of their favourite shots from over the years. I am so grateful to them for their generosity and enthusiasm.

Enjoy a magical glimpse into the past, courtesy of LA photographer, journalist and producer, Chris Beyond…

“I feel very lucky to be allowed to shoot at Exotic World and then The Burlesque Hall Of Fame every year. Ever since a fella named Rubberlegs told me about this burlesque museum in the desert back in 2001, I have been covering this annual event every year over the last decade. It’s a place where I met many of my longtime friends in the scene and where I’ve been able to see them all grow over the years (especially those first few years where I wasn’t able to make all of the L.A. shows). It’s so cool to be able to capture people at the height of their performance careers and especially to be able to see the smiles on the Legends’ faces when they are able to perform in front of adoring fans and friends again after so long.

Since those first years, I have been lucky enough to co-produce the annual Burlesque Hall Of Fame Photo Safari with my friends, Don Spiro and Java (of Bachelor Pad Magazine). This year will be our 7th year (let’s call it ‘Lucky 7’) of producing the event and I am happy to say that it has grown to be so popular we usually run of out room on the bus. In the end, one of the most important jobs for me is to capture great photos of our Burlesque Legends. We have lost some wonderful ladies with so many stories to tell over the years and each year I make it my priority to get their photos to them first, because in the end our mindset really should be that we are doing it for them. This has been their show from the beginning and we should all feel lucky enough to be able to tag along and learn from them…”

Chris Beyond

Tempest Storm (2008)

Tempest Storm performing live at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas on June 6th, 2008. I just love the reflection cast off of her from somebody else's flash as if she were radiating pure light into the audience. I also love that I can see so many people I know in the crowd, including the lovely Diane Naegel who we lost this year. It speaks so much to me about the reverence we have towards the people that have come before. It may just be my favourite shot I've ever taken at BHoF.  ©Chris Beyond
Tempest Storm performing live at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas on June 6th, 2008. I just love the reflection cast off of her from somebody else's flash as if she were radiating pure light into the audience. I also love that I can see so many people I know in the crowd, including the lovely Diane Naegel who we lost this year. It speaks so much to me about the reverence we have towards the people that have come before. It may just be my favorite shot I've ever taken at BHoF. ©Chris Beyond

Exotic World Museum Sign (2001)

The sign pointing to the "EXOTIC WORLD MUESUM" shot in 2001. I think nothing speaks louder to the DIY folk art roots of the Neo-Burlesque movement that that wonderfully misspelled sign.  ©Chris Beyond
The sign pointing to the "EXOTIC WORLD MUESUM" shot in 2001. I think nothing speaks louder to the DIY folk art roots of the Neo-Burlesque movement that that wonderfully misspelled sign. ©Chris Beyond

Anna Fur Laxis (2008)

Probably the best shot I ever took of Anna, and one that many people think was part of a full shoot with her, but no - this is just one of the shots you may be lucky enough to get if you join us on our annual Burlesque Hall Of Fame Photo Safari in Las Vegas.  ©Chris Beyond
Probably the best shot I ever took of Anna, and one that many people think was part of a full shoot with her, but no - this is just one of the shots you may be lucky enough to get if you join us on our annual Burlesque Hall Of Fame Photo Safari in Las Vegas. ©Chris Beyond

‘Burlesque Soup’ (2004)

What to do after a long day of burlesque in the dusty dessert? Jump into the hot tub, of course. I was on my way out at this point for the long drive home, but I had to snap this shot of several neo-burlesque pioneers taking a dip. The tales of the makeup, dust, and glitter based film that covered the top layer of water after everyone left the tub were legendary. I am sure there are better shots of this out there, but it was a nice moment in time to capture. Also, Mig was a blonde??  ©Chris Beyond
What to do after a long day of burlesque in the dusty dessert? Jump into the hot tub, of course. I was on my way out at this point for the long drive home, but I had to snap this shot of several neo-burlesque pioneers taking a dip. The tales of the makeup, dust, and glitter based film that covered the top layer of water after everyone left the tub were legendary. I am sure there are better shots of this out there, but it was a nice moment in time to capture. Also, Mig was a blonde?? ©Chris Beyond

