Colorado gets a visit from the Queen.

•07/07/2011 • Leave a Comment

Colorado Burlesque Festival 2011 poster

The 2011 Colorado Burlesque Festival kicks off tonight and runs through this weekend. The headliners and performers are the crème de la crème of neo burlesque, featuring the Pacific Northwest’s charms with our very own Miss Indigo Blue (Seattle), Evilyn Sin Claire (Seattle), and Baby Le’Strange (Portland).

Speaking of Miss Indigo Blue, she may be royalty but she’s still a ham. The Reigning Queen has issued the first in a series of sovereign-like edicts that she’ll be imparting to her subjects over the next year. Check out the inaugural message, filmed by Burlesque Seattle Press contributing writer/photographer Paul O’Connell (and quite memorably guest starring Paris Original, The Luminous Pariah, and Reagan Pussyfoot):

***also…check out Miss Indigo Blue’s blog, Love and Tassels, in the sidebar at right.***

Stripped Screw and their Magic Kingdom.

•07/04/2011 • Leave a Comment

Stripped Screw in Disney After Dark (POC Photo)

- Written by Madeline Rider (Contributor, Seattle)/ Photos by POC

It was bittersweet last weekend as Stripped Screw Burlesque bid farewell to founding member and Burlesque Hall of Fame competitor Randi Rascal and the Capitol Hill-ebrity Wiggy Stardust. As Jessica noted in her preview of the troupe’s latest run Disney After Dark, the girls welcome two of Seattle’s burgeoning talents Kutie LaBootie and Kylie Kyote in Randi and Wiggy’s stead. In addition to these two primo newbies, special guest stars Bella Bijioux, Trojan and Paris Original as well as Sir Richard Longfellow contributed to the Stripped Screw’s naughty spin on childhood classics.

Sir Richard Longfellow in Disney After Dark (POC Photo)

In an attempt to create continuity between acts, this emcee-less troupe (save the brief voice-overs emanating from the sound booth), schooled Sir Richard Longfellow in what it takes to be a Disney diva. At times an ambitious endeavor, Sir Richard’s disrobing, or should I say “re-robing”, certainly contributed a comedic flare to the tight transitions between acts. Paris Original broke free from his role as pick-up artist for an en pointe satire of the traditional prince-seeking common in Disney’s mid-century fairy tale animations.

Paris Original (POC Photo)

Without exception, the evening’s highlight performance came from another classically trained dancer- Violet Tendencies. Her duet with Trojan Original, as the princess who simply wouldn’t wake, provided the audience an absolutely superb example of neo-burlesque, combining beautiful movement with some of the raunchiest undertones I’ve seen in act. In addition to the subtly of on-stage perversion, Violet’s choice in music, neither heavy-handed nor irrelevant, maximized the emotional qualities of her number. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for her future creative endeavors as I’m certain good things are to come.

Violet Tendencies and Trojan Original (POC Photo)

Violet and fellow Stripped Screw troupe member Minetta Lane will be producing their first show as Valkyrie Productions on July 15th and the 22nd at the Rendezvous. Sideshow Sirens: A Valkyrie Peepshow will feature Minetta Lane, Fannie Beaverhausen, La Petite Morte, Kutie LaBootie, Kylie Koyote, Tin Pan Sally & her paramour The Shanghai Pearl, Trojan Original and Seraphina, with Candy Apples, Laela Lovechild and special guests Mercury Troy and Iva Handfull on July 22nd.

Purchase your tickets ($15 adv/$18 dos) at Brown Paper Tickets HERE.

Exotic World and The Burlesque Revival on the big screen. Cupcakes & Apple Pie in Seattle.

•07/01/2011 • 1 Comment

Be a part of history- 10 days left!

Everyone who attended the Burlesque Hall of Fame 2011 came away with a very important film fixation: Exotic World and the Burlesque Revival. Anyone who has made the pilgrimage to the annual Vegas gathering ever can attest to the power of the museum as a tool to not only preserve history, but to make it: Dixie Evans and before her, Jennie Lee, threw the doors wide open for legions of performers to follow in their footsteps, and find each other.

