BOOM BOOM BURLESQUE and THEATRE BIZARRE (Part 1 of 2 part review)
Produced by Roxi D’Lite and D’arcy Bresson
I met the 2010 Burlesque Hall of Fame’s Queen of Burlesque Roxi D’Lite the same year that she won with her giant cigar and we’ve become fast friends ever since. When the opportunity arose to visit her in her hometown, to stay with her and to perform in what was going to be 2 incredibly fun shows- I jumped at the chance.
Anyone who has met Roxi knows of her effervescent, bubbly-charm and her dedication to being a performer deserving of her Queen title. I arrived a couple days early and left a couple days after the event to be able to hang out with my friend and in between I had the pleasure of dancing in 2 of the most fun shows I’ve gotten to do this year.
Undertaking producing 2 major shows consisting of over 15 performers is a feat in itself and Roxi and D’arcy (her partner in producing and life) made sure that not only was the balance in performers backstage absolutely lovely, but the shows that were presented had a little bit of everything for everyone. Seeing friends from all over the country (and meeting new ones) is something usually only occurring in festival circumstances, which can be really hectic and often overwhelming with hundreds of performers all trying to get to know each other. Because of this unusual circumstance, we all were thrilled to get to have a bit of time to really enjoy the backstage and hang out vibe created from the crazy combination of international talent!
Arriving the day before Boom Boom was Tigger! Burlesque’s first King of Boylesque and Eric Powell, the artist behind incredible comic- The Goon (http://www.thegoon.com). Eric was along for the ride- coming to see the shows and experience Theatre Bizarre, and whether he liked it or not (of course he liked it!) be barraged by crazy kooky strippers- and he fit right in. When traveling, my favorite part is that you never know what interesting mix of artist you’ll be sitting at dinner with, and I feel super blessed to have met some crazy people, and to have cuddled next to the artists that have influenced my career over time.
The night of Boom Boom I got to fulfill a dream of performing for one of my Legends, Miss Toni Elling. The day before Boom Boom, an article in the Windsor star had provided tribute to her (http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/10/18/burlesque-legend-toni-elling-to-visit-windsor), and so the opportunity to extend Miss Toni’s legacy as a performer of color felt like an incredible honor. We all watched the video of the interview, huddled on Roxi’s couch smiling and tearing up at the beautiful moment where we see one of our incredible women in burlesque being brought back out into the light. I only wish to see more of it in our current publications….meeting and talking to these legends has the transformative ability to change your life.
For the show, the stage was low to the ground and surrounded by the audience and a huddle of performers off to stage right- bright eyed and smiling watching their peers bring their art to a unique moment in time. It’s time like these, like watching Julie Atlas Muz admire her husband, Matt Fraser charmingly host the show that you feel enveloped in a moment, hugged by the reality that this is the life you’ve happily worked so hard to create. In one moment, you see a newly blonde Midnight Martini masked and swathed in a robe and the next she’s flying high on her silks, mesmerizing the crowd with her grace up high. Roxi brought her Fetish Feline act complete with a decadent giant bowl of creamer for her to bathe in- and it was certainly decadent and delicious to watch!
There were so many lovely moments from this show, like Trixie and Monkey’s new magic act, Lola Spitfire ROCKING people’s faces off despite her broken ankle (I know right?) and Tigger and Julie’s spring time act with a dramatic twist- I tried my best to not miss a moment that was happening on that stage. Lola VanElla and Sammich provided the show with a sweetness that many burlesque shows can miss- their vaudeville performances being mini-plays for the audience to get lost in for a moment, their love story apparent and very real. Wrapping the show into a gorgeous package with Matt Fraser, the seal boy- armed with his British wit and utterly disarming personality!
After the show ends, the entire space was transformed into a dance club and many of the performers let loose, posing for photographs and generally being stared at like aliens by those who had just arrived, thinking that they were going to see the typical fare offered at their dancing establishment. It’s moments like these where I realize a showgirl’s reality is dramatically different from many peoples- and often the difference can create hilarious situations. I slept like a baby cuddled in bed next to Tigger!, and we were definitely going to need our sleep- the next day is Theatre Bizarre in Detroit, which will have us crossing borders and delving deep into the land of carnies!