Joan Arline (2011)

A lovely shot of another burlesque legend we recently lost named Joan Arline, "The Sexquire Girl" shot on June 3rd, 2011 at The Orleans. Few of us knew how sick she was and that it would be our last time seeing her perform. For me as a photographer and volunteer, it is most important to me that we do everything we can to help our burlesque legends, because as hard as we all think we have it, they've had to go through a lot worse. We are definitely very lucky to be able to meet them and be able to learn from them and I hope everyone who does cherishes every moment...  ©Chris Beyond
A lovely shot of another burlesque legend we recently lost named Joan Arline, "The Sexquire Girl" shot on June 3rd, 2011 at The Orleans. Few of us knew how sick she was and that it would be our last time seeing her perform. For me as a photographer and volunteer, it is most important to me that we do everything we can to help our burlesque legends, because as hard as we all think we have it, they've had to go through a lot worse. We are definitely very lucky to be able to meet them and be able to learn from them and I hope everyone who does cherishes every moment... ©Chris Beyond

Diane Naegel and Don Spiro (2008)

Another shot from 2008's Burlesque Hall Of Fame Photo Safari taken at a fifties styled residence in Las Vegas. I hadn't yet met Diane at this point but she was a wonderful sweet woman and I am so happy that I was able to capture this image of her and her future fiance before her passing.  ©Chris Beyond
Another shot from 2008's Burlesque Hall Of Fame Photo Safari taken at a fifties styled residence in Las Vegas. I hadn't yet met Diane at this point but she was a wonderful sweet woman and I am so happy that I was able to capture this image of her and her future fiance before her passing. ©Chris Beyond

Roxi D’Lite (2008)

From 2008's Burlesque Hall Of Fame Photo Safari, also taken at that fifties styled residence in Las Vegas. Sometimes just walking around you find the perfect shot. I just happened to walk into the room where I found Roxi watching another shoot happening in the next room. I told her to stay right there and I got this shot. And then the horror of horrors... I heard a click over my shoulder as my shot was 'stolen' by another photographer. Well, that's the chance you take when doing those kind of shoots and hey, I got my shot out there first so *raspberry sound*.  ©Chris Beyond
From 2008's Burlesque Hall Of Fame Photo Safari, also taken at that fifties styled residence in Las Vegas. Sometimes just walking around you find the perfect shot. I just happened to walk into the room where I found Roxi watching another shoot happening in the next room. I told her to stay right there and I got this shot. And then the horror of horrors... I heard a click over my shoulder as my shot was 'stolen' by another photographer. Well, that's the chance you take when doing those kind of shoots and hey, I got my shot out there first so *raspberry sound*. ©Chris Beyond

Three Miss Exotic Worlds (2004)

Shot at the nearby Mexican food restaurant in Helendale after the main event, this is a shot of Miss Exotic World 2004 Dirti Martini, Miss Exotic World 2003 Erochica Bamboo and Miss Exotic World 2002 Kitten DeVille. Yes, we even took over neighborhood restaurants.   ©Chris Beyond
Shot at the nearby Mexican food restaurant in Helendale after the main event, this is a shot of Miss Exotic World 2004 Dirti Martini, Miss Exotic World 2003 Erochica Bamboo and Miss Exotic World 2002 Kitten DeVille. Yes, we even took over neighborhood restaurants. ©Chris Beyond

Lili VonSchtupp (2005)

Another image from Exotic World's final year in Helendale. This is one of the first shots I took of one of my best friends. We took to each other perfectly from when we first met as we set up seats and tents for the show. Half way through the day I asked if she wanted to shoot some photos and we got a lot of great shots in the desert, including this one with Lili hanging out over one of Exotic World signs.  ©Chris Beyond
Another image from Exotic World's final year in Helendale. This is one of the first shots I took of one of my best friends. We took to each other perfectly from when we first met as we set up seats and tents for the show. Half way through the day I asked if she wanted to shoot some photos and we got a lot of great shots in the desert, including this one with Lili hanging out over one of Exotic World signs. ©Chris Beyond

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21st Century Burlesque
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.

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