Goldie Candela shares her experience of the Colorado Burlesque Festival 2013…
This was my very first Colorado Burlesque Festival, so I was over the moon thrilled to receive the email that told me I was accepted! Sometimes I am overwhelmed at the opportunities I have been given in my career. I mean, come on – all three Stage Door Johnnies, Foxy (Mother F-ing) Tann, Fannie Spankings, Ophelia Flame AND Gravity Plays Favorites?! HOW DID I GET HERE?! Well, I’ll tell you.
My journey to Denver, Colorado for the the fourth annual Colorado Burlesque Festival started in a great big rental that would carry myself, The Redheads (Ruby Joule and Jolie Goodnight), and a whole lotta props, gowns, G-strings and glitter down a route that felt like it would never end! Did you know Kansas NEVER ends? And they also do not like Starbucks. Thaaaaat’s right – hundreds of miles and not one decent cup of coffee. Kansas, you have been put on warning… Provide the travelling showgirl with better food/coffee options or we shall take our ruby slippers elsewhere next time we travel! Just kidding, but not really.
THURSDAY JULY 11TH
After a day and a half in the car, we finally arrived at Eve Vette‘s place just before we needed to hurry and get ready for the nights festivities. Eve left us a key, some a/c, and a box of wine before she headed to opening night at Lannie’s Clock Tower Cabaret, where she would be dazzling with Cora Vette and the Va Va Vette’s as well as performing a stunning singing/strip solo.
Needless to say we needed to unwind a bit before getting ready, so we had some wine and grabbed some food. And just as the last bite of food was eaten, the entire neighbourhood went into a fully-fledged blackout. Yep, it has been said from time to time that we Jigglewatts do in fact cause power outages. It’s just a whole lotta voltage when we travel together; it’s a good thing it was only three of us! So sadly I can’t write about all the amazing acts that performed on Thursday night, one of which was fellow Texan and burlesque goddess, not to mention my birthday buddy, Donna Denise. Though from the stream of photos and the amazing energy through the weekend, I know everyone rocked it! Meanwhile, back at Casa de Eve Vette, we wrangled enough candles together to ensure we could see our wine because every fancy stripper knows that if you can’t find your wine in a blackout, it’s time to panic!
FRIDAY JULY 12TH
After some MUCH needed rest and wine, we woke up Friday morning ready for the day! The day and brunch. Oh, and panty shopping as I seem to be the WORST packer ever and always end up leaving parts of my costumes at home. My blonde shows up when I really don’t need it to. Eve took us to our new favourite cafe in the world of Denver – Universal! It’s like having Austin on your plate. It was amazing! Shortly after brunch and the small mad dash for costume pieces, we went to the hosting hotel, The Curtis Hotel, to check in. As we were entering, who do we see? Miss Fanny Spankings with Mr. Spankings and Baby Spankings, who are about to go for a stroll around downtown.
As a burlesque mommy myself, it makes me so happy when I see other moms bring their little ones to festivals. It really shows the kind of community we have in the world of burlesque and makes me so happy to be a part of it. After hugs in the doorway and a few more when we get inside, where we spot Iva Handfull and Dangrr Doll, we head up in the elevator to check in. We see so many familiar faces at check-in, such as The King himself, Ray Gunn, getting together his last notes for his workshop down the hall. Check-in is always funny for me since it seems to be a guessing game of a who is who. Yep, we usually go bare-faced! But shhhh! Don’t let people know we don’t always look like drag queens!
Now we were officially off to start getting ready for Night Two of the Colorado Burlesque Festival. After thongs were created and rhinestones were dried, we were all ready for Friday night. So Ruby Joule, Jolie Goodnight and I got back into our Voltage wagon and headed to Lannie’s Clocktower. Ruby and I watched the first show of the night, the VIP Showcase, as Jolie got ready in the dressing room for her performance. It was an hour before the doors and I was just taking in the venue itself. The amazing speakeasy feel of this underground cabaret gave me the feel of an elegant scene from Alice in Wonderland, with the different clocks hanging as light fixtures and the beautiful tables and decor all around. The doors opened and in filed the patrons; many were seasoned burlesque audience members, as well as quite a few newbies, and all dressed to impress. I secretly want to do my very own Joan Rivers red carpet segment when I go to festivals., mainly because I’ve noticed festivals really bring out the most sequins I’ve ever seen in one place, not just from the stage but those attending as well.
