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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Interview with Don Spiro – Acclaimed Burlesque Photographer

Posted on February 16th, 2013

If you know and love Burlesque, chances are you know and love Don Spiro and his beautiful images. In an interview with Tink, Don recounts the beginnings of his career, how he shoots different events and performers and gives his take on the new generation of performers hitting the stage. If you’re a member of flickr you can log in, type his name and view his images – or you can check out his personal site.

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Words with… Dustin Wax

Posted on August 22nd, 2012

Dustin Wax in the BHoF Museum

 

Great interview with Dustin Wax, Executive Director of the Burlesque Hall of Fame, as he discusses the new archival and restoration processes currently happening at the Museum as well as many of their other projects.

Please help support their funding drive on IndieGoGo to raise the necessary funds to ensure their move from the old space to the new one and the proper care of all the items being moved will be taken care of. This a great part of our cultural history.

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Check out the Wiggle in These Walks

Posted on June 29th, 2012

I’ve been working hard to try and make sure that all of my movements look intentional and I’m a big fan of those with a signature strut. Check out these 3 videos of walks and wiggles I’ve been inspired by!

The Angie Pontani Prance

Dirty and Divine!

Inga In Action

Category: April O'Peel's Bloglesque, Uncategorized

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VIBF-Friday by Guest Blogger Madame Mae I

Posted on May 14th, 2012

The Vogue Theatre was buzzing with excitement from the very beginning. The diversity in the line-up was what had me most excited, and I couldn’t wait to see some of my favourite comedic, classic, and ‘alternative’ performers on stage.

It was really hard to pick out my favourites from the night since every performance had something unique and exciting to offer. So I didn’t. I wrote about them all 

But before I start reviewing the acts, I need to mention somebody who made the night for me. Somebody who held everything together, captured the audience and never let them go, and broke out her own brand of sass for everybody to see. That somebody is Crystal Precious. Holy fuck, girl! That was some kick-ass hosting. I loved the costume changes, the strip-hop opening, and how you seamlessly moved the audience from one act to the next. Amazing. Simply amazing.

The night started with a bang with Villainy Loveless, who made the costume & bondage festishist in me very happy with her Cop act. In true badass fashion, when she lost a pastie she simply ripped the other one off and continued her act unapologetically.

Jenny Magenta was probably the scariest and funniest bridezilla I have ever seen. And speaking of terrifying and hilarious, Sparkle Plenty performed one of the best acts I’ve seen from her in the comedic act “Fear of Clowns”.
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Blue Morris had the female audience members squealing in delight with his guitar act and exacted one of the most creative male stocking peels that I have seen. Luciterra Fusion Bellydance had the audience in awe with their performance, which blended various styles of dance together in a synchronized and extremely well executed choreography.

The first act closed with Cherry on Top and Lola Frost performing their duet, Egyptian Nights, which they are competing with at BHOF. I have seen this act before, and I loved it then, but these ladies NAILED IT on the Vogue stage. The act is innovative, creative, and captivating. I loved the choreography and dance elements, and the energy of these two women together on stage is awe-inspiring. Plus, there really is something to be said for two ladies stripping each other’s clothes off. Hot!

Voracious V opened the second act with Naughty Geisha, and performed it better than I have ever seen! Spooksy DeLune was next with a sexy and dark act titled “Dirt”. From the Morticia-style dress to the gutting of a pumpkin on stage, it was a thrill to watch.

Nicky Ninedoors was up next with “Nude”. She sang live, and with the amazing acoustics of the Vogue and her natural talent, her voice was hauntingly beautiful. Paired with those gorgeous fans, it was certainly an act that stood out.

Screaming Chicken’s “East Van Dreams” was a thrill to watch. I need to take a moment to commend them for their clean and well-executed choreography. With a group that large, it’s a hard thing to accomplish, and they managed to achieve it with a sense of sparkly glamour and their own brand of SC fun. Great job, guys!

Cherry Typhoon warmed my heart when she performed. This woman is so adorable and fun to watch. Her face shines with joy and happiness, and it is obvious that she is having the time of her life on stage. The act from start to finish was fun and entertaining.

Then came the burlesque legend, Tiffany Carter, with her Cat act. Ummm….YES! The first thing I saw when she got on stage was that the whiskers on her cat mask lit up – amazing. I loved the double layer of gloves and how she had zippers to remove the top layer. Then, of course, we were able to witness her legendary negligee work, which was, of course, amazing. And then it finished off with pasties that lit up just like the whiskers on her cat mask. Sigh! I love watching legends perform, and so did the Vogue audience. Standing ovation for a deserving legend!

Raven Virginia and Violet Rhapsody performed a star trek/fight scene/go-go girls act titled “Star Trek Booblesque” that was so fun and random that you couldn’t help but love it.

Melody Mangler performed “Waaah Wow!” which showcased her inventive costuming, excellent musicality, and sheer stage presence. This woman is one of those performers that could stand on stage and do nothing and it would still capture the attention of each and every audience member and have them at the edge of their seats.