This movie is important to the international burlesque community in so many ways, and only 10 days remain in the campaign to help fund the project’s finishing costs (mastering, archival footage, music licensing, and color correction). Read more about the film HERE- and please, for the love of all that is dazzling, donate!

Check out the crowd reactions to last month’s sneak peek in Vegas:

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Happening this weekend:

THE ACADEMY OF BURLESQUE AND MISS INDIGO BLUE INVITE YOU TO:
A Celebratory Reception for the newly crowned Reigning Queen of Burlesque, Miss Indigo Blue, and for those from Seattle who performed this year at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend.

Seattle-based international burlesque sensation Miss Indigo Blue, “The Twirly Girl,” has been crowned the Reigning Queen of Burlesque at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Reunion and Pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada. The newly named Queen, officially “Miss Exotic World 2011″ took home a tiara and a 3-foot tall trophy for her win, and a second trophy for the “Most Classic” award. In addition to Miss Indigo Blue’s win, five other Burlesque performers from Seattle performed at the event. Lily Verlaine won 2nd Runner Up, and Randi Rascal and Iva Handfull both competed in the Best Debut category. Inga Ingenue and Waxie Moon were also featured in the Thursday Night “Innovators” Showcase.

This reception honors of all of Seattle’s illustrious ecdysiasts that performed at BHoF, and will be held this Saturday July 2, from 2-5 pm at The Academy of Burlesque’s home in the West Hall of the Oddfellows Bldg at 915 E Pine St. The reception is free, but donations for Exotic World: The Movie *AND* The Burlesque Hall of Fame will be gratefully accepted.

The Tin Table will open early for the event, and celebratory cupcakes wil be provided in West Hall while DJ Status Apparatus spins hot tunes. During the event, two Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend slideshows will be displayed by Academy Alumni Paul O’Connell and Ruby Whiines. Also, there will be a press photo op, as well as opportunities for attendees have pictures taken with the Queen and her Trophy and with the other BHoF performers. This will also be the International Premiere of “The Queen’s Edict”, the first of 12 monthly videos that Indigo Blue will present as Reigning Queen of Burlesque. Accurate Facebook RSVP’s are requested to ensure sufficient cupcakes.

Details:
Date: Saturday, July 2
Times: 2-5pm
Place: West Hall, Oddfellows Bldg, 915 E Pine St.
Cost: Free, but RSVP here: HERE
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible.

Miss Indigo Blue at BHOF 2011 (Photo by POC)

After the reception, why not hang around the Hill, return to West Hall, and check out DeLaRue Presents: Freedom Fantasia

Freedom Fantasia: this weekend at West Hall.

Seattle burlesque about town, in London, and in “action”.

•06/28/2011 • Leave a Comment

Rainbow Fletcher & Waxie Moon interview each other in the July issue of City Arts (Photo by Andrew Waits)

Hot on the heels of DANCE BELT’s performance at Pride this weekend, Waxie Moon is featured in the July issue of City Arts, our city’s go-to guide for all things arts related. Waxie and Rainbow Fletcher (choreographer and dance director of the Can Can Castaways) interview each other, chatting about contemporary dance and their individual roles and motivations. The photos by Andrew Waits are spectacular, check out the feature HERE.

Yesterday’s Seattle Times also featured a roundup of Pride photos, including these two of Tempting Tarts Burlesque. Bare skin peeping out from a loosely tied bunch of balloons on a sunny street isn’t something we’re treated to every day (unfortunately). Check out the rest of the Pride photos HERE and the Tarts shots below:

Tempting Tarts Burlesque in the Pride Parade, featured in the Seattle Times by photographer Ellen M. Banner

Tempting Tarts Burlesque in the Pride Parade, featured in the Seattle Times by photographer Ellen M. Banner

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This week Sinner Saint Burlesque continues with new run VERSUS. Last week’s show was standing room only, and with good reason. If you haven’t been down to Noc Noc to see these girls, you’re missing out. Their imaginations run wild on a regular basis with inventive themes like this:

Our world is steeped with conflict. The injustices of reality have been mirrored in both mythological lore and comics of today. Sinner Saint Burlesque presents Versus, running every Thursday until August 11.