GALLERY: Colorado Burlesque Festival 2013. Click to browse, hover for caption.
The VIP Showcase kicked off with the amazingly talented Lannie Garret, the namesake and co-Owner of Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret, performing a comical blues number. Night two was hosted by none other than the ‘Boss of Burlesque’ herself, Foxy Tann. There were so many amazing, memorable acts from this show: my favourite acts were Kitty Crimson dancing to the sexiest version of Toxic I’ve ever heard. Her costume was gorgeous: a beautiful duster and light blue back panel. Truly one of the sexiest routines of the show. My mind was blown when I finally got to see Redbone perform the routine that got her into 2013’s Viva Las Vegas burlesque competition. All I have to say is, sexy satin pant suits on women are hot! And her powerful energy on stage was just as amazing.
The next routine I loved – and maybe I’m slightly partial (nah, she’s dangerously talented and to see her work a mic and the strip tease always keeps me in awe) – was my Jigglewatt sister Jolie Goodnight with her Summertime singing/strip. Dirty jazz and skin – yes! The Stage Door Johnnies were one of the headliners for the festival and the evening, doing their signature solos. Bazuka Joe performed his puppet act, ‘Temptation’; I love how clever this routine is and don’t want to spoil any part of it for those who haven’t seen it yet. Just do yourself a favour if you get the chance and please see it! Ray Gunn performed his oh so sexy pole routine, and Jett Adore performed his beautiful signature ‘Peacock’ routine; talk about graceful. These men just exude everything that is burlesque for me and I love every moment I get to spend with them and watching them perform.
The last highlight of the first show of the night was Foxy Tann’s public service announcement about Glitter lung. I am just so relieved that we as a community can finally pull together and speak out about this disease that affects so many. The fancy stripper doesn’t suffer alone – kindergarten teachers and small children all over the world are just some of the victims who have been suffering for decades. In all seriousness, THAT was some funny stuff right there. I can’t wait to see who the next ambassador of Glitter Lung will be (holds up hand for Jigglewatts). Gravity Plays Favorites, Michelle Mynx and Katrina Doll of St. Louis, blow my mind every time; they’re true story tellers and the ability to do that on a pole as a partner number just leaves you breathless. The last number of the VIP Showcase was none other than ‘The Burning Sensation’ herself, Ophelia Flame, with her ‘Phoenix’ routine that won her 1st Runner Up at 2012’s Miss Exotic World pageant. She is a MUST see for every performer.
Now it was time for the night owls. After a quick wardrobe change into my more sparkly side and a brief walk around up stairs, where I was able to say hello to some of my favorite St. Louis people, Jeez Loueez, Sammich the Tramp, and Michelle Mynx, as well as some of my Austin family, Justin Credible and Eva Strangelove with her mum, it was time to get ready for The Naughty Nightcap Show! It was hosted by the amazing Foxy Tann; I have waited YEARS to be able to work with her and now I finally have. Only this lady could have kept Friday night going as flawlessly as it did, between prop set-ups, missing shoes (sorry stage kitten, my fault), and, well, it was 11pm on a Friday and everybody was pretty Tots Hamm (Jiggle for totally hammered; yes, we decided this was the weekend for speaking in short hand) at that point. But there was still so much talent to be seen, and with an audience more than ready to scream for the naked ladies and gents on stage, we started the show!
Ruby Champagne started us out with a burlesque favourite, a classic to Caravan (LOVE her costumes), then we had Cinderella and her Prince, Medusa, and Cherry Glitter Bomb backin’ up with some amazing assel work. Before I knew it, it was my turn, and with a little Foxy Tann interaction backstage (OMG!) I was on! The feeling on that stage was so incredibly beautiful and I love the reception my ‘Rainbow’ number receives. It didn’t start out as a Pride number but more the story of ‘after the rain there is a rainbow and at the end of every rainbow is your pot of gold’, or in this case Goldie. No matter how it’s perceived, I always want people to know it’s about hope – hope and nudity. I left that stage feeling amazing and THAT is why I love what I do. The CONNECTION!
The night came to an end with many hugs, kisses, and baby photos being shown. Yes, I am THAT mom! The redheads and I – with a quick stop for food – got back to Eve’s house, where the box of wine was officially laid to rest. As were we. Zzzzz…
With another brunch at Universal, this time with Gigi D’Lovely, we were off to a great start to the day. Jolie and Joule went to take Jett Adore‘s workshop on Stage Presence, which I am still kicking myself for not saving a few more dollars to do, but I stayed behind and did some learning of my own. I’ve been reading The Gilded Lili: Lili St.Cyr and the Striptease Mystique. My advice to performers and burlesque enthusiasts is to never stop learning and always carry a book with you.
