In the face of personal tragedy and a rampant global pandemic, veteran show pony Lola Van Ella has never been the type to sit on her jazz hands.
After the sudden and tragic loss of her mother and grandmother in 2019, she went on to mark a decade of her Show Me Burlesque Festival the same year. Then, when Covid cancelled 2020 and the entertainment industry was forced to shut down, she teamed up with long-time collaborator Jeez Loueez to create dazzling digital distractions for locked down audiences. As Loleezbo, the pioneering pair were voted the No.1 most influential industry figures in the Burlesque TOP 50 2020 last month, and true to form, Lola isn’t resting on her laurels.
“2020 was a year none of us could have possibly prepared for,” Lola tells 21st Century Burlesque. “Losing our stages, our gigs, our backstage camaraderie, was devastating in ways I didn’t know I could feel. However, with all the loss came a lot of perspective.
“Last year, I started thinking about collaboration, and loss, and yearning, and finding joy within the pain. I also saw so many of my friends fighting to create amidst all of it, and struggling to reach audiences due to the influx of content, and also because social media doesn’t really support our brand of sexy content.
“In my desire to create, to offer a platform, and to share the stories that so many of us will understand, Shadowban was born.”
Created with an all-star cast of local performers using song, dance, drag, burlesque, music, and performance art, Lola envisions an outdoor, socially distanced Mardi Gras spectacle in her adopted New Orleans.
“We are presenting it outdoors, with very limited, socially distanced seats, on custom built stages that will represent each of the four seasons,” Lola explains. “The audience will sit in the middle, making it a kind of inside-out round. Instead of narration, the story is told with movement, and song, and flowing transitions.”
Lola’s Shadowban co-stars include award-winning burlesque duo Kitten ‘N’ Lou, stripteaser Angie Z, drag queen Laveau Contraire, and performance artist Eddie Lockwood.
Lola can always be relied on to create visibility when performers feel at their most invisible, and Valentine’s Day weekend is a poignant opportunity to cultivate love and connection.
“I am so excited to be working on something new with such talented people, and thrilled at the prospect of bringing a little light and joy to this new year.”
Shadowban – An Existential Performance Journey In Four Seasons
February 11-14 OKAY Bar (outdoors)
Social distancing will be observed in seating, temperatures will be taken upon entry, and masks will be required. Very limited tickets and reservations available. A fully edited video version will be available to anyone who would like to see and support the show via the ticket link.