Kitten ‘N’ Lou do Viva Las Vegas!
When we first got the email from the gorgeous Audrey Deluxe asking us to perform at Viva Las Vegas Weekend 18, our first thought was: ‘Really? You want these two gay dancing weirdos? At a Rockabilly festival?’ Our next thought was: ‘Well, that’s fantastic!’
Full disclosure: our initial, very limited perception of VLV was that it seemed to be a super macho, super straight scene where the men are tuff, and the gals are fancy, and everybody does the Watusi on top of a pile of hot rods. And while it is a lot of these things, we came to discover that it’s so much more, and we are officially hooked!
We spend the afternoon checking in, getting our bearings, and generally being dazzled by the parade of vintage fashion already circulating around. After taking a quick peek at the weekend itinerary of events we are blown away by the magnitude of this thing! Hundreds of bands! Multiple burlesque shows! Pool parties! Massive vending mania! All night dance parties! Vintage car show! WOAH. Time to strap on our party shoes, shellac the shit out of our hair, and GET INTO IT.
We kick off our weekend by heading to Audrey Deluxe’s super fun and fabulous Burlesque Bingo with one of our favorite partners in crime, Perle Noire. The event combines everybody’s favourite geriatric party game with sparkly dancing ladies and boobs – genius! (How anyone can focus on their bingo card while the likes of Jeez Loueez, Ginger Valentine, Missy Lisa and Cleo Clara are stripping is beyond us…) Plus we won a round of bingo, and a prize of a photo shoot with Glamorama Studio!
We were beyond thrilled to be part of the big burlesque extravaganza on Friday – what a lineup! So much talent, and soooo much excitement/terror. Sick showgirls! Pregnant Showgirls! Showgirls with no costuming!
Everybody in this cast was incredibly stellar, but especially hair-raising moments included:
Angie Pontani doing her signature booty drops… FIVE MONTHS PREGNANT! She cleverly created an over the top goddess costume to conceal her not-so-little secret. Amazing.
Bonnie Fox turning out her high energy flapper act for all three shows, even though she was barfing her guts out all day long from food poisoning and had to lay under a blanket and sleep between shows. Trooper!
LouLou D’vil figuring out how to rock her act in a last minute borrowed costume as her luggage was lost! True profesh.
Roxi D’Lite, Perle Noire, Audrey Deluxe and The One The Only Inga all had the audience shrieking with happiness… PER USUAL.
Today was our first opportunity to really immerse ourselves in the Viva experience. We get dressed in our fanciest vintage resort wear (matching, natch), do some damage to our credit card at vending and head out to the car show to ogle all of the glorious and meticulous vintage fashion and cars on display. SO MANY CARZZZZZZZ. SO PURRRRRTY.
We watched the pin-up contest, hosted by the stunning Rockwell DeVil (who was possibly the best dressed babe all weekend and also A LES-BI-AN. Holla!).
Later that evening we were taken to dinner by one of our favourite legends, the wonderful Lovey Goldmine, who treated us to surf n’ turf and some AMAZING stories from her career. Love that Lovey!
We watched the contestants of the Miss Viva Las Vegas pageant give it their all, and floated down a rum-fuelled river with all our burly pals to Frankie’s Tiki Room, a Las Vegas institution and house of many delicious fruity cocktails in novelty glassware.
We headed back to The Orleans and squeezed in a late night dance party with the queen of high-larity (and former Miss VLV) Jeez Loueez. Lou gets whirled around the dance floor by a dapper gentleman in his late sixties, who is clearly one of the fanciest hoofers at the event and has been at it for hours. We are truly impressed by the stamina of the Viva attendees; imagine a sea of immaculately dressed people doing the Madison at 3am to a live band. ‘How does their hair stay so pomade-perfect and their faces so freakishly matte after hours of this?’ we wonder. Viva secrets.
It’s Easter, our favourite excuse to wear matching pastel outfits and eat as much candy as we want! We don said outfits, take a twirl around the hotel, and then head off campus to join a legend-packed Easter brunch hosted by Dave and Brenda Williams and the wonderful legend Tiffany Carter. If there’s a better way to celebrate zombie Jesus day than by eating ham and cake with the likes of Marinka, Tempest Storm and some of the best peelers of past and present, then we sure haven’t found it! (Loved catching up with Coco Lectric and the Ruby Revue babes. How can Texas produce so much gorgeousness?)
We finish our Easter parade with an adventure to the sublimely weird Bonnie Springs Ranch, and tickets to Absinthe with Inga and our pal Nate. (Front row seats made matching pastel outfits an easy target for the ruthless emcee. Whoops!) Much fun was had. Much candy was consumed.
Congrats to Audrey and Tom for putting on such an epic and incredible event with such longevity. We can see why people keep coming back to VLV year after year. It’s a place where the men are fancy and the gals are tuff. It’s a place where people of various ages, genders, ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientation come together to look good, cut a rug, obsess over the details of campy nostalgia, and live the fantasy. If you dress up, you’re in the club, and that’s a philosophy we can get behind. VIVA VIVA!
Viva Las Vegas 19 will run 14 – 17th April 2016.
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.