Watch our valiant vixens sacrifice their own safety in service of civilians. These superwomen will attempt to use their provocative powers to protect the public from nefarious nemeses and vulgar villains. Will the wicked win in their wayward world domination and capture you with their cunning cruelty? Or will the gallant gals foil evil genius fiends in titillating triumph? You decide who to route for: the maleficent mistresses, or the crime fighting conquerors.

See our stars Evilyn Sin Claire, Jesse Belle Jones, Lady Tatas, Polly Wood, & Doña Dei Cuori seduce you with our superheroes and villains as we explore the conflict between amorphous animated characters, feisty freedom fighters and mischievous interminable idols.

We have a rotating cast of AMAZING guest hosts:

June 30 – Sir Eddie Van Glam
July 7 – Sir Eddie Van Glam
July 14 – Sir Eddie Van Glam
July 21 – The Reigning Queen of Burlesque, MISS INDIGO BLUE!!!
July 28 – EmpeROAR FABULOUS
August 4 – The Reigning Queen of Burlesque, MISS INDIGO BLUE!!!
August 11 – Nicole Lucas!!!

Door at 9pm, Show at 9:30pm, Tickets $15

For more information or to reserve seats contact us at SinnerSaintBurlesque@gmail.com

Sinner Saint Burlesque (photo by Kook Teflon)

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And last, on the larger world stage, Sinner Saint’s good friend and photographer Greg Holloway is headed back to London this week on another diplomatic burlesque arts mission: this time he will also bring boylesque to London’s Brickhouse with another run of Electric Burlesque. (Sinner Saint joined him for the last residency at the Shoreditch supperclub). Throughout the month of July Electric Burlesque returns, a burlesque show drawing inspiration from Greg’s recent photography project, also on display at the venue.

The Luminous Pariah will be performing his gripping ‘White Power’ act, described as a “powerful and moving piece that explores the challenging subject of bullying and hate crimes.” Paris Original, Sassy Delure, and belly dancer Ophelia Moore will also perform at the month long residency.

Electric Burlesque 2

A modern history: Kitten LaRue on The Atomic Bombshells, Freedom Fantasia…and the future.

•06/24/2011 • 2 Comments

Kitten LaRue (photo by Bobby Miller)

Kitten LaRue is like the Patti Smith of Seattle burlesque. She’s an independent creative force and a woman of multiple pioneering talents. Many of these cross into other art forms: Kitten is a choreographer, musician (in the bands The Intelligence and Puberty), and event promoter (some may recall drag/burlesque/punk dance night Trainwreck, the brainchild of Kitten and Lars Finberg). Most recently Kitten has added artist management and booking agent to her résumé. But we’ll get to that in a moment. Her biggest accomplishment- the one for which she is best known- is of course, Kitten LaRue the performer and Producer/Artistic Director of burlesque supertroupe The Atomic Bombshells.

Like many, Kitten’s before-she-was-Kitten story involves a lifelong love affair with dance- ballet, tap, jazz, as well as a stint with the “Dixie Darlings”, the University of Southern Mississippi’s drill team. (“Your typical small town dance background,” she calls it). After college she moved back to her home state of Louisiana, where the burlesque revival was already taking shape. It was there that she came across the famous Shim Sham Revue. “New Orleans has a long history of burlesque,” Kitten explained. “And they were really doing it right…very classic, and with a ten piece jazz band.” When Shim Sham held auditions, she went- and with her dance background plus a passion for glamorous MGM musicals imparted from her grandmother, Kitten the burlesque performer was born.