April O’Peel, my favourite comedic performer in Vancouver, performed her Chicken act. The perfect combination of comedic timing, characterization, classic striptease, and excellent musicality had the audience in the palm of her hand. From start to finish, I loved every moment of this act.

Jesse Belle Jones’ “Hobo Jones” stood out as one of my favourite acts of the night. It was inventive (newspaper fans!) and theatrical. The choreography was at a professional level, and I enjoyed that she brought so many dance elements into the act. It was unique and different, and very well received.

The night finished off with a performance by the “No-pantser Romancer”, Jett Adore, with his act “The Peacock”. I am completely in love with this act. It was beautiful and creative, with the music complimenting each movement he made perfectly. To be honest, I forgot I had to review the act when I was watching so I wasn’t able to make many notes, but I do think I heard a lot of panties hitting the floor during his performance.

After the curtain call and the show ended, I was left with a giant smile on my face. I felt so proud of the VIBF Board, the volunteers, and the performers (both locally and internationally) who made the Friday night showcase such a success. Amazing work, guys!

-Madame Mae I
www.yesyoumae.com

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VIBF- Thursday Night

Posted on May 13th, 2012

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!!!

 

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Welcome to Burlesque Stars!

Posted on May 10th, 2012

Greetings Everyone and Welcome to BurlesqueStars!

I’m writing this from beautiful Vancouver, which I like to call “VanGroovy” – and which certainly was that this past weekend with the 7th annual Vancouver International Burlesque Festival hitting town.

This festival is quite meaningful to us as when we launched StripCHEEZ two years ago, it was during the same event. We received such gracious and enthusiastic support from everyone at the festival – Producers, Performers, Photographers and the audience that it gave us great momentum to continue on to Toronto, New Orleans, New York and BurlyCon later that year.

While participating in those events, we asked a lot of questions on how we could improve our service to the community. Your answers came in droves and were smart, funny and really constructive.

Cut to present day and we’ve evolved into BurlesqueStars.net, a whole new site that implements these changes and gives you a beautiful new venue within which to enjoy and use them.

Please take a tour and let us know what you think. If you’re active as a performer, producer, photographer, videographer or school, you’ll want to check out our “PRO” membership. It gives you a ton of promotional and organizational tools that will help manage and boost your career – and you can try it out for free!

You can visually customize your profile page to reflect your fabulousness – and integrate it to your facebook and twitter accounts so everyone can see what you’re up to. You can create events that are immediately posted on facebook, but also super easy to search and find on B-Stars with the keyword tags we provide for you to use. Upload photo albums (never flagged :) , show your activities in the calendar on your profile page, lock and unlock videos, list yourself or search for people you need in the “Availability Listings”, and sooo much more.

I think you’ll find it quite useful and enjoyable, so please check it out and let your friends in on it as well. We’re here to serve you and help your Burlesque Career be as fun and productive as possible.

And thanks again to all the incredible people who made the 7th Annual Vancouver International Burlesque Festival such a great success. We’re honoured and proud to be a part of this great, fun and innovative community. We’ll be posting videos from the festival in the next couple weeks, so keep your beautiful self tuned to BurlesqueStars and also make a point to say Hi if you see me at a festival – we’ll be at as many as we can this year.

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BHOF 2012 So Far!!

Posted on March 23rd, 2012

BY THE POWERS OF SCREEN SHOT I GIVE THEE.. A SNEAKITY PEEKITY!!

Best Debut:

and ME!! Totally get the feels like you already won thing :) Very Excited! Very Happy! Very Grateful!!!

Best Group:

Best Duo (duo category is back!!)

King of Boylesque:

Queen:

Thursday:

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What I Learnt From Adjudicating 1 000 000 Festival Vids

Posted on March 12th, 2012

Hey everybody, long time no blog!! I’ve been busy as fuck lately (gratefully so) with various commitments and performance opportunities. This has left me with little time for el bloggo but with lots of new lessons I’d like to share.

One of my most time consuming endeavors has been being part of the Board of Directors for the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival. WOW! I have a new appreciation for every selection committee EVER! What a crazy job trying to produce such a large scale event. I’m very lucky to have such amazing people to work with and learn from.

Our biggest task thus far has been selecting talent from over 150 applications for our 3 day festival. We also let solo applicants submit up to 2 solos for us to pick from so it came down to many many many many hours of fancy, prancy, lady watching.  My eyes seriously bled but it was all worth it!  We came up with an evaluation system that had each application scored on costume/presentation, skill/ability, and entertainment value. Using this as our guide, we able to meet our deadline and announce our fantastic lineup (check it HERE).

It was an amazing experience and opportunity for my own growth because I was able to see first hand what the experience of a selection committee looks like. I definitely learnt a few things..

