Tifa Tittlywinks’ Diary of Debauchery: Kansas City Burlesque Fest

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Wednesday, April 29th 2015

Dearest Diary of Debauchery,

Good morning/afternoon KC! I have no idea which side of you I am on, MO or KC but damn it feels good to arrive, again. The Marriott we stayed in for the morning was absolutely delightful. EVERYONE THAT WORKS THERE IS A TRAINED STARBUCKS BARISTA!! Glory. Time to pack our show bags and head to the venue…

Tragically, we had missed day one of the festival. Tuesday was the kick-off party with a Carnivale! themed night. I heard such wonderful stories, but am most saddened that I missed Annie Cherry’s Clowngasm. *tear* A girl after my own heart… But tonight would prove to be just as worthy of celebration, for tonight is… NERDLESQUE.

The Musical Theater Heritage is a beautiful space nestled in downtown KC. It’s theater in the round with excellent mood lighting and just the right amount of intimacy. It was perfect for my little nerd heart. I didn’t know what to expect. This was my first midweek festival performance. Madame McKay, the festival’s producer, was in full swing as producer, stage manager, and emcee (as Jessica from TrueBlood) for the evening. Quite an undertaking, but it proved fruitful for everyone and the audience.

Goldie Goldstein. Photo: Samantha Bessent Photography

Goldie Goldstein. Photo: Samantha Bessent Photography

Because of my involvement, I didn’t get to see all of the nerd show but I did catch as much as I could. Barbacoa Jones kicked off the night and was happily followed by Cyder Ella’s “Praise You” re-enactment. It goes to show that Spike Jonze nerdom is a live and well, not that I was worried. Shortly after, I got to perform one of my all-time favorite acts,Aeris Gainsborough. For those of you who played Final Fantasy VII and literally cried for a week because (spoiler alert) Aeris dies and you thought the game could not possibly go on and surely Midgar would fall and mako would explode everywhere and… You get the picture. It’s serious shit. And it makes me cry every time. Thank the gods Goldie Goldstein was on hand for her “50 Shades of Pachyderm routine to follow. It definitely was what the audience needed after my tear jerker. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but imagine a steampunk elephant like character with an incredible costume and some killer light up whip like objects. Yup. That’s about right. Freaking amazing. I love her.

IMG_3997After intermission, the crowd would be wildly entertained by Madame McKay herself (yes, she’s that insane. She performs too!!). Sadly, I was not able to watch her act because Lady Lush, Emma D’Lemma, and I were suited up for our Nurses Night act. Leave it to Dem Damn Dames to bring the video game love out in a nerdlesque show. Bam! Wowed ‘em again. Cause who doesn’t love disco fabulous Silent Hill nurses? No one. Not even Annie-Mae Allure who followed with the cutest Sailor Moon EVER!

The evening wrapped up with Emma D’Lemma doing one of my favorite acts, Portal. As GLaDOS forces the most adorable Chell ever to strip her clothes off, Emma still manages to make us all feel so happy for her completing her tasks with glory, including smothering herself in chocolate cake. And, as if our senses weren’t completely heightened, the night closed with the stunning Mika Romantic. Her Full Metal Alchemist was far and beyond the sexiest thing anyone had seen all night. Just gorgeous.

After the show, the gang and some KC company went to the I Pho Tower for some nosh and then to The Ship. The Ship is without a doubt the coolest bar and dive in KC. It’s built from remnants of an old ship and currently manned by Captain Bob and Skipper Joe. A must see. Shortly after that, we headed to Moxie Dynamite’s church home aerial haven with Hazel Honeysuckle to learn what would be my FIRST aerial moves. Yeah, you heard it right kids, I did that. I did a split on the silks. Drunk, but I did it. Annnnd, time for bed…

IMG_4145WEBThursday, April 30th 2015

Dearest Diary of Debauchery,

Thank you so much for sparing me the pain that is a hangover. The Dames and I woke up and headed to the pool. We invited Miss Goldie Goldstein along, who would be our most hospitable and humorous host for the rest of the trip. She took us to lunch at Barley’s Brewhouse just past Turnberry, nestled deep in the heart of the Jewish community in Kansas City. It was delicious. We then settled in at her amazing, roomy abode and got ready for the Thursday’s Life is a CABARET!

Thursday night at the MTH was filled with performers and guests alike as the last of the travelers arrived in Kansas City. The show was emceed by the most precious Chris Holbrook from KC. He was the sassiest bi-sexual jokester on earth, equipped with his bottle of Crown Royal to keep track of the show time. There was an abundance of sparkle and awe to kick off the night. An early highlight being Little Bo Peepshow (or Little Bo PeepHo if you ask Chris) who did Fever as a sickly but sexy lady who sneezed perfectly with the music. The Minksys would have been proud of what would follow from Cirque Du Risque. Lead by the charming Zelda Zinger, their act was everything Irving Berlin’s music could warrant, shy of actually being black and white.

Photo: Samantha Bessent

Photo: Samantha Bessent

After intermission, the night was picked back up with Haute Cocoa, a local crowd pleaser, who was followed by Honey Heartbreaker in an adorable take on Bjork’s “It’s Oh So Quiet”. What would turn out to be my favorite moment of the evening was brought on by Clara Boa. She owned the audience the moment she took the stage in her disco suit and ball in hand, she brought the house down with full energy and epic hip thrusts. The night ended with only the finest Kansas City had to offer, Puss-N-Boots. Granted she may be in NYC now, but the city proudly claims her as their own and she obliged with more crystals than the festival had seen yet.

Since The Dames NEVER go quietly into the night, we had to hit up a local karaoke bar post show. We snatched up Hazel Honeysuckle, Kinsey Scale, and Clara Boa among others and whisked them away to a singing wonderland. Who knew that EVERY woman we had with us could sing?! Lady Lush and Hazel tore up some Aladdin love songs, I threw down burlesque style (stripping and all) to the Bad Touch which was followed by me tearing my pants while trying to twerk (key word: trying), and then Clara, once again, tearing it up on stage singing Deborah. Is there anything that woman can’t do?! Oh lawd, now I need some sleep and Steak N Shake.

Friday, May 1st 2015

Dearest Diary of Debauchery,

Folly_Red_curtain_LargeToday has proven to be a VERY long day. Fortunately we kicked it off with some super food tacos by Emma and some much needed coffee. Tech was a fairly long undertaking being that traffic was horrible both ways (thanks Billy Joel) and we were staying 30 mins south of the city. But once we got everything on lock, we made ourselves fabulous and prepared for the show at the gorgeous Folly Theater. The Folly used to be a home for vaudeville theater and burlesque throughout the 20th century. It still shines with the flavor of the arts and is by far one of the most beautiful theaters I have set foot in. Tonight will be magical.

Hazel Honeysuckle. Photo: Samantha Bessent

Hazel Honeysuckle. Photo: Samantha Bessent

Let me begin by saying that Naughty Pierre (Denver, CO) is one of the most amazing human beings. He’s hilarious, professional, and always dressed to the nines. He was the perfect host