Aspiring boylesque megastars look no further – your ultimate guide to making it in burlesque is right here, courtesy of some of the finest male stripteasers in the galaxy!
Tigger! is a neo-burlesque pioneer and the first person to receive the Best Boylesque title at the prestigious Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend pageant. Russell Bruner has won a truck load of awards from the pageant and has duetted with a number of female burlesque stars. The Stage Door Johnnies – Ray Gunn (also a Best Boylesque winner), Bazuka Joe and Jett Adore – are a true phenomenon, dazzling audiences with drama, innovation, humour and devastating sex appeal.
Enjoy this list of tips and tricks, and catch them all on one stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 from July 30th. See below for details…
– Bazuka Joe says: Be as charming offstage as on. Believe it or not, most deals are done backstage. People will notice and remember how you treat other cast members and the tech crew, and if they have a choice between hiring a good performer who’s easy to work with and a good performer who’s difficult, who do you think they’ll choose?
– Take Names. We know it’s nearly impossible to remember every performer’s name, especially in and out of costume, but try. It shows that you care about your community and it keeps you humble. And if someone doesn’t remember yours, don’t take it personally.
– Don’t be a Douche. There are fewer of us in the industry and audiences are going to be excited to see us. That doesn’t mean that you’re hot shit and can act arrogant about it.
– Jett Adore says: We men of burlesque are guests, welcomed and embraced by our female inspirations. It is not enough to clumsily mock the art form; we must honour it with polish and specificity.
– Treat the dressing room with at least the same kind of respect you would show for the Unwritten Rules of Urinal Trough Etiquette.
– If you’re going to break any rules or laws, make sure the show and the venue are on your side.
– Imitation can be flattery, and it can also be considered theft.
– Challenge Yourself. When you get an idea for an act, always ask yourself, ‘How can I take this further?’
– Do Your Research. Know your burlesque history. You can’t be on the wave of where things are going unless you know where things came from.
– Learn something! You should never feel like you’re at a point where you know everything. Take a class, learn a new skill, ask for peer critiques, keep evolving!
– Be Creative with Your Costumes. There’s more to male burlesque than a vest and tear-away pants.
– Explore Creative Music Choices. Don’t go straight for the obvious songs.
– Maintain quality control with your acts by asking yourself, ‘Would I pay to see it?’ and ‘How much?’
– Don’t Fear the Merkin! If law allows, just go for it!
– Bazuka Joe says: Shave before glueing – Take it from me. I learned the hard way!
– Pasties are your Friend. It might feel weird at first, but they’re a great accessory and show solidarity with the women.
– Manscape. Manscaping is your friend (and everyone else’s!)
– Always Wear Protection. SPF 15 works great to shield yourself from unsightly tan lines and keep your skin looking young and healthy.
– NO ANKLE SOCKS!
– Work your ass off rehearsing, but when you hit the stage forget about working and just PLAY. Explode onstage.
– Tigger! says: Don’t give me your best impression of your heroes/influences/teachers. Give me something unmistakeably YOU. That is all you really have to offer anyway, so embrace it.
– Be AMAZING! Even if it’s only for four short minutes onstage, be as amazing as you can be. Think big, be bold, and give the audience drama!
– Bazuka Joe says: Mistakes will happen – accept it. You WILL have costume malfunctions, you WILL have shitty performances. It happens to everyone. Learn how to cover it from the audience, accept it into your heart, and move on!
– Russell Bruner says: Please get your pants off in a way that is unique, graceful, creative or otherwise intentional. Doing ‘Low Art’ doesn’t mean you can’t set the bar higher.
A Man in a Woman’s World
– Men are welcome guests in the Woman’s Art of Burlesque. Keep it that way.
– Ray Gunn says: Put in the effort. As a guy you have to work as hard, if not harder, than the girls to prove your worth. Don’t let being a guy be a novelty or crutch to coast you through.
– Embrace your Masculinity. Don’t be afraid to be a man onstage. It’s great to give nods to the female performers, but don’t lose who you are.
– Don’t Be Afraid to be Sexual. Guys can be as sexy as girls, and male sexuality is different than female sexuality. Embrace it and use it!
– Jett Adore says: The most captivating ladies throughout burlesque history have shaped, sharpened, and re-imagined their ideas of femininity, and the opportunity is ours as men to exploit, exaggerate, twist, and explore masculinity for a world where stereotypes of manlyhood are not challenged enough.
– Jett Adore says: My dearest, sweet grandmother used to say, ‘If you’ve got nice nasties, you might as well shake ’em.’
– Bazuka Joe says: ‘A Little Party Never Killed Nobody’. Be serious as an artist, but don’t forget to have fun! Go crazy, do embarrassing things (and then send me your pictures!).
– Tigger! says: FUCK ‘EM IN THE HEART!
See this thrilling collection of boylesque superstars in DIXEY: Where Gentlemen are Always Immaculately Undressed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from July 30th – August 24th. Click here for details…
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.