Tonka’s Recap of the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, 2012. Whoo hoo!
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I was so incredibly excited for the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2012! It was my fourth year in attendance, and I simply could not wait for the weekend to get here! Reuniting, hanging out, performing, and whoopin’ it up with all my fabulous, funny, and talented friends is such an honour and a highlight of my year!
The journey from NYC to Vegas was long, but I used my time wisely: nail painting as we waited at our gate and then and celebratory cocktails on the plane with Boo Boo Darlin’ – NYBF Golden Pastie winner of ‘Hottest Freshman’ in 2010.
Our layover in Chicago turned out to be momentous. Chicago-based Lucy Flawless greeted us at our gate and informed us that the one and only ‘No-Pantser Romancer’, Jett Adore, was also in the building! HOTNESS ALERT! Clearly, we needed to sneak up and surprise him, so we took a little jaunt to his gate and smothered him with hugs and licks.
We finally arrived in Vegas around midnight. Entering The Orleans felt like coming home: the sounds, smells, the energy… It was a comforting and exhilarating feeling. Plus, Ophelia Flame, my dear friend and roomie greeted me in the best way possible – jumping on the bed with excitement! Can we just acknowledge how hot and hilarious she is?
We were super exhausted but wanted to take a spin around the hotel before we hit the hay to get our beauty rest. And I’m glad we did because look who we ran into: Jonny Porkpie, Roxi D’Lite and D’Arcy, Jonathan Joffe (Burlesque Assassins), and his girlfriend, Kristen Brown! Of course, Jac Bowie convinced us to stay a bit longer, which was a good move because Lou Lou D’vil, Bettina May, and my dear Schlep Sister, Darlinda Just Darlinda, walked by and joined us.
After a quick jaunt to Mig Ponce’s suite, (whereupon I had flashbacks of the wild, crazy, and infamous ‘No Pants Party’ of 2009), Ophelia and I turned in for the night.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Now, I’m a gal who needs sleep. Lots of it. But my roomie, Ophelia Flame, a rock star super woman who, only after a few hours of shut-eye, woke up to teach a Yoga Sculpt class to a bunch of burlesque go-getters! I, of course, stayed in bed and was happy to welcome our other room-mate, Gina Louise (Ophelia’s dear friend and business partner at the Playful Peacock Academy in Minneapolis) who had just arrived.
Oh, and did I mention that Ophelia brought binoculars and requested our room overlook the pool so that we could spy on our sexy friends?
Spending the day at the pool is always a must here at BHoF. So that’s what I did on Thursday before I had tech for my performance at the Movers, Shakers and Innovators showcase that night. Here’s Trixie Little and Lil’ Miss Lixx soaking up the sun and demonstrating the proper way to drink a Bud Lite Lime!
The show on Thursday night was a blast! Blanche DeBris opened the show with her BHoF Rap, which was literally one of the most hysterical and heart-warming songs I’ve ever heard. From the moment she walked on stage and opened her mouth, I knew I was obsessed with her! The show was jam-packed with some of my favourite performers and friends, and my heart was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude to be included in this phenomenal line-up.
Do y’all know the amazing Mat Fraser? Well, he is awesome. I met Mat years back in NYC and have been a fan ever since. Mat is super smart, talented, and hilarious. He also just married the gorgeous and mind-blowing Julie Atlas Muz. I had the honour of being a Zombie Schoolgirl Bridesmaid at their wedding last month!
Clearly, I was psyched that Mat was hosting and introducing me in the second half of the show, when I performed ‘Planet Claire’, my act to one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands, The B-52’s. Performing up on that stage again and having the honour to share my love and energy with the audience was simply spectacular.
For the past two years, rock stars like Bambi the Mermaid have produced Legends Challenge Benefit shows (the brainchild of Sparkly Devil) to help bring our burlesque fore-mothers to BHoF so we can bask in their awesomeness. Tigger! and I, along with a bevy of other NYC burlesque stars, were privileged to strut our stuff in a wild night of NYC burlesque debauchery last month, all in the name of Camille 2000! And here are Tiggs and Camille backstage after their act on Thursday night!
The after party at Big Al’s Comedy Club was the place to catch up and rub shoulders (and other things) with friends old and new: Ray Gunn, Imogen Kelly, Roxi D’Lite, Lola Van Ella, Sammich the Tramp, Ginger Valentine, Missy Lisa, Creamed Stu, The Dolls of Doom, Captain Kidd, Midnite Martini, Bazuka Joe, Lulu Lollipop of the Peek-A-Boo Revue, Don Spiro, and so many more, but I cannot remember because I may or may not have eaten a special brownie.
Friday, June 1, 2012
With the help and support of my early-rising roomies, Ophelia Flame and Gina Louise, I dragged my arse out of bed for a group outing with the Minneapolis gang to the Fantastik Indoor SwapMeet. The perks of my outing were that I ran into the ultra amazing Madame Rosebud and her beautiful mom, as well as my beloved Danger Mouse and Lola Pistola from VivaVoom Brrlesque in Alaska, who I performed with last year with my travelling burlesque troupe, Dangerous Curves Ahead: Burlesque on the Go-Go!
Afterwards, we headed over to the Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum, the little pink gem that’s a must see. The first thing we noticed was the beautifully bedazzled museum welcome sign! Huge shout out to Trixie Little for tirelessly recruiting and organizing fellow NYC burlesque performers to donate money and time to create the sign this past winter. (Note the rhinestoned lock – it’s all in the details!) Thank you, Trixie!
Back at the hotel and I was eager to head down to the Barecats Bowling Invitational: BHoF’s Bowl Off. Holy wowza! What a fantastic feast for the eyes and ears!
