Saturday April 12th
Performers only brunch.
It can feel next to impossible at times waking up early after previous nights of celebration and debauchery, but when it’s the Texas Burlesque Festival performers only brunch with a free mimosa and conversation with Toni Elling, you get up, make the coffee, sip a coconut water and make your way to the Holiday Inn. Such great time management actually set us there as some of the first ones to arrive; anyone who knows me knows I’m never early, so if you need me somewhere on time just offer a free mimosa. I truly enjoy our brunches as the festival lineup comes in and sits to speak with one another and toast to how much fun they’re having and for some how sad we are that it is about to end.
This year, instead of having a point of discussion as in previous years, we had the opportunity for a Q&A with Toni Elling. I think most of us had forgotten the number of things we wanted to ask her; I for one had 100 questions only to have forgotten each one when given the chance. Note to self when going to BHOF: make a list and bring it. So, with a question of how her career started, Toni began a conversation with the new wave on everything from her backstory to how she views a lot of burlesque today. I love hearing the views of our legends when it comes to this subject, as burlesque in this new age has become a true art where a multitude of creative minds come up with their own interpretations of how they want to express themselves through strip tease. Whether you agreed with her view or not you were captured by her words and her raw truth. I sometimes forget what a different time she, along with many others who have come before us, started in. It just made me fall in love with this sparkly world of burlesque all over again.
After brunch we stopped by the Chateau to grab everything we needed for the evening, as well as slip on some bathing suits so we could meet up with Remi Martini, Pelvis Costello, Vixy Van Hellen, and even manage to get Dallas folks Divertida Devotchka, Honey Coco Bordeaux, and the LowBrow Lullabies, Femme Vivre LaRouge, and Dr. Q, aka the Bubble Gun Master! Because after a mimosa brunch we only really wanted one type of bubbles around the pool. Yes, we’re completely mature adults!
After a lounge and then a lovely rinse in Remi Martini’s shower, we were ready to head back to The Marchesa for our tech rehearsals and to get ready for the evening. And thanks to the mad talented stage crew, headed by Midge Grundman, aka Sasha Dahl, even if it runs a bit behind they rock it out. Festivals are truly only as good as those who work their butts off for weeks and some even many, many months to make sure the quality of the show remains superior. So just a quick thank you again to the crew who year after year runs a smooth phenomenal show.
Saturday Night Competition!
The last night of the festival. The night where the best of the best go tassels to the wall and the hair pulling and costume vandalism really hits a high point! If you know us Texas festivals we take our competitions very seriously. Our Barbie Awards and Fuzzy Tacos (San Antonio Burlesque Festival) are very, very serious! Just kidding.
One of the best parts about the Texas Burlesque Festival is the continued support and love you get from your fellow performers. The night was judged by Toni Elling, Perle Noire, and members of the Stage Door Johnnies. Talk about a tough job. With Thursday night’s Audience Choice winners Harlet Davidson and Andy Licious, and Friday’s Audience Choice winners Tifa Tittlywinks and Emma D’lemma added to the mix, this was going to be hours of non-stop screaming. Then just when you were going hoarse, Cora Vette, the marathon MC, had your eyes tearing and your abs solid with all of her amazing jokes, cue card placement, and overall amazingness.
Everyone brought more fabulousness than I can honestly say any other year. The talent within our community is rising up to an ever-growing scene and I’m more than privileged to be able to share the stage with such amazing performers as Lita Luck (Austin, TX), April Showers (LA, CA), and Ruthe Ordare – or as I have come to call her, the Canadian Meringue; she moves so gracefully on the stage that you wonder if her feet are actually touching the ground. Also in this mix of talent and characters were Paco Fish, Queertini Time, Blaze (Dallas, TX), Honey Coco Bordeaux (Denton, TX), BatCity Bombshells (Austin, TX), Ruby Champagne (LA, CA), Jasper St. James (San Antonio, TX), and Lady Monster (Columbus, OH). So many memorable performances that it would just be a whole new entry to describe even half of what I enjoyed throughout this weekend.
Home town ladies Fat Bottom Cabaret would close out the competition portion of the show, and I would take the stage with my ‘Gold Woman’ routine, my homage to the wonderful world of Bond women and the 60s. I have quite the flare for the era of Brigitte Bardot and Nancy Sinatra. It made its festival debut and was a fun and fulfilling performance for me (I’ll have to wait to see the video!)
I was followed by Ruby Lamb and her ‘Meat’ number, which has to be one of my favourite routines ever created. A vegetarian with a sausage link boa – drop mic! Then co-producer of the Texas Burlesque Festival and co-founder of the Jigglewatts, Coco Lectric, went Crazy on You with her ‘Heart’ routine that truly shows why she’s one of the top performers in the world. I’m not just tooting her horn; I love watching her dance, and with her floor work and cartoon character smile she has you entranced. Following her were the Stage Door Johnnies who had every girl, and boy for that matter, melting and screaming in the aisles with their routine ‘The Bomb’! And boy was it. Those boys take me back to my teeny bopper, JTT loving days. The festival was closed out by Perle Noire in her emerald green gown and beautiful peacock headpiece (both made by the remarkably talented Charlotte Treuse) in a raw and fully energised routine that left jaws on the floor and hearts flung on the stage.
After the performances were over it was time to announce the winners of the Fascinating Things Barbie trophies. The winners were as follows:
Best Costume: Blaze.
Best Use of Prop/Novelty: Black Orchid.
Most Original: Paco Fish.
Best Ensemble: My ladies of the H-Town, Tifa Tittlywinks and Emma D’Lemma.
Best Tease Factor: Franki Markstone.
Best Solo: Ruthe Ordare.
I am so proud of everyone involved and everyone who brought the WOW factor to Austin for this year’s Texas Burlesque Festival. I say this every year, but it truly is like Christmas and I look forward to the weekend every year. The party was had, pictures were taken, and I even forgot to use my drink ticket… After we were packed up, my favourite Austin couple Shelby Mine and Eaton Johnson of Queertini Time had a small get together at their place where Paco Fish, Emma D’Lemma, Tifa Tittlywinks, Chola Magnolia and I had a champagne toast, as well as some yummy pizza, to the fabulous weekend and all of our favourite things that make the Texas Burlesque Festival the best weekend in Texas Burlesque.
With three nights of insane performances from performers from Texas and beyond, the true wrap party came with the Dem Dam Dames stay over tradition: Sunday’s Brunch of Bacon Pancakes. They wanted the first one so bad they bought me a griddle! I named her Dem Dame Griddle! Yes I name my appliances; I’m just that silly. We were once again joined by Paco Fish, and driving in was Man Johnson who was staying behind a couple of days for some local fun with friends.
I truly enjoyed this year beyond the others; it’s now got to the point where I feel completely at home with my community at large. I’m no longer shy towards those I haven’t met yet. As Cora Vette stated: ‘Texans LOVE Texas… A lot!’ The love for art and to be around those who love and appreciate art as well is a die hard tradition and one that we locals fight for with all our glitter and tassels. I cannot wait to see what next year brings.
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.