Ginger Valentine’s Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend Diary
This Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend was particularly special because not only was it to be my fifth year in attendance but also because it was the first year that the entire touring cast of the Ruby Revue would be attending and performing. I couldn’t wait to take the stage as a troupe, but mostly I was stoked for my sisters who were BHoF virgins. I had a full dance card this year and was eager to reunite with all of my friends and loved ones from around the world. The anticipation leading up to the weekend was massive.
21st Century Burlesque Magazine Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2014 Coverage is sponsored by Fancy Feather.
Wednesday June 4th
Wednesday morning I woke up smiling and ready to go. I had new luggage, new dresses and my heart was full of love and excitement. My husband and I made a quick stop to grab Angi B. Lovely and Shelbelle Shamrock before heading to Love Field. We would be meeting up with the rest of the Ruby Revue crew plus Dallasites Black Mariah and Blaze at the airport. We had all arranged to be on the same flight because we love amusing and annoying TSA. Did I mention the Ruby Revue was in matching tanks? Needless to say the flight was a lot of fun.
We arrived in Vegas and snagged a stretch limo to the Orleans. We had so many ladies that it ended up being cheaper than the shuttle. So far, so good.
On our way to our rooms, we ran into some very special early birds – the King himself Ray Gunn and our soon-to-be-crowned Queen Midnite Martini. We delivered hugs, kisses and introductions and headed up to get settled in our room. That night we adventured on the Strip with Blaze and Black Mariah, enjoying dinner at Bobby Burger’s Palace (Both Shelbelle Shamrock and I have a crush on Bobby Flay) and a pop up Liberace exhibit. The man had a rhinestone Rolls Royce, people. Please process that for a moment.
Thursday June 5th
Thursday we had two objectives during the day: procure satisfactory vittles in order to prevent Orleans food court-related temper tantrums and to hit up the pool. We accomplished both and were even treated to a thrill ride by our cabbie in the parking lot at the Orleans. I’ve learned that it never hurts to ask people if they’re willing to do a few donuts while driving – you never know when they’ll oblige you!
We hit the pool briefly and all enjoyed a very sunny lunch. As Texans, we feel pretty much at home in the Vegas heat. After the pool, we headed upstairs to get ready for the Movers, Shakers and Innovators showcase. We had seven showgirls in two rooms and we managed to get ready in record time. We had all decided to that Thursday would be our ‘animal print night’ and if I do say so myself, all the ladies looked great!
The show was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed Blanche DeBris and Jonny Porkpie as a duo. They kept everyone entertained and the show moved at a quick pace. My girl Kay Sera opened up the whole weekend with a clever Garden of Eden/Tree of Knowledge act, Bella Blue both turned me on and freaked my beans to her act to a fantastic cover of Stripped by Shiny Toy Guns. My favourite act of the night was Darlinda Just Darlinda whose raw sexuality left me feeling warm and fuzzy in all the right places.
Friday June 6th
Friday was all about fun, bowling and legends. Thanks to our previous efforts in food foraging, we were able to sustain ourselves in room for the beginning part of the day. We donned some sparkly red booty shorts and the ‘Booty Revue’ was ready to take no prisoners at the Barecats Bowling Tournament. We strategised, we twerked and we did all we could, but at the end of the tournament we walked away with 0.0 trophies. Clearly our bowling game needs work. Thankfully we helped raise some dough for the museum which was the whole point, so our egos weren’t too bruised.
Everyone was very excited about Legends Night; our emcee in Houston Miss V Haven had just joined us and I was really happy for the BHoF virgins to see World Famous *BOB* and to fall in love with all of our foremothers. I felt that this year in particular was a standout year for Titans of Tease. It was thrilling to see April March perform and Jett Adore supported her brilliantly. Gail Winns delighted me when I saw her a year or two back and I was so happy that she returned. She is so sharp, funny and talented. Sensual sirens Gabriella Maze and Shannon Doah inspire me to no end and both brought down the house like a bonafide striptease sexpert. I loved the red, white and blue Dixie Evans tribute that El Vez and Tana the Tattoeed Lady did and I’m certain there was not a dry eye in the house.
After Titans of Tease we headed upstairs to get a head start on some beauty rest for our big day. Oh who am I kidding, we stayed up late recapping and I was still adding rhinestones to my solo costume at 2:30am. I don’t know how, but we finally made it to sleep.
Saturday June 7th
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!” was my first waking thought on Saturday morning. I was so excited to perform with my group and it was also my rookie year in the Miss Exotic World category. Yeah, I guess you could say I was excited. My partner Missy Lisa was also competing for Best Debut so our crew was in and out of the showroom all day with tech rehearsals. Our group tech went well and then we rehearsed for another hour or so before it was time for me to tech my solo.
Before I could even start to get nervous it was time to get ready. My husband Chris had arrived that day and had a killer suite at the Palms. My plan was to spend some leisurely time getting ready there, enjoying a glitter bath bomb my costumer Blaze had gifted me, working out, taking my time – you know, showgirl shit. By the time I made it to his room I had under an hour to shower, shave and do hair and makeup. Not quite the scenario I had dreamed of, but fortunately one of my greatest strengths is my adaptability so I pushed it into overdrive and managed to get cleaned up just in time to go.