She performed with Shim Sham from 2001 to 2003, alongside Fanny N. Flames, future co-founder of The Atomic Bombshells. Kitten credits her time as a Shim Shamette, as well as the timeless vision of creators Ronnie Magri (band leader, musical director), Nina Bozak (casting, choreography) and Carl Walker (director) with setting the tone for both the long-running Shim Sham and her future Bombshell DNA. “They were re-creating burlesque in a very authentic way,” she said of the experience. New Orleans legends Kitty West and Wild Cherry were brought in to workshop with the dancers, teaching them bump and grinds, finely nuanced hand gestures, and other tricks of the trade. It was quite an education.

“In some ways, this set the stage and really allowed me to dream big for The Bombshells,” she explained. Fanny and Kitten, remaining Shim Shamettes until the club was sold in 2003, eventually wound up in Seattle where the classic burlesque niche had yet to be filled. The pair talked their way into a performance at The Showbox before they had even assembled a cast or show. But they did have a strong name and clear concept- The Atomic Bombshells.

Within a month they held auditions and worked up choreography and costumes for their first show ever, opening for Dita Von Teese. The five original members (Kitten, Indigo Blue, Fanny N. Flames, Lily Verlaine, and Honey D. Luxe) were a sensation. Within two months they were handpicked for a 30 city tour sponsored by Camel, who lavished the girls with a tour bus and hotel rooms. Of the windfall opportunity for such a young troupe, Kitten says “That doesn’t happen now. You have to really be on top of your production, your management, everything, all the time.” And the rest is history. The Atomic Bombshells returned to Seattle, paying their dues and paving the way for our own burlesque revival. Ivy St. Spectre, Ruby Mimosa, and Inga Ingénue (Miss Viva Las Vegas) have since joined the troupe, but as Artistic Director Kitten has stuck to her original vision- creating grandiose, thematic shows that appeal to a huge audience. The Atomic Bombshells have launched hundreds of fledgling burlesque careers in the process.

Of the larger circuit, Kitten keeps a relatively low profile. “That’s never been the most important aspect of burlesque for me,” she says. “The most interesting part of this work for me is making this entity of a show, directing this amazing group of people, and seeing the reaction that it brings. It’s not so much a personal thing.” Kitten keeps life in perspective by dedicating the same energy to all her endeavors. In 2009, she met Ben DeLaCreme and was so wowed that she immediately asked him to guest star in J’Adore! and later, host and guest star for the troupe’s annual shows in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

As one of Seattle’s top solo performers (not to mention a wizard of headpiece and prop-making), Ben’s burlesque and drag are well known through Homo for the Holidays and Terminally Delightful. With two over the top stage personas between them, it was only a matter of time until Kitten and Ben began dreaming up fantasy revues that demanded to be realized. The first flirtation was Trainwreck‘s beautiful chaos; the second will be Freedom Fantasia, the inaugural event for newly christened DeLaRue Presents.

Kitten is guarded about what the pair has in store, but does say that Freedom Fantasia will be an annual Fourth of July offering for those that might feel marginalized or disenfranchised from the usual red white and blue hot-dogging. Reclaiming patriotism has never seemed so “muey eleganza” (as the show’s press release says). And as far as Kitten and Ben are concerned, two hairsprayed heads are better than one.

Here are the details, and a ticket link is RIGHT HERE

WHAT: “Freedom Fantasia”: A liberty encrusted, justice soaked, apple pie scented pageant of patriotism!
STARRING: Ben DeLaCreme, Kitten LaRue, The Cherdonna and Lou Show, Lucky Penny, Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales, Jim Kent, and Markeith Wiley
COSTUMES: J.Von Stratton Designs
WHEN: July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, 9pm
WHERE: West Hall at the Oddfellows Building, 915 Pine St., Seattle, WA

Always one to have at least a dozen plates spinning at once, Kitten the entrepreneur is also now an artist advocate in the form of The LaRue Group. Artist management and booking, quite common in music, are not so available in the worlds of burlesque, dance, and drag. Kitten brings years of expertise in touring and managing The Atomic Bombshells to good use with her latest endeavor.