1.) Video Quality Matters

We said that it didn’t, but it definitely came into play. If the lighting is so bright I can’t see your facial expressions or half of your routine  is hidden behind an audience member’s bulbous head? If the camerawork is shaky or filmed from far far far far away? How can I properly evaluate how awesome you are? I really appreciated  the videos that had been filmed in HD where I could clearly see the performer’s performance. Something about having a better quality video definitely suggested professionalism and added abit of a “wow” factor. A caution however, that it shouldn’t look like a music video. Angles and fades detract from the performance and highlight reels aren’t acceptable.

2.) Be Shiny

I’m not on the Dita level either, where I can afford a super showgirl 10 000 rhinestone encrusted anything, but there are a lot of good cheats. Plastic rhinestones or cheaper sequin fabric can do just as well. Hire a fellow performer to be ingenious for you if you aren’t costume savvy. I saw many many kimono/robes but I remember the one that had been made out of the aforementioned sequin fabric. Consider the level of costuming you have seen at other festivals and competitions. No good to lose points cuz your costume lacks. You gotta make it a costume before I will believe its a costume.

3.) Rule of Three aka You Gotta Get a Gimmick

We received so many applications but the ones that were accepted all had something in common. They were more than just a simple strip. The thing I want to emphasize the most is that the majority of our applicants were not “bad,” its just that the ones accepted were better. They felt like a total package- they had something more. Its not enough to just be a good dancer. Its not enough to just have a good costume. You need to have at least three really positive things going on. You need a gimmick. Choose from the following but keep in mind- costuming, aside from cost, is one of the easiest gimmicks you can have. All you have to do is wear it!! And then take it off…

Consider whether you have at LEAST three of the following when developing your acts. If you have more than three, chances are its not just a good act, its a GREAT act!

*Dance Ability/Strip Ability/Stage Presence (You can get by with just one of these but if you have all three?? HOT DAMN!)

*Sex Appeal

*Great Costume

*Comedy/Storyline

*Gimmick

The gimmick is a big one!! A gimmick can be several things: a giant prop, a new and unseen before peel, creative use of a classic burlesque archetype, or even a political message. It can be a magic trick, acrobatic or comedic ability! It can come down to being or doing something that people don’t usually see at a Burlesque show or even in their everyday lives! Remember, however, that gimmick is still not enough on its own.

Ok Everybody, I hope this helps!! Make sure that before you apply for a festival or a big competition that you ask yourself, “What is it that sets this act apart from any others” and spend the extra cash for a nice video and some shiny bits. Having professional anything suggests that you are a professional!  I promise its worth it.

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Tease and Tone with Michelle L’amour

Posted on December 5th, 2011

New Teaser for Tease and Tone with the fabulous Michelle
L’amour is previewing on Vimeo! Me-wow!!! :) Check it HERE

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Miss Astrid’s State of the Union

Posted on November 27th, 2011

Um. Ya. So that happened. Definitely an interesting take on many things. It is a a very long piece that touches on alot of different issues that she has-it has been published for all to read HERE. Its hard to know where to stand, I think, for many people, when there are so many different issues brought forth. After I got over my initial anger at certain parts of it, I was able to offer this as my comment:

*It’s really long
*thought it was abit tacky to denounce newbies and hobbyists in that way at Burlycon- a place full of hobbyists and newbies; maybe that was the point.
*I think she did it because she cares ALOT.
*I think she did have some valid points
*I think valid points were lost on me at points due to tone (ever heard of a compliment sandwich? jesus…)
*I AM A WEIRDO. THERE AREN’T THAT MANY WEIRDOS IN THE WORLD. I THINK THE FIRST RULE OF BEING A WEIRDO IS TO SUPPORT OTHER WEIRDOS.
*Don’t coddle weaker performers but being constructive in your criticism is so important. Just ask them to work harder, or help them, but don’t ask them to give up.
*Work hard and make sure you are not producing shit is something I definitely, definitely agree with!!
*Being open for constructive criticism= yes
*I like the idea of a professional guild or union. Something for people to aspire to and a bottom line for what pros get paid. Good luck organizing that.
*I get the concern behind the using the word pageant. Even if its not applicable to BHOF, there are general assumptions about pageants that pageant girls are judged on beauty first. Also that if you participate in them, you aren’t intelligent. THIS and THIS sort of thing supports that thinking. However, is this just another case of women hating other women? I was a small town pageant queen- and in my opinion it was a really great experience because the emphasis was more on how you can help your community and become a better and more well rounded person in general. I think the gown part was worth 50 points out of 1000. Could we either change the event to be called Burlesque Olympics? Still have competition and opportunity to see greatness rewarded! Maybe have categories? Classic, Performance Art, Comedy? Or just repurpose the word pageant into becoming the kind of thing we want to see. Like Indigo has been doing!!! YOU ARE DOING AN AWESOME JOB INDIGO!!! DON’T STOP!!!!!!!!
*Its good to see dialogue happening regardless.

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