Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend

Posted: June 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

The first weekend of June is Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend: a convention in Vegas featuring four nights of ginormus blowout burlesque shows, showcasing performers from all over the world (though mostly the US and Canada.)
The first night is general awesomeness. The second night is “Legends Night” where the living legends of yesteryear perform with some of the biggest names of today. The third night is the “Miss Exotic World Pageant,” a competition to be this year’s queen of burlesque. Then Sunday has a pool party (with performances) and another night of general awesome burlesqueness. On top of that there’s afterparties, a burlesque vending area and, you know, vegas.

This is, like, 18 hours of burlesque, yo. It is not for the faint of heart.

It’s also not for the strictly thrifty since I spent about a month’s rent on the whole she-bang (three month’s rent if you only count my portion.)

So was it worth it?

For me, yes. I have to keep reminding myself of that as I endeavor to work off my credit card bill, BUT yes, the experience was definitely worth it. Is it worth it for any burlesque performer? Eh….. maybe.

Here’s why it was good, in general:
There were some amazing performances and I will always treasure the fact that I saw them. A younger performer recreated one of Dixie Evan’s acts, which was actually really surprisingly Neo. It had a story that was funny and sexy and fun. It had props. It expressed a bit of the performer’s inner life. And it had been done back in the days where it was all pretty dresses and glove peels. It was awesome and really inspiring that even us neo burlesquers can claim to have roots in burlesque that go back farther than the 90s.
Shannon Doah was spectacular and she hadn’t performed in 30 years. Satan’s Angel was fabulous and I’m so glad that I got to see her live before she moved to Australia.

Julie Atlas Muse was AMAZING. The whole thing built up to her doing knee slides straight to the edge of the stage till she finally jumped out into the audience and started making out with members of the crowd. A. MAZ. ING.

Miss Tickle was mindblowing. I’d kind of seen this act at the Slipper Room before (behind a huge crowd of people) but seeing it on a big theatrical stage with actual theatre lighting was breathtaking. This video totally does not do it justice, but I will post it anyway so you have some idea of how amazing it was.

Nasty Canasta was, of course totally awesome and her act was so smart I don’t even want to tell you about it. It must be seen.

So, yeah, the performances (most of them) were top notch. And even seeing the ones that didn’t blow me away was a great learning experience and it’s always good to see what other people are doing with the medium. It was also great to see how widespread burlesque actually is. I thought they only had burlesque in a handful of major cities but there were a lot of times when they announced where someone was from and I was like “They have burlesque THERE?!” Which means that touring is that much more feasible than I thought.

Seeing the shows actually encouraged me to submit next year. The really stunning stuff inspired me and the less impressive stuff showed me that I have an outside chance of getting in. You know, if I work my ass off.

I also had a great time hanging with my roommates who were burlesque people that I was friendly with, but didn’t know too well. So it was great to get to know them better and bond. I also met some new people (mostly from SF) and got to talk to some NY people that I don’t see too often. Really I wish I had been more social, talked to more people etc. But I’m still battling my shyness. The next time I go I’ll do more of that.

Finally, I know it’s shallow, but I got some awesome stuff at the vending area, including a pair of stripper shoes once owned by Satan’s Angel for only $20. Score!

So, yeah, definitely worth the price, even though it hurt my wallet a little. I would recommend it to any burlesque lover if price wasn’t a problem. If price is a problem I would say it’s worth it IF you’re looking to make connections with other performers AND have the networking chops/courage to actually do so. Also if you submit (which you should do if you feel secure in your performance AND your costumes are high quality and covered in rhinestones. For serious, these girls aren’t fucking around. You have to bring it.) and you get in, it’s TOTALLY worth it. That’s probably what’s going to decide whether or not I go next year. (That or a big pile of money landing in my lap.)

I would also like to say that I definitely could have spent a lot less than I did. I was sharing a room with three other people so that was super cheap (and it was fun!) My tickets and flight would have been a lot cheaper if I’d booked them earlier and most of the money drain was on food (ok, and the vending area) If I’d had my druthers there would have been less $20 brunches and more $2 shrimp cocktail but I preferred to eat with the people I was with than by myself. So if any of you frugal and fabulous people are out there next time, let me know and we will feast on $4.99 buffets till we puke.

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