Denton’s Vixens of Vaudeville did fundraisers for months to afford to send the troupe to Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas. If you’ve been living under a rock- this is where the Miss Exotic World Pageant is held annually, which is *the* title to hold in burlesque. We asked the Vixens toshare their experience.
By: Divertida Devotchka (Vixens of Vaudeville Revue)
I’m pretty sure Stacey Q’s “Two of Hearts” was blaring through the 20th floor suite at the Orleans Casino and Hotel when someone ripped back the curtains to reveal blinding beams of daylight (which, mind you, seem much harsher when you’re whiskey-drunk at 7 AM at the ‘pants off dance off’ after-after-party). Everyone cheered triumphantly as if challenging the sun to interfere with our celebration, and it was at that moment that it really hit me. “Holy crap,” I thought. “I’m in Vegas at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend. My life rules.” Of course, this epiphany was rudely interrupted by hotel security informing us there were noise complaints from two floors below us. Sigh.
The party may have been cut short, but the entire weekend was brimming with similar this-is-why-I’m-glad-to-be-alive experiences. The grueling months of planning and fundraising paid off for our troupe, the Vixens of Vaudeville Revue, and to be honest, the whole journey couldn’t have been more rewarding.
The highlight of our trip was meeting the burlesque legends, listening to them reminisce, receiving their indispensable advice, and of course, seeing them shake what their mommas gave them. Although she did not perform this year, just being in the same room as Tempest Storm was something we never thought we’d be fortunate enough to experience, and Dixie Evans is such a gem. Every time she addressed the crowd it brought a huge smile to my face. We were also thrilled when Satan’s Angel won the Legend award for 2009. We had the pleasure of meeting her and she was incredibly down to earth. Seeing the legends perform and attending their Q & A session was overwhelmingly inspirational. The four of us Vixens agreed that we’d give anything to be like these extraordinarily graceful, talented women when we’re older. Vixen Crystal Pistols put it best when she said, “Guys, we should be like the Golden Girls, but we’ll do burlesque!”
Aside from the legends showcase, we also had the privilege of modeling in a pinup safari hosted by Don Spiro, Dale Rio, and Java of Java’s Bachelor Pad. We had a blast cruising through Vegas on a double-decker bus, enjoying a hearty whiskey breakfast with our new photographer friends.
And of course, the Miss Exotic World Pageant was absolutely breathtaking. Everyone was so talented that it must have been very difficult for the judges to choose the winners, but we agreed that the new Reigning Queen of Burlesque Kalani KoKonuts put on a stunning performance. We also adored Perle Noire, who we can’t wait to see again at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival in September. Some of our other favorites included performances by the Oona Tramps, Arabella Trapeze, and Foxy Tann and the Wham-Bam Thank You Ma’ams. All told, we saw over 12 hours of burlesque performances during the weekend and every act was unique. “I thought it was wonderful to see the variety of performances from classic to avant garde,” said Vixen Honey Cocoa Bordeauxx. “It just goes to show that burlesque is not just one thing, and that it has so many different elements – dance, theatre, comedy, striptease, and anything else you can think of to throw in the mix.” And don’t even get me started about the caliber of emcees who hosted the events. They were all unbelievably entertaining, but our favorites were Miss Astrid and El Vez, who had totally different personas but they had an amazing dynamic on stage together. As much as we love the ladies, we agreed that the boylesque performers really gave the gals a run for their money.
Another reason we attended the event was for networking, and even that experience exceeded our expectations. People were very welcoming and passionate about the preservation of burlesque as an art form, and they really advocate awareness of the history of burlesque, which are two main reasons the Vixens do what we do. “Everyone was so excited – excited about building a new vaudeville circuit, excited about what we’re doing, and excited about what we could make together. They really cherish the idea of preserving the old while adding the new,” said Vixen Femme Vivre LaRouge. It was refreshing to be surrounded by so many glamorous kindred spirits. We were all fascinated by how they’ve managed to construct their own fabulous little world in Vegas, a place already described by many as a playground for adults.
To say the least, the Vixens are already anxiously awaiting next year’s BHOF weekend. And if you’re a fan of all things glittery and fabulous, you should be anxious too.