This year was the second annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival produced by Rick Delaup and Secrets in Lace. Sadly due to a scheduling conflict I was only able to attend the Friday night shows, but they were so amazing that it almost makes up for me not seeing the Queen of Burlesque competition with live band on Saturday night...almost... Performers from all over the country descended on NOLA to perform classic burlesque at both Harrah's Casino and the original House of Blues.
The first show was Mondo Burlesque at Harrah's Casino. The audience was dressed to the nines and still couldn't compete with the amazing outfits and costumes on stage. The show was hosted by the Mistress of Ceremonies Cora Vette who sang, complete with back up dancers from Dames D'lish and BurlyCute, in addition to keeping the audience entertained between acts. She had the voice of an angel and the mouth of a sailor, which turned out to be an amazing combination!
Performers for Mondo Burlesque included an adorable house wife number by Vicky Sin from New York, an amazing group number by The Chicago Starlets that was one of the best choreographed and well timed and thought out group numbers I have ever seen, and Ophelia Flame from Minneapolis who did an amazing number with silk fans, then came Ursula Undress from Atlanta who did her tribute to Bettie Page to Wild Cat, she drove the crowd wild with her shimmy, shake and SHAZAM!
Cora Vette then changed her outfit and looked like Burlesque Rainbow Brite, it was a brilliant outfit complete with boots! After that was the naughty twins Mina Mechante and Deirdre Doll from Chicago proving that two is better then one and that sometimes you don't have to choose! Dinah Might from London was next with a beautiful and forceful fan dance that included slapping around Atlanta's own Derrick Jackson, I've never seen a man so slap happy. Then came Angi B Lovely from Dallas who is not only an amazing burlesque performer but a skilled aerialist as well. I never get tired of seeing her climb the silks and my heart always stops when she does the drop at the end. I know for a fact she's going to be okay but I get so caught up in her performance it surprises me every time!
Cora Vette then changed into a sparkly green ensemble with hair down to her butt, her hair do had been growing through out all over her changes, a nice touch. After that was The Bon-Bons from St. Louis. I love these girls, they're fun, they're sassy and each performer has their own personality come through even when they're all doing the same dance move. Keeping your individuality while doing a group number is a fine line and they walk it beautifully! Then came Jo Boobs, the Headmistress of the New York School of Burlesque. She was a vision in gold beaded fringe that shimmied around her like an angel's halo. Her connection with the audience was very apparent and the audience was hanging on every shimmy, shake, bump and grind. Jett Adore from The Stage Door Johnnie's in Chicago was the only male to grace the stage at Harrah's that evening. He did a Zorro number that had everyone in the audience swooning with each article that came off during his sword fight and the ladies were fighting to catch a glimpse of what was under his cape. The answer was not much! Kitten DeVille from LA and Miss Exotic World 2002 did her tribute to Dixie Evan's Producer's Chair routine that was taught to her by Dixie Evan's herself. The act started off cute and cheeky and went into a raunchy sexuality that I am sure was shocking in the 50s and 60s when Dixie did this act. Some how Kitten DeVille kept the act classy and full of raw sex, which is not an easy task. The finale was Chicago's Michelle L'amour, Miss Exotic World 2005, who did a panther routine that left the audience begging for more. Her movements and attitude really made you believe that she was a wild animal trapped in a cage that could devour you at any moment. It was captivating, compelling and and a beautiful and graceful way to end the show.
I took over a thousand pictures of the show so I hope you enjoy!
The second show that evening was at the House of Blues for Risque Soiree. It opened with an act from Minneapolis that had Cadillac Kolstad playing while Tomahawk Tassels danced. Then came the Master of Ceremonies Johnny Rock from New Orleans. The performers included the amazing Pearl Lux from Austin, Madame Mystere of New Orleans, Virginia D'Vine of Toronto, Sammich the Tramp from St. Louis who was the only variety act and was amazing. Rosie 151 of New York, Vivian Velvet of Chicago who gave all new meaning to saluting America, Bazuka Joe of Chicago's Stage Door Johnnie's had an amazing use of towels down to his wash cloth. Kiss Me Kate of San Francisco, Lydia DeCarllo of Vancouver who did an amazing fan dance. New Orleans Burlesque Legend Wild Cherry wowed her audience, Red Snapper of LA, the amazing Ray Gunn of Chicago, also of Stage Door Johnnies did a Matrix Routine that did indeed defy gravity. Charlotte Treuse of Portland did a beautifully classic routine followed by Shanghai Pearl of Seattle who never ceases to amaze. Then came out the heavy hitters! Satan's Angel, Queen of the Fire Tassels, came out with her signature act and the crowd went crazy as the lights dimmed and her flaming tatas twirled before the lights came back up with her flowing robe like wings wrapped around her. The headliner of the show was Catherine D'lish, who has won over 30 titles, came out in an amazing corset covered in feathers with a tail that made her look like a peacock with it's teal color and length. As the corset and tail came off she replaced them with two amazing fans that were absolutely breathe taking. Her skill and grace with fans are unmatched and to see someone using fans twice their height is absolutely mesmerizing. Sadly I could not get as many photos at HOB (only 348) due to my being short and it being insanely crowded. Always good for the performers and the promoter, not so much if you're holding a camera and can't see, lol. I hope that you do enjoy the ones I did get to take!
Sadly I did not get to see the main event which is the Queen of Burlesque competition on Saturday night at Harrah's Casino. All the performers do their routines with a live band just like they used to back in the day. It's a very unique experience and I am very sorry to have missed it this year. The competitors included some of the best burlesque performers in the country, many who have also competed for Miss Exotic World/Reigning Queen of Burlesque at The Burlesque Hall of Fame. The Mistress of Ceremonies was the amazing Kitten on the Keys. Coco Electric from Austin was crowned The Queen of Burlesque with Renea'le Roux from Las Vegas receiving first runner up and Lola Van Ella of St. Louis received second runner up. Other performers hoping for the crown included: Ruby Joule of Austin, Amber Ray of New York, Evie Lovelle of LA, Indigo Blue of Seattle, Catherine D'lish of Seattle and Ginger Valentine of Dallas. There were also special non competition performances by Athena and Dante the Magician, both from New Orleans.
I hope that there will be many more years of the New Orleans Burlesque Festival as this is an amazing event and truly captures the essence of Classic Burlesque!