Smouldering temptress, Ginger Valentine shares her DBF experience, as a producer and a performer…
Wednesday, February 1st.
For months, Black Mariah, Missy Lisa and I worked tirelessly on the Fourth Annual Dallas Burlesque Festival. It would be our third year working together and we had planned the biggest weekend yet. In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the three of us along with Lula Houp-Garou and Ruby Revue dancer Shelbelle Shamrock got into full show drag to do an early morning appearance for Eye Opener TV, the national morning program for the CW. Afterwards, we treated ourselves to some eggs and pancakes at the Mecca, which is a Dallas institution. We made quite the scene with our glitter and lashes among the morning commuter crowd; it was still before 8 AM at this point, so you can imagines we were getting some curious looks!
Thursday, February 2nd.
The Fourth Annual Dallas Burlesque Festival kicked off its four-day event on Thursday night at the House of Blues with a Pin Up Party and pageant. But first, the three of us were busy picking up special guests Michelle L’amour, Angelique DeVil, Darlinda Just Darlinda, Minnie Tonka and Bazuka Joe (to name a few!) from the airport. Once everyone was settled, it was time to head to the first event of the weekend. Texas has a very large and dedicated pin-up and Rockabilly scene, so we celebrated that the best way we knew how: with swingin’ tunes and beautiful pin-up girls.
Vintage lifestyle expert and model, Miss V Haven (Houston) hosted the pageant, which resulted in crowning Mary Lynn Mayhem as the very first ‘Miss DBF Pin Up’. Burlesque performances by Mena Domina (Santa Fe) and Dem Damn Dames (Houston) kept the crowd entertained while the contestants changed from their evening look into lingerie. Pin-up dance troupe, the Diamond Bettys opened the weekend with a charming number to Makin’ Whoopee.
Friday, February 3rd.
The gods must have favoured all us glamazons, because during DBF we were all able to jog down to the Dallas Museum of Art to check out the Jean Paul Gauthier exhibit, which featured beautiful collections and costumes that had been featured in numerous movies and videos and worn by pop icons (hello, Madonna and Dita Von Teese). The Schlep Sisters, Bazuka Joe, Angelique Devil, Michelle and Franky all met up with us to ogle at everything. This outing was very special for me, because it was not only a fun bonding experience and field trip, but hugely inspiring.
Friday night was the Texas Tease Show which featured ladies from across the Lone Star State. The lovely Miss V Haven returned to her hosting duties in a Texas flag dress that I still am blatantly envious of (we Texans are anything if not fiercely proud of our state!) Secrets in Lace was our presenting sponsor for the weekend; the stage kittens were decked out in beautiful lingerie, and the show was filled with a variety of beautiful and talented Texans.
My personal highlights included the Jigglewatts, who performed a stunning group number which awed the audience into silence. Ruby Joule presented a new act that showed off not only her talent and beautiful body, but also her endless creativity. Coco Lectric performed what is now my most favourite number of hers – a funky and soulful act that is full of raw sex and attitude. Fellow Dallasites, Blaze and Donna Denise won the crowd over with their over-the-top talent. I really enjoyed seeing Roxie Moxie perform her honey bee number/balloon act. It is so funny and clever; she recently moved to Austin from Seattle and we couldn’t be happier. My partner-in-crime, Missy Lisa and I performed our duet ‘Bumps and Grinds’ and then the show was over. It was time to go home, get a nightcap and get ready for Saturday, which was going to be a very full day.
Saturday February 4th.
I began Saturday by fixing very strong coffee along with a big breakfast, which included pancakes, eggs and bacon. My husband and I were hosting Franky and Michelle and we all tried to fuel up for the day. Before I could get too excited about the main event, Michelle and I went to the Ruby Room, which is the burlesque and dance studio that Missy Lisa and I own and operate. Michelle taught ‘Tease Technique’ and ‘Tease and Tone’ to full capacity classes. Darlinda Just Darlinda and Minnie Tonka also taught workshops in the afternoon before heading to the House of Blues for tech rehearsal.
Before long it was time to start the show. Our hostess for the evening was Dallas-based emcee, Violet O’hara. The Ruby Revue opened up the showcase with a large group number. Performing in the main room at the House of Blues is such a fun experience! Hundreds of fans are crammed up against the stage, or cheering at you from a full balcony. Bazuka Joe made his Dallas debut performing ‘Steam Heat’ and ‘Horny Beast’. The Schlep Sisters got tons of laughs with their hysterical and sexy duet.
Other highlights include performances by Dallas burlesque legend, Tami True, Calamity Chang, Angelique DeVil, Angela Ryan, and Angi B Lovely defied gravity and managed to make us swoon with her new aerial act. Just when we thought we couldn’t take any more, we were all pushed over the edge by a smouldering performance of ‘La Panthere’ by Michelle L’amour. I was so happy that our Dallas audience was able to have the pleasure of seeing it performed live.
Sunday, February 5th.
I was starting to feel the toll of all the fun I’d been having all week, but I found my energy for one more night of feathers and rhinestones. We had arranged for a three-course meal at the chef-owned restaurant, Dish. Not only is it a beautiful space, but it also has a modest stage which is perfect for an intimate burlesque show. Performances by Adele Wolf (Oklahoma City), Grace Gotham (NYC), the Dirty Blonde (Dallas), Rhonda Vous (Chicago) and others entertained the die-hard crowd as we noshed on Texas comfort food.
In addition to the performances, we distributed awards to winners who were selected via fan vote. Winners included Donna Denise (Sweetest Lady in Burlesque), Iris Le Mour (Most Sensuous Dancer), Lola LaRue (Dirtiest Dancer), Dem Damn Dames (Makes Burlesque Magic), The Dirty Blonde (Class Act), Blaze (Future Legend), and Adele Wolf (Hottest Body). Before I knew it, we were taking a cast photo on stage and wrapping up the weekend. It was a wild ride, and a whole lot of fun. I can never stop expressing thanks for all those that participated and helped us pull off one of the biggest weekends in Texas burlesque. See everyone next time for year five!
Visit Ginger at www.gingerv.com
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.