Check out this hysterical video, by my friend Rosie 151, of the bowling tournament, featuring The Baltimorons (Trixie, Monkey, Lil’ Miss Lixx & Mr. Gorgeous) donning unitards patterned after the Maryland state flag. They won ‘Most Distracting’ and ‘Fan Favourite!’
I was looking forward to Titans of Tease 55th Annual Reunion Showcase and seeing the legends strut their stuff. The incomparable World Famous *BOB* was the perfect host for the evening. I love hearing BOB speak from her heart about her love and reverence for the legends, whose performances were fabulous and inspiring. I have a soft spot for Viva La Fever, like many of us do! She knocked everyone’s socks off with her first solo performance at BHoF! And let’s just acknowledge and admire the gorgeous Gypsy Louise! It was her first performance in thirty years, and the Stage Door Johnnies accompanied her! I can only dream that one day three sexy and talented men will help me take my clothes off on stage in front of hundreds of drooling and excited audience members.
I turned in early that night in order to recover from my debaucherous Thursday. I needed to conserve my energy in preparation for Saturday night’s Tournament of Tease!
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Saturday I woke up refreshed, revived, and ready to rock! I spent the day at the pool, of course!
Showtime! I sat next to my dear friend Bazuka Joe and we were ready to soak it all in together. My Midwestern sister, the delicious Nadine DuBois, hosted ‘Best Debut’. I adore Nadine. She is all class and all Jameson. To my surprise, Nadine called me out and asked the packed house, ‘Who has received a Drunk Dial from Minnie Tonka?’ and followed up with, ‘Who wants to receive a Drunk Dial from Minnie Tonka?!’ The room was filled with cheers and squeals. Uh-oh… I guess I better get on that!!
Nadine handed over the mic to Scotty the Blue Bunny, who hosted the rest of the show. Scotty and I go way back to the beginning of my burlesque career in NYC in 2004, and I was thrilled to see him up on the BHoF stage! What a night, what a show! All the performers were excellent. However, I must mention a few stand-outs. First, the hot and talented Kitty Bang Bang in ‘Best Debut’. It’s a good thing she lives in London because if we lived in the same city, I think we’d get into lots and lots of trouble together! In ‘Best Duet’, Lola Frost and Cherry on Top BLEW MY MIND! I cannot wait for the video so I can watch it over and over again… In my bed.
The Stage Door Johnnies have been raving to me about Russell Bruner for months and now I know why. The man is spectacular! My eyes were popping out of my head and my jaw was on the floor. ‘King of Boylesque’ – well deserved! I have seen Darlinda Just Darlinda perform her blacklight tassel-twirling act at least a hundred times. She absolutely nailed it and I am so proud of her! Go, sister! My Minneapolis home girl, Ophelia Flame brought tears to my eyes and screams from my heart. This woman is burlesque inspiration! And when I think about Indigo Blue’s step down number, I fall to my knees and reach for a bottle of vodka. How can I handle what we witnessed in that room that night? If you weren’t there, you blew it. Wait for the video and get ready to weep with delight. Finally, huge love and mazel tov to our new Reigning Queen of Burlesque – the one and only Imogen Kelly! I met and loved her last year when we performed in ‘Best Debut’ together and couldn’t be more proud of my Australian mate!
Obviously, the after party was raucous and lasted all night. I was overwhelmed with Drunk Dial requests and decided to keep it simple… So I Drunk Dialled Tigger! Glad this moment is captured forever.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
The Burlesque Legends Q&A Panel – always a highlight of BHoF – inspired me to get moving that day after only a few hours of sleep. I couldn’t wait to reunite with the darling and hysterical April March. I had the honour and pleasure of performing with her in Toronto earlier this year. I love her. She cracks me up!
Onto the Hangover Pool Party, where it’s all about hair of the dog and staying cool in the pool!
After spending the afternoon poolside, it was time to gear up for the Icons & All-Stars show hosted by my dear friend, the uber talented and hilarious Bastard Keith – who was amazing, by the way! Oh man, so much to say, so little time! What a stellar line-up of incredible performers. Roxi D’Lite on pole – WOW! That lady’s got talent and skill. Kalani Kokonuts, yes please! If I hadn’t lost my voice already, it was surely gone by the end of that show.
And then there was the epic after party. As I mentioned before, this was my fourth year at BHoF and I have always crashed from exhaustion on Sunday night, missing the post-show shenanigans. Not this year! I whooped it up ‘til the wee hours with a number of raunchy rock stars: Kitty Bang Bang, Albert Cadabra, Roxi D’Lite, Jonny Porkpie, Tigger!, Captain Kidd, to name a few. Thank heaven I left on Tuesday, because Monday was spent recovering poolside with the other stragglers.
I love you Burlesque Hall of Fame. I love you burlesque friends and family. Thank you for filling my heart with joy, gratitude, happiness, and inspiration. Cannot wait to see you all very, very soon.
International burlesque star Minnie Tonka hails from the Land of 10,000 Lakes - that's Minnesota - but is based in New York City. Known as the One Woman Riot, Minnie’s theatrical, inventive, and flirtatious striptease has been dazzling audiences across the globe since 2004. Minnie is a multiple-time New York Burlesque Festival Golden Pastie Award Winner and was voted #14 in the Top International Burlesque Industry Figures of 2013. She’s the co-founder of Kosher ChiXXX Jewish Burlesque Revue, produces the annual Menorah Horah Hanukkah burlesque show, The Burning Bush VS. The Second Coming, and she produced and starred in Dangerous Curves Ahead: Burlesque on the Go-Go, the USA’s premier national touring burlesque troupe, and more. A solo performer who can be seen every night on stages across New York City, Minnie Tonka also performs as one half of The Schlep Sisters with Darlinda Just Darlinda.