30. Kitten De Ville
(Reigning Queen of Burlesque 2002)
Kitten is one of our most recognisable burlesque stars; a towering modern-day Monroe who continues to thrill audiences with her signature shimmy worldwide.
In 2012, the ‘Queen of the Quake’ shook it in Paris, Switzerland and the UK, and in the US she performed at Tease-O-Rama (footage), The Windy City Burlesque Festival (footage 1, footage 2), Viva Las Vegas and The New Orleans Burlesque Festival. Towards the end of the year, Kitten joined the Cabaret New Burlesque cast on a tour of Europe.
The captivating Spanish siren Medianoche had a busy 2012! She competed for ‘Best Debut’ at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, performed in the Bustout Burlesque showcase at Viva La Vegas, teased in Wasabassco’s 8th Anniversary Extravaganza, and was awarded the ‘True Blood’ Golden Pastie Award at the New York Burlesque Festival (footage) for ‘teasing eyes’. She gave excellent performances at The New Orleans Burlesque Festival in the ‘Bad Girls of Burlesque’ show (footage) and the ‘Queen of Burlesque’ competition (footage), in which she was awarded ‘1st Runner Up’.
28. Kitty Bang Bang
World class, pointe dancing, cream dribbling, drink stealing, fire breathing ‘rebel showgirl’ Kitty ‘Bangers’ Bang Bang has landed at No. 28 this year. I don’t think she stood still for a day in 2012! She kicked off the year in OZ with The Hurly Burly Show, she competed for ‘Best Debut’ at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, she wowed the crowds at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, performed in the New York Burlesque Festival, joined the cast of Orchid – a magical new William Baker production in Miami, and was part of an exceptional trio in Polly Rae’s Between the Sheets. Just recently, she launched a promising new production of her own called Boom and Bang Circus, which I can’t wait to see.
27. Gal Friday
It’s great to see the gorgeous Gal Friday in the list this year! Gal’s 2012 activities included performing at the New York Burlesque Festival, Wasabassco’s 8th Anniversary Extravaganza, and at The New Orleans Burlesque Festival, where she performed a scorching solo (footage) and an hilarious tassel-off with Peekaboo Pointe (footage). You can also enjoy her performance in The Champagne Riot Presents: New Orleans Stomp here…
26. David Bishop
Behind many of the most celebrated and successful events in the burlesque calendar, and always on hand at such events to bestow a blessing on proceedings, is the devoted, long serving stage manager David Bishop. He has stage managed the New York Burlesque Festival since 2004, the BHoF Weekend since 2007, and has blessed shows and festivals in over fifteen US states.
His 2012 appearances included the New Orleans Burlesque Festival, the Alabama Burlesque Festival, the Colorado Burlesque Festival (footage), and, of course, The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend. He also led a ‘Stage Management Basics’ class at BurlyCon. Making this list for the second year shows how respected and valued he is. Great to see.
25. Lola Van Ella
A mistress of song and striptease from St. Louis is at No. 25 this year. 2012 was another great year for The Beggar’s Carnivale, which Lola co-produces with Sammich the Tramp, and the Show Me Burlesque Festival, which she also produces. She also performed one of her cheekiest routines in the Bustout Burlesque showcase at Viva Las Vegas (footage), and entertained the crowd at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival (footage). You can enjoy some extra footage of Lola in Cirque du Burlesque here…
24. Nadine DuBois
At No. 24, long serving emcee, singer, producer and director Nadine DuBois; a woman who radiates warmth, beauty and generosity, and contributes so much to her community.
Her 2012 appearances include the Colorado Burlesque Festival, Show Me Burlesque Festival (footage), Best of Midwest Burlesk Festival, and hosting the Burlesque Hall of Fame Tournament of Tease. You can hear her adding a sassy vocal to a Lola Spitfire performance here…
23. Minnie Tonka
Check out the ‘Sassy Semitic Sexpot’ at No. 23! I think she will need to spend most of 2013 recovering from 2012 because she really didn’t stop. Her activities included the Movers Shakers and Innovators showcase at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, a Dangerous Curves Ahead tour (read about her adventures here), a particularly enjoyable Australian experience in Brisbane, The Dallas Burlesque Festival, and two performances at Tease-O-Rama; a solo (footage) and a duet with her sexy Schlep Sister, Darlinda Just Darlinda (footage). You can also enjoy a Burlesque Stars interview with Minnie at BHoF here, and read her BHoF diary here…
22. Lola Frost
Another new entry at No. 22! Lola is, in her own words, a ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Flapper, Burlesque Performer, Bad Ass Dance Instructor, Ninja, Make Out Artist, Sass Master and Rebel with a Cause’. She is also the co-director of The Vancouver Burlesque Centre and a member of Sweet Soul Burlesque.
Here are some 2012 performances to enjoy: performing in Kitty Nights Easter Fun Day (footage), Live at the Rio in February (footage) and performing with Melody Mangler at Tease-O-Rama (footage). Some of you also saw her in action at BHoF 2012, performing with her partner in tease, Cherry On Top. At BurlyCon, Lola led two sessions; you can read about her experience here…
As I’m sure was the case with many of you, I first became intrigued by Lola as a result of her inspiring, intelligent and insightful writing, which I have loved publishing on 21CB. You can read some of it here, including a piece which I decided to re-publish as a thoughtful introduction to 2013.
21. World Famous BOB
Beautiful, brilliant BOB is at No. 21 this year. An obvious 2012 highlight was her wedding, and I have never seen a bridal ensemble quite like BOB’s – it was fabulous! (You can get a glimpse here…) She performed in the Untitled Feminist Show early in the year, and – as always – hosted the 55th Annual Burlesque Reunion Showcase at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend. She also continued to inspire and empower in her ‘Ultimate Self Confidence’ workshops, and has recently teamed up with Legs Malone to offer a new workshop: ‘Loving the Body You’re In’.
BOB’s credentials and resume are mindblowing. She has been photographed by the likes of David LaChapelle and Mario Testino, taken to the catwalk for Lane Bryant and worked with Thierry Mugler, starred in MTV commercials, won armfuls of Golden Pastie awards, and graced the pages of Marie Claire, Esquire, Hustler, New York Times Magazine, Paper, Mode and Bust Magazine, amongst many others.
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.