Huzzah!! A success!! A milestone for Vancouver’s community and Burlesque at large. I’m happy to report that Vancouver has celebrated its 7th annual Burlesque festival. Seven years that have seen Burlesque grow and flourish and celebrated in our little mountain city- no small feat really considering that while we remain a Burlesque capital, with creativity and innovation constantly reaching and improving, other cities complain of low pay rates, being unable to sell out a bar show for their festival, and smaller talent pools. Its a very inspiring thing to be a part of. To see the talent and joy and endless unpaid work, paying off as my friends and peers performed their hearts out in a theatre that they deserved to play in. The greatest thing I got to see this weekend, what made the stress of helping and hoping this festival would pan out, were my friends happy.
This year’s festival saw everyone pulling out all the stops! Everyone brought their A game and I was very proud of everyone who performed! One of the major changes this year were the 2 night showcase at the Vogue Theatre. Wow-Wa-Wee-Wow, what a venue!! The board this year were reluctant to still offer the Thursday as a night for productions as we were concerned about making sure the larger venue would sell out but man oh man am I ever glad that we kept the production night!
For those unfamiliar with how our festival used to work, it had more of a fringe festival feel with groups or producers creating 1 hour shows specifically for the festival. We switched things up this year and had the two nights at the Vogue as more of a showcase- it seemed like the best way to have more opportunities for performers to play at such a rad venue. After some concern from the community we decided to keep the Thursday night as a vehicle for productions still and I have to say that I feel the production night is such an important opportunity for growth and innovation that there is no way I would ever recommend it going anywhere!! I love not knowing what am I going to see and loved the different styles and themes that each group offered.
Starting off the night were Pandora and the Locksmiths with The Night Owl Revue, a tribute to scintillating soul music. Things I loved about this production were Carole Brunette’s Foxy Lady; Holy Tail Spin!! I had never seen that one before and I definitely appreciated it!
For me, the best number of the entire night came from Burgundy Brixx as she played a very sexy she-devil What an absolute professional- she is a magician of striptease!
We also saw Nicky Ninedoors with her new boa. She humped it. I liked it.
Miss Fitt was also a standout of this production. She got kindof weird on me with her psychedelic adventure involving mushrooms and tye dye silk fans and I REALLY liked that. The best part of her performances all evening twas her joy- which was absolutely infectious. It was joyful for me to watch and in my opinion were the best performances of her career to date.
It was a polished performance of perfection from The Night Owl Revue (I would expect nothing less)
The second production of the night came from local producer, performer and board member, Blue Morris. I originally voted against this production because I thought it had already been seen too many times in Vancouver this year but I definitely ate my words. The fact that this team of talented tempters and temptresses already had their dry runs (so to speak) meant that this was a very very strong and impressive show. I have spent the last 5 years of my life, living, eating, watching, and performing Burlesque with many of the cast members of this production and I had the very succinct feeling that I was witnessing many of these performers in their prime. This show was flawless in my mind and special shout outs to Melody Mangler, Violet Femme, Calamity Kate for coming so far and being so damn awesome.
I also definitely need to mention Connie Cahoots as being a stellar host! I absolutely loved her characters and skits which really helped the production feel like a production.
Also deserving mention twas Via Rose- Her Blackbird fan dance was absolute perfection and in my mind, her greatest performance yet.
I also wanted to send out a Hell Ya to Rebel Valentine, who proved she is able to master any genre of Burlesque with her solo that was quite abit prettier than her usual Neo-Bad Assery.
The night finished off with Bender in Bermuda, the love child between the Surf Messiahs and the collective of Maggie Pie, Sparkle Plenty and Madam Manic. I loved this production thanks to its imaginative group numbers, stunning costuming and swell music! It was a great way to end the evening. The theme worked really well and felt super cohesive. SO FUN!
Stand outs for me included EVERY GROUP NUMBER!! Something about groups on a big stage…. drool… They were so tight and just so we all know- dancing alcohol is my favourite thing ever. The End!
I also really loved Sister Madly’s solo which for me, was one of the stand outs of the entire night. Glitter in the stocking, acrobatics onto her chair and the helium baloons floating around created an absolute magical effect and I was over the moon for this number!!
I also love love LOVED the crab number from Voodoo Pixie and Coco Cinders. This duo have some real magic going on together- they are well polished and have the comedy and cute down pat! They could be a variety show all on their own. BE MY SCREEN SAVER!!!
All in all it was a great night out and everyone really brought it! It was a great way to kick off the festival and I honestly cannot wait to see what productions will make it in next year. All photos were taken by Voodoo Bill’s Kustom Photography. Check out his stuff HERE- he’s great!!!