Red Herring’s Toronto Burlesque Festival Diary: Saturday

Back to class! Saturday morning saw me up and out early for two classes at Coco Framboise‘s Burlesque University!

I am an avid taker of classes, and last year’s university classes were full of opportunities, but I felt some leaders lacked direction. This year was a huge improvement on an already amazing system. Originally I had thought I was only able to take Burgundy Brixx‘s Producing 101, but having met Jett Adore Friday night (and with Coco’s recommendation) I also found myself in Jett’s class, learning about several words that start with ‘S’ (sexy sexy Jett).

I have notes from both classes – the academic nerd in me insists on it – and both teachers took emails in order to deliver outlines to their students. Brilliant. I think everyone should jump on the chance to learn in a setting like this. It’s a huge oppourtunity.

Also, me and the girls got to go out to lunch with Jett Adore. Rawr.

After that I had a load of rehearsing and last-minute detailing to do on my costume before heading to the Burlesque Ball at the Mod Club.

In an effort to guarantee seating, my guests and I arrived ahead of time. So ahead, in fact, that there wasn’t even a line up, and and we’re some of the first there.

After a brief session of checking out the marketplace with some amazing vendors, grabbing my performer bag, and scouting for strategic seating, my companions took a seat on the floor level while I stayed up in the performer-only balcony area and staked out a spot where I could live-tweet the event.

The show was amazing. It certainly didn’t hurt to start off with a smouldering duet aerial hoop act by Charlotte Webber and Dew Lily.

Their costumes were minimal (and didn’t stay on long) which really emphasized how gorgeous they both are. Aerial work is hard (my failings at trapeze teach me this) and these two are absolutely brilliant.

Charlotte Webber and Dew Lily  ©Red Herring (www.aprofessionaldistraction.com)
Charlotte Webber and Dew Lily ©Red Herring (www.aprofessionaldistraction.com)

I spent much of the acts in awe and, when not slack jawed over the talent, attempted to take some decent pictures with my iPhone to post to twitter under the #TOBurlesqueFest hashtag.

The emcee performance was a repeat for me. Wry and Ginger, joined by Sexy Mark Brown of STOS, had hosted with the same character narrative at Boylesque TO’s O Manada show a month previously. It’s a token of their skill that despite having seen their between-skit bits, they were consistently hilarious and on point throughout the night. The pair played off each other effortlessly, and Sexy Mark Brown is always a remarkable character on the stage. The additional gags they developed due to increased size of the show (over the original Boylesque production) meshed perfectly. They’re some of my favourite emcees in the city.

Frenchie Fatale and her sexy salsa boy Carlos Caliente. I need to get me one of those...  ©Olena Sullivan - Photolena (www.photolena.ca)
Frenchie Fatale and her sexy salsa boy Carlos Caliente. I need to get me one of those... ©Olena Sullivan - Photolena (www.photolena.ca)

2011’s Reigning Queen/Miss Exotic World, Indigo Blue took over the stage with the most hilarious glove peel act I’ve ever seen. She took off at least five pairs! I didn’t think the Canadian weather was that cold! I could see her expressions even from my balcony perch, which really kicked up the simple concept of her act. Amazing.

Miss Indigo Blue   ©Olena Sullivan - Photolena (www.photolena.ca)
Miss Indigo Blue ©Olena Sullivan - Photolena (www.photolena.ca)

Intermission came and went without me moving much, though I did get to sit for a brief moment. This is about the time a girls’ feet start to hurt from standing all night!

Heating up the second half, Billie Black was smoking hot singing in her trench coat, and even more so in the shibari ropes when she stripped it off to do an aerial act. Les Coquettes, a Toronto troop filled with the hottest multi-talented performers. Unf. Between Dew Lily and Charlotte from the opening, and Billie in the second act, it’s no wonder this group sells out on a regular basis.

Billie Black   ©Olena Sullivan - Photolena (www.photolena.ca)
Billie Black ©Olena Sullivan - Photolena (www.photolena.ca)

I have seen the antics of The Evil Hate Monkey due to the wonders of the internet, but as always, real life is so much better. He is hilarious, and FIT. This man did jumping squats on pointe in a tutu (and threw bananas into the audience). He had my whole balcony section convulsing in laughter.

Cherry Typhoon   ©Olena Sullivan - Photolena (www.photolena.ca)
Cherry Typhoon ©Olena Sullivan - Photolena (www.photolena.ca)

Like Miss Indigo Blue‘s simple (but amazing) glove act, Coco Framboise‘s act was uncomplicated, but packed with talent. Both ladies are masters of expression while on stage, and Coco’s giant tassel (for twirling!) is a simple prop, and simple idea, but with her eye contact and cheeky expressions, it’s no wonder she’s all-too-often off on some European odyssey. She managed to reach the balcony, and create a hearty chorus of ‘YEAH!’ from some of the guys behind me.

Almost made me drop my phone!

Melody Mangler, out of Vancouver, used petals and a wind machine to wow the crowd. The collective gasp at her falling rain of petals is something to reach for when performing.

Melody Mangler  ©Olena Sullivan - Photolena (www.photolena.ca)
Melody Mangler ©Olena Sullivan - Photolena (www.photolena.ca)

The crowd was hyped for Jett Adore before he even set foot on stage. His puppetry of the peacock (see what I did there?) is an amazing concept, and I’m incredibly happy that I relented to the prodding to take his class.

Trixie Little and a return of The Evil Hate Monkey performed ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, complete with flashlight-face-spotlighting and epic acrobatic moves. It was dedicated to the memory of Amy Winehouse, whose death was making waves on the twitterverse during the show. The act managed to be both epic and dramatic (oh eighties love ballads…) and hilarious.

Jett Adore  ©Olena Sullivan - Photolena (www.photolena.ca)
Jett Adore ©Olena Sullivan - Photolena (www.photolena.ca)

Roxi D’Lite, Reigning Queen/Miss Exotic World 2010 and one of my burlesque idols, closed out the show with stripes and flair with her tiger lily act.  Dressed as a tiger she worked the stage, the floor, and her hoop like the pro she is. I envy  her floor work, and her musicality. She hits every accent in every performance I’ve seen.

Roxi DLite  ©Myla Strange of Boudoir Bizzare (http://www.boudoirbizarre.etsy.com)
Roxi DLite ©Myla Strange of Boudoir Bizzare (http://www.boudoirbizarre.etsy.com)

The show emptied quickly after that, as with every year at the Mod Club, and I believe they continued their club night after our absence. The pretty people gathered outside just as the rain started to fall. Some of us, including me, went home. Some of us went to the sexy after party hosted by Oasis Aqua Lounge and featuring a few surprise performances by Trixi Jones and Esther De Ville. The only evidence I have of the fun times had are knowing smirks and racy photos. What happened at Oasis apparently stays at Oasis (drat).

www.TorontoBurlesque.com

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