The desert glitter has settled, and I have arrived back in Dallas intact with all of my luggage after my yearly trek to the desert for the Burlesque Hall of Fame. It's like Burning man, with glitter and feathers instead of Playa dust. Every year, on the first weekend in June, Burlesqateers from around the globe pack up their finest gowns, costumes and bathing suits and head to Las Vegas Nevada for four official days of glamour, networking, poolside shenanigans, performances, legends and memories that will last a lifetime.
The Burelsque Hall of Fame Weekender is a lot of things, none of them being dull. What is it? Well it began as a reunion in the desert in Hellendale California on a goat farm with burlesque legend, Jennie Lee. World Famous Bob tells this story better than I, I am just going to paraphrase. After the first reunion there was stripper debris EVERYWHERE! g strings, bras....you name it. Rather than returning the sexy cast offs to their owners, Jennie just began nailing the stripper bits to the wall. And thus started the first Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum. Every year the women would get together, and the Miss Exotic World Competition began, crowning the greatest stripper every year!
This was my third year to Burlesque Hall of Fame, and I wasn't even sure if I could make it this year. After a phone call from Tammi True, where she informed me that after November, she was going to retire again, and this would be her last time at BHoF, I knew I had to find a way to go. And there I was, in the desert with my burlesque family.
After I purchased my tickets and booked my flight to Vegas, I found there was an opportunity to showcase designers and their costumers poolside at the Fashion Show on Sunday after noon. I quickly gathered the photos and descriptions of all the costumes I had knew the owners would be in Vegas for BHoF and submitted a fashion show application. Days later I was notified that i was selected to show my costumes at the Fashion show! I was exstatic! Ginger Valentine, Angi B Lovely, Minxie Mimieux and Blaze the Red Rose of Texas all agreed to wear the costumes I had created for them in the fashion show. The Fashion show was a huge success. I was lucky to show my costumes alongside names like Scarlett Letter and Scarlet O'Hairdye to one of the biggest audiences of performers I had ever shown to. thank you so much to Mynx D'Meanor and the Burlesque Hall of Fame commitee for the opportunity to show off my creations. And thank you so much to my lovely clients, models, and close friends for taking time out of their day to put on their costumes instead of relaxing. It meant the world to me!
I was blown away by the first evening of performances. If I am ever dissappointed that I did not make it into the Burlesque hall of Fame as a performer, Thursday night's performers is a humbling and eye opening experience. The showcase is appropriately named Movers, shakers, and innovators. Although BHoF began with an overshadowed sadness with the tragic and unexpected loss of fellow burlesquer and BHoF innovator, and founder of the Legend's Challenge, Sparkly Devil. Sarah lost her life tragically in an accident, and she will be painfully missed. She had a huge impact on the burlesque community and was a big part of BHoF weekend. Her loss has left a huge hole in many people's lives as well as in the BHoF team. In honor of Sarah, BHoF Attendees were encouraged to wear devil horns to the Thursday night showcase where she would have performed. It was a tearful and heartwarming tribute to a firey and beauiful life force.
I also had the pleasure to meet some of the new faces of burlesque and a quickly growing movement in performance called Nerdlesque. I heard some incredible tales of nerd themed acts happening all over the world which included a Wil Weaton face merkin. I kid you not. it also included creating our own "Cards against Humanity" cards for a friend. Good times.
Friday Night's Titans of Tease showcase was phenominal! Tammi True brought down the HOUSE! These ladies have pioneered burlesque, and are redefining beauty and aging. Hosted by the incredible World Famous Bob (world's most famous granny chaser), the legends that showcased were just a once in a lifetime opportunity. to see 2 Russ Meyer girls stripping back to back (Kitten Natividad and Hadji) was simply awe inspiring. The moment also made me sad that Tura Satana is no longer with us. The evening began with Gina Bon Bon, and her latin dance moves bookended by a gaggle of Grant Philipo's finest beauhunks. Sheesh. Eye candy for sure.
Saturday Night's Tournament of Tease was rediculous and spilling over with talent. The Best debut category blew my mind. Performances by Jessabel Thunder, Laurie Hagen, and the winner of best debut, Lada Redstar, were just a few of the "What the hell just happened" kind of bar raising performances that graced the stage. the best Duet category was swept by 2012 King of Boylesque Russell Bruner and Sandria Dore, and if one trophy wasn't enough, Russell also took the best group category with his blonde ambition companions for "Two Ladies", Swing Time.
After quick intermission, which was only enough time for me to run to my room and get a big Texas Flag to hold up for Coco Lectric, the second half of the Tournament began with the King of Boylesque category. I have no idea how the judges manage to professionally judge these men. They are rediculously hot and they all came with incredible acts. I would be a failure if I did not mention the winner of Most Comedic, Mr. Gorgeous. If you have never seen Mr. Gorgeous, just click the link. He deserves the name. The 6'8" performer donned heels (because that's how you accent 6'8" of man!), a bright circus style uniform, and a perfectly pomaded hair and dazzled the audience with a balancing act on what looked like a miniature child sized chair. Only when the stage hands came to strike the chair from the stage, did it's size look normal, it was Mr. Gorgeous who dwarfed the chair entirely! The vision of him sitting in the comically sized chair was, well, very comedic.
I managed to miss Paris Original when i did not return from my flag retreival trip in time to see him. I regret the decision, but I committed to that flag. I did get to see Waxy Moon, who upon my first time seeing him grace the stage at BHof 2011, brought tears to my eyes with his grace and beauty. This year's dance was much more comedic than dramatic, as Waxy donned a HUGE tulle boa which when in the hands of Waxy, became some muppet like creature with a life of it's own, then a perfect frome from his long lean body. Finally, Ray Gunn took the stage and even though I had heard a tiny pit about this routine, the only thing I could expect was excellence, and Ray definitely delivered that. Ray Gunn won the King of boylesque catagory and wrote a very heartfelt and touching thank you after his win.
There is nothing I can say about the Queen's category except WOW! How do you judge that many heavy hitter burlesque performers? Lou Lou D'Vil, at the end of the night, was crowned Miss Exotic World, reigning Queen of Burlesque 2013. Lou Lou is no fluke, if you have ever had the pleasure of seeing her perform, she is consistently a stunning vision of beauty and and incredible pleasure to watch. Congratulations to Miss Exotic World, 2013, Lou Lou D'Vil.