After a grand nap I started getting ready for the evening, when Jolie came back drenched from the storm that created yet another monsoon over the city of Denver for exactly thirty minutes. So, to be extra careful, we both drove with the rollers still in our hair. Smart, right? We got to The Paramount Theatre, where the walk from the garage to the theatre met us with more rain. So much for the curls – and my hair was looking so Nancy Sinatra! What could possibly change my mood from my doomed hair tude? A huge hug from the ever amazing Frenchy Renard when I walked through the doors! There she was in her blue sequined amazingness giving me the literal pick-up I needed. Jolie and I ran to the bar and then to some quite amazing seats in a theatre that made my jaw drop, from the beautiful paintings on the walls to the burly chandelier that hung many feet above our heads. I’m a history nerd and when I walk into buildings where I am awestruck by the historic significance of where I am and who has been there before me, I have the feeling that I was meant to be here.
Jolie and I were ready to cheer on ‘Mama Watt’ Ruby Joule and the rest of the cast for the last show of the festival. The show was hosted by Naughty Pierre of Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret; I’ve had the pleasure of working with him in Austin before and I just love and adore him. He kept the crowed energised all night and even slipped a great Austin joke in there. The show started with David Bishop’s ‘Burlesque Blessing’; I wish I could have him at all of our shows – it would be magical! I wish I could write about every single number as they were all so fantastic, but I’d be rambling on even more than I am.
The highlight of Saturday night for me was Eva Strangelove and Justin Credible with a bullwhip routine; I have seen just about every phase of this routine and I have to say I was more than proud of their performance. Way to represent the variety we have in Austin! So, so happy they made it into the Saturday Night Extravaganza. Another was finally seeing the blonde fireball in action – Iva Handfull in her ‘Firestarter’ fan dance; she’s so freaking rock it’s beautiful. It just helps to show that Burlesque is so varied in its styles and talents – did I mention I love being apart of it?
From belly dancer Taka to the Beggars Carnivale from St. Louis, the mix was truly amazing. My favorite aerial act of the night goes to Sadie Hawkins, with her Net/Mermaid routine – fairytale fanatic right here! Foxy Tann came out and did an absolutely amazing solo in some gold sparkly awesomeness I will dream about forever. She really does have a presence on stage that will stay with you and make you want to be a better performer.
Before I knew it, it was Ruby Joule‘s turn with her ‘Ruby’s are Red’ routine, which placed her as 2nd Runner Up last year at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival. I’m sure that was the routine that made me lose my voice briefly. So proud of my Jiggle Mama. The night was closed by the headliners: Fannie Spankings with an adorable fifties waitress number ‘All you Can Eat’; Foxy Tann with Jeez Loueez and Redbone rockin’ Proud Mary; Ophelia Flame in the hottest number I’ve seen of hers, ‘How Many More Times’; and lastly, The Stage Door Johnnies in ‘The Bomb’. Men in suits who take the suits off! YES, YES, YES!
The night ended with an afterparty that we sadly didn’t make it to. We’re ladies who need food over booze sometimes, or a place where yummies come with the booze, so with four of us layered on top of each other we piled into a pedi cab and made our way to Tom’s Urban 24! All I have to say is: Green Chile Mac and Cheese with pulled pork and BACON! Denver, I could eat my way through you!
SUNDAY JULY 14TH
After a yummy brunch at The Celtic Irish Pub we said our goodbyes. Some will only be for a few weeks, as we get ready for our West Coast tour and get to party with the Burlesque Noir ladies in Albuquerque, NM! LOVE THEM! We loaded back into the rental for our ride home – a ride home that would add even more shorthand speech to the Jigglewatts’ vocabulary, although this time we took the scenic route, which had a Starbucks at just about every stop. Thank you Goddess MochaLatte for gracing us with your caffeinated goodness for our fifteen hour drive. CBF was completely worth how tired we all were the next day.
My Colorado Burlesque Festival cherry has been popped and I cannot wait to go back to Denver and see all my new friends.
Bless you Colorado, bless you! Until next time…
G-String Snaps from ‘Texas’ Very Own Gold Rush’,
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.