Missy’s husband Sergio had also arrived and he and Chris joined us for a sushi dinner before the show. Our group act is titled ‘Taste the Rainbow’, so for weeks we had been planning to dress like the rainbow on Saturday night. we took a few obligatory shots in front of the walk and repeat and then headed to the show. Missy went backstage to get ready for Best Debut. We screamed our hearts out for Missy when she took the stage. Jeez Loueez slayed with her Rufio act and Bonnie Fox dazzled us all with her Charleston. I always enjoy the Best Debut category and there was lots of diversity this year.
Next thing I knew it was time to head backstage to get ready for our group act and take the stage. It was a huge dream of mine that the Ruby Revue could one day perform at BHoF and I was overflowing with love and adrenaline. We felt really good about our show, but I had no time to process that. I had just three acts to go before I had to take my place for my solo. I was a little more rushed than I’d like but I’m used to it from our shows at the House of Blues back home, so I got ready lickety-split, gave myself a quick pep talk and reminded myself of some important advice I’d received from previous competitors (thanks ladies, it really helped). I had just the best time on stage, and even a minor wardrobe malfunction couldn’t bring me down. After my show it was a huge release. I had been training and preparing for months and I was finally done! I made a bee line to the bar where I met up with Chris who promptly bought me a celebratory beer. I slammed the beer, kissed Chris and made it back to the Ruby Revue. Sadly I really didn’t see much of the show. I did get to see my girl LouLou D’vil do her step down performance which was exotic and erotic.
The rest of the night truly seems like a blur – somehow we managed to walk away with three trophies: Most Classic for Missy Lisa, Best Troupe, and I won 2nd Runner Up for Miss Exotic World. I couldn’t believe it! The crowd went wild when Midnite Martini‘s name was called as the new Reigning Queen of Burlesque. I was so happy for her and my Colorado friends. I’ve been working with that crew for about five years now and they are like a second burlesque family to me. Go Denver!
Sunday Funday June 8th
Sunday was all about relaxing at the pool and having fun with friends. I had just a teeny bit of work left but I was really excited about it. I was performing in Michelle L’amour‘s act in the Icons and All Stars show that night with Lily Bloom and Bella Blue. We met for a brief rehearsal in Michelle’s room and then headed to tech in the showroom. After rehearsal, I met up with the Ruby Revue ladies and we had some fun in the sun at the Pool Party. We got to visit with lots of friends, hanging out with Baron, Bettina May and her fellow James. I also ran into the 2014 Miss Viva Las Vegas Donna Hood. I had my favorite BHoF lunch which is a hotdog and cheese nips from the pool snack bar and really got to let my hair down for a bit. It was a lot of fun.
Sunday night was spectacular. I’ve worked with Michelle L’amour for years and it was really magical to be involved in her act, ‘Ritualistic Callings of the Gods of Fuck’. It’s just amazing and now one of my favourite acts of all time.
After I dressed it was time to enjoy the show. It was so great to see El Vez back hosting at BHoF and this year his co-host was one of my dear friends Fannie Spankings. I cheered super loudly for fellow Texan Ruby Joule who performed her ‘Snow Queen’ act. Tigger! won us all over with his endearing pantomimed striptease – brilliant. Stephanie Blake broke every heart in the house with her sensual and athletic Frank Sinatra strip. That woman, I swear… Another powerhouse Perle Noire lit up the stage in typical Perle Noire fashion. Before I knew it, the evening had come to a close and another BHoF was in the books. I couldn’t believe that it had all happened so fast!
Monday June 9th
On Monday we were headed to California but first we made three very important stops. First was Dubarry Fashions; we had yet to make it over there and some of our girls needed to get their official BHoF name tag. Properly blinged out, we made our way to Freemont Street and paid a vist to the Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum. While we were there, I renewed my burlesque membership and scored a new pin for my jean jacket, and we ran into Darlinda Just Darlinda and Gin Minsky.
After the museum it was time to leave Las Vegas. We had decided earlier that day that we wanted to stop in Helendale to pay tribute to Dixie, Jennie Lee and Exotic World. We knew we were on the right path when we discovered a 25-year-old signed 8×10 of Dixie Evans hanging on the wall at a fifties diner in Yermo, California. We made it to the goat farm, paid our respects and then saw a shooting star. Absolute magic.
Ginger Valentine is known for blending her classical training with raucous bump-and-grind. She is the 2011 'Queen of Burlesque' at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival, the 2010 'Best Tease' at the Texas Burlesque Festival, and was voted No. 12 in the Burlesque TOP 50 2012. Ginger is co-producer and director of the Ruby Revue, which performs regularly in Dallas and in Houston, and she helps to produce the Dallas Burlesque Festival. She also appears frequently at Bustout Burlesque in New Orleans. She is an instructor at the Ruby Room Studio in Dallas where she teaches burlesque and ballet classes. In 2012, Kitty West, the original Evangeline the Oyster Girl, passed down her legendary act to Ginger Valentine. Kitty West made the act famous in the forties and fifties on Bourbon Street. Now Ginger continues the legacy, performing this magical act in Bustout Burlesque in New Orleans. Ginger continues to put her passion and experiences into words for 21st Century Burlesque Magazine.