Says Ms. LaRue:

My goal for The LaRue Group is to use my years of experience booking and managing to have a production, booking, and management company that is essentially a one-stop-shop destination for clients to find the creme-de-la-creme of Seattle talent in all its many facets: burlesque, cabaret, dance, drag, etc…

As of now I am representing The Atomic Bombshells, Dance Belt, The Cherdonna and Lou Show, and Ben DeLaCreme, and will be looking to add more talent to my roster in the fall.

Info and Inquiries at TheLaRueGroup@gmail.com

Ben DeLaCreme in J'Adore! (photo by Chris Blakeley)

Freedom Fantasia is the first event for DeLaRue Presents.

Highlights of Rock ‘n Roll: An Academy of Burlesque Alumni Spectacular (June 18 @ West Hall).

•06/22/2011 • Leave a Comment

Lila Dread & Sir Eddie Van Glam in Rock'N'Roll: An Academy of Burlesque Alumni Spectacular

- Written and photographed by Chris Blakeley, Contributing Writer/Photographer (Seattle)

For all the grandeur that’s available in the burlesque scene, I’m grateful for the smaller shows. And for Seattle’s many strong troupes, I love a show that serves as a sampler of performers- both veterans and newcomers alike. Which is a roundabout way to explain why I’m really happy to add the Academy of Burlesque’s Alumni showcases to my roster of semi-regular shows.

I should also explain that I’ve been shooting the Academy’s 101 recitals since 2007, where I get to see some really bizarre takes on burlesque by newcomers to the scene not so well versed on the standard tropes. It’s seeing boxers, balloons and the occasional act that I simply can’t describe, and the occasional odd music choice (Massive Attack, anyone?) that keeps me excited. But it can also be frustrating to know that I may not see some of that talent again. (Which is another long way to give another reason why I am that happy to add the Alumni shows etc., etc.)

I went to West Hall on Friday night for a night of rock and roll (or, as the genuinely ethnic host Flirty Sanchez put it in her native tongue, “rrrock y rrroll”) and was not disappointed. The audience was treated to fan dances, greased lightning, southern belles gone to seed, cookery, a biohazard addict and one very naughty teacher. And if that wasn’t enough we had Iva Handfull, fresh from her debut at the Burlesque Hall of Fame, performing a modified version of her Firestarter fan dance.

The standout acts of the evening really demonstrated the breadth of styles that the Academy embraces. The first featured Donatella MeLies in silver body paint and garbage bags as… what, exactly? A spirit of garbage? Recycling gone wrong? Does it really matter except that it was unlike anything I’ve seen in recent years. She really owned the stage and brought such flow to her act that I was captivated. The other standout act was Piston Chambers, featuring a washed-up drummer from a hair band from the 1980s (disclaimer, I helped write and perform her voice-over narration) that included gratuitous spandex, drum solos and creative use of cardboard.

Yes, we have amazing talent. Yes, it’s great to go to the Triple Door to take in the spectacle. But do yourself a favor and check out the Alumni of an evening. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Mitzy Sixx

Iva Handfull in a reprise of "Firestarter".

Cute girl in a tube top? The lovely Atlanta Summer.

Piston Chambers- there will be spandex.

Laela Lovechild

Flirty Sanchez...flossing.

Best use of silver body paint: Donatella MeLies

** For more of Chris Blakeley’s photography, please follow the link on the sidebar, at right.**

A cupcake and cocktail reception celebrating Seattle’s Burlesque Hall of Famers.

