20. Ruby Joule
‘The gem you’d love to polish’ kicks off the TOP 20. This poised, porcelain princess of tease is the co-founder of Texan troupe The Jigglewatts, and she enjoys a varied career in dance, theatre and film, as well as burlesque.
In 2012, Ruby had an extremely successful Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, winning ‘Best Debut’ and ‘Most Classic’. She walked away with another title from the New Orleans Burlesque Festival (footage), where she was awarded ‘2nd Runner Up’ in the ‘Queen of Burlesque’ competition (you can read her NOBF Diary here). Other appearances included the Montreal Burlesque Festival, the Dallas Burlesque Festival, Viva Las Vegas 15 and Tease-O-Rama.
19. Russell Bruner
Winner of ‘Best Boylesque’ at the 2012 Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, Russell has been entertaining for nearly a decade in variety arts. Russell has also spent much of his time ‘performing acrobatics, partner dance, and gentleman juggling’ with the Wanderlust Circus and Swing Time PDX in Portland, Oregon.
Russell’s other appearances included the New Orleans Burlesque Festival, The Beggar’s Carnivale 2nd Annual Beggar’s New Year’s Ball, and Michelle L’amour’s Superstars of Burlesque.
18. Jeez Loueez
The fierce and fabulous Miss Viva Las Vegas 2012 has made it to No. 18 this year. A trained actor and dancer, Jeez has appeared in a variety of revues and musical productions.
As well as her triumphant VLV win (footage), Jeez performed at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival, presented two choreography sessions at BurlyCon, and competed for ‘Best Duo’ with Stage Door sex biscuit Ray Gunn at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend. The footage isn’t available yet, but you can see them performing together in 2011 here…
17. Angie Pontani
(Reigning Queen of Burlesque, 2008)
Credited as one of the pioneers of Neo-Burlesque, Angie Pontani has made burlesque her passion and her business. She enjoys a high-profile career; appearing in a variety of publications and television shows, posing for prominent photographers, and entertaining A-list celebrities.
In 2012, Angie celebrated the 10th Annual New York Burlesque Festival. You can watch her NYBF performance here, and watch her being interviewed, as co-producer of the festival, at NYBF here. She also judged and performed at the Milan Burlesque Awards, and you can also enjoy a performance from the Burlesque-A-Pades: Holiday Inn tour here…
16. LouLou D’vil
Feisty Finnish fireball LouLou D’vil is at No. 16 this year.
She was on the move constantly in 2012; her appearances included the Helsinki Burlesque Festival, the Stockholm Burlesque Festival, the Bustout Burlesque showcase at Viva Las Vegas, the Edinburgh Festival, and competing for the title at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend with her gorgeous ‘Queen of the North’ act.
The first ever ‘Mr Exotic World’ to be crowned, Tigger! is unpredictable, scream-inducingly naughty, and eye-wateringly flexible! Buzzing with boundless energy and flamboyance, burlesque wouldn’t be the same without him.
Tigger!’s 2012 appearances included the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, the New York Burlesque Festival, Boom Boom Burlesque, performing in the shadow of the Vatican in Rome with Penny Arcade in The New New York, the 1st Annual New York Boylesque Festival, and he treated us to another fabulous MAN: A TEASE!
You can watch an interview with Tigger! here, which accompanied Brian C. Janes’ It’s All That Glitters, a book full of gorgeous images of performers in their homes.
14. Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey
Brace yourselves for a rundown of a truly prolific year in the lives of Trixie Little and The Evil Hate Monkey, celebrated and beloved burlesque super duo!
In 2012, they performed at/in the New York Burlesque Festival, Boom Boom Burlesque, the amazing Theatre Bizarre: The Summoning, The Slipper Room, The Box, the Show Me Burlesque Festival and The Beggar’s Carnivale, as well as some flipping and stripping in Australia. Two 2012 highlights I found particularly hysterical were Trixie performing as a scarily identical Evil Hate Monkey, and the two of them dancing around in gingerbread man costumes in a MuseiAM show.
Trixie also had great success in the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend Tournament of Tease, winning 2nd Runner Up in the contest for Reigning Queen, and she taught inspiring sessions at BurlyCon.
Fantastic performances aside, I know that the ultimate 2012 highlight for them was their beautiful wedding ceremony, attended by all their loved ones. For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet (get a tissue ready), here is the wonderful and brilliantly planned proposal footage…
And here are a few 2012 performances to enjoy. Teasing on the trapeze at MUMBO here, at the New York Burlesque Festival together and separately (Trixie / Monkey), and here they are starring in a campaign video for the BHoF relocation fundraiser.
13. Ophelia Flame
No. 13 is a lucky one for the sensational Ophelia Flame; a fiery goddess that never fails to make me smile, with a wonderful sense of humour that infects her audience. Ophelia has been seducing us in her own wonderful way for over twenty years, moving expertly from the ridiculous to the smoulderingly sexy. One of my all time favourite performers, and one of my favourite people, full stop; a morning chat with her can set me up for the whole day.
Her 2012 appearances included Tease-O-Rama, the Minneapolis Burlesque Festival, teaching fantastic sessions at BurlyCon AND winning 1st Runner Up at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend with a fantastic performance. I was thrilled when that was announced!
BHoF FOOTAGE ALERT! I am really happy that I can share this footage of her winning performance with you – watch it here! As I often do with burlesque footage, I watched this again with the sound off just to watch her movement; it’s really beautiful work.
12. Ginger Valentine
A beautiful dancer moves up to No. 12 this year, with so much natural talent, grace and dedication. Plus all that sizzling sex appeal, obviously. Case in point: this routine has been watched over 700, 000 times! Ginger at her absolute finest.
Ginger’s 2012 appearances included the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, the Bustout Burlesque showcase at Viva Las Vegas, the New Orleans Burlesque Festival, the Dallas Burlesque Festival (read her fest diary here), and she attended and performed at Michelle L’amour’s annual Strippers Holiday (read her write-up here).
Ginger was involved in something very special in 2012. She became the new Evangeline the Oyster Girl and spent time perfecting the act with burlesque legend and original Oyster Girl, Kitty West. She wrote a wonderful account of the whole experience for 21CB, which you can read here, and you can visit this site for more information.
Ginger continues to be the co-producer and director of the Ruby Revue and helps to produce the Dallas Burlesque Festival.
11. Julie Atlas Muz
(Reigning Queen of Burlesque 2006)
A fearless, generous genius at No. 11. Julie is someone I can’t really define in a couple of paragraphs. In fact, I wouldn’t want to limit her scope of artistry and performance by attempting to define her. A mistress of illusion, innovation, suggestion and sexuality; Julie’s creations are intelligent, provocative, often extreme, and always entertaining.
Her 2012 credits include Boom Boom Burlesque, the New York Burlesque Festival (footage), Lucha VaVOOM (footage), the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, Superstars of Burlesque, and The Champagne Riot Presents: Blind Tiger (footage). She was also a guest of honour at BurlyCon, and led three brilliant sessions.
Julie and her handsome other half, Mat Fraser, got married in 2012, and it was everything you would expect from them; a spectacle like no other, attended by loved ones and all her big hitting New York peers. You can get an idea of what went on from this wedding footage…
Finally, you can enjoy footage of one of Julie’s most celebrated acts, I Am the Moon and You are the Man On Me, here…
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.