•06/17/2011 • 1 Comment

A Reception

Seattle is one of the most influential and talent-rich burlesque meccas in the country. In the world, truthfully. How did it grow into such a hotbed of performance? For one thing, we have Miss Indigo Blue. The newly crowned Miss Exotic World has been a performer, educator, mentor, historian, business woman, DIY-er, and all around glamour puss for twenty years now. She’s like the patron saint of Seattle burlesque. With her new title, now she’s on display for the entire world to be proud of the way that we are every day.

And she’s not alone in playing a pivotal role in Seattle’s incredible scene. She’s flanked by the likes of other innovators such as The Swedish Housewife (producer of this year’s Titans of Tease Showcase, she’s been developing the night for 7 years, taking only last year off)- a brilliant producer, historian, and performer focused on artists and honoring true creativity; Lily Verlaine- winner of 2nd Runner Up Miss Exotic World, also a producer and brilliant performer- and Kitten LaRue, who did not appear at BHOF but has had a huge influence as a founding member of The Atomic Bombshells, a troupe featuring both Indigo and Lily. Many other early neo and classic performers helped to ignite a movement here- too many to mention in fact.

Then there are the venues. We have West Hall (current home to students of the Academy of Burlesque), boutique cabarets like the Jewelbox (imperative for launching new acts) and The Pink Door. There’s medium size stages such as Noc Noc housing wildly successful resident troupe Sinner Saint Burlesque, and at the high end of the spectrum are grand scale theaters such as the opulent Triple Door and Columbia City Theatre housing larger productions.

Miss Indigo Blue also credits the audiences, growing up with our family of groundbreaking performers in the last twenty years, for making Seattle the burlesque hothouse that it is. We have an intelligent, passionate fan base and some of the best performers in the world. Waxie Moon has not one but two films featuring his work, and Inga Ingénue recently won the Miss Viva Las Vegas title. Our sister cities of Portland and Olympia are making waves, and BurlyCon is growing bigger every year. We even have our own dedicated news blog (that’s right, I’m talking about BSP). How did Seattle grow into the burlesque mecca that it is? We have every element of a fully functional and beautiful community firing on all cylinders.

To that end, Miss Indigo Blue and The Academy of Burlesque are throwing an open reception on July 2 to celebrate the Burlesque Hall of Fame’s Seattle performers. Cupcakes and cocktails will flow, a BHOF slideshow will be shown, and donations to the Burlesque Hall of Fame and the Exotic World & The Burlesque Revival film will be accepted. “It’s everything you need to know about what is fueling the passion of modern day burlesque,” The Swedish Housewife says of the film. When asked how she feels about Seattle’s stellar showing at BHOF this year, she simply stated “It’s about time.”

And now, for what went down in Vegas.

In addition to all the amazing photos popping up online, there’s a ton of video making the rounds- primarily by one Bruce McIntosh of Wild Dog Road Photography. You can see his comprehensive BHOF youtube collection HERE and HERE; below is Bruce’s video from all of our beloved Northwestern competitors, including the title winning performance from Seattle’s burlesque patron saint- Miss Indigo Blue.

Saturday’s “21st Annual Tournament of Tease” competition was held Saturday, June 4 at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas:

INDIGO BLUE (Seattle, Winner of Reigning Queen of Burlesque: Miss Exotic World)

LILY VERLAINE (Seattle, Winner of 2nd Runner Up: Miss Exotic World)

IVA HANDFULL (Seattle, Nominated for Best Debut)

RANDI RASCAL (Seattle, Nominated for Best Debut)

CHARLOTTE TREUSE (Portland, Nominated for Best Debut)

ANGELIQUE DeVIL(Portland, Nominated for Best Debut)

Here is video of the Seattle and Portland performers who were chosen for the Burlesque Hall of Fame’s Thursday night “Movers, Shakers, & Innovators” showcase:

WAXIE MOON (Seattle)

INGA INGENUE (Seattle)

NINA NIGHTSHADE (Portland)

Congrats to all the performers that were a part of BHOF 2011 from far and wide! See you July 2 at the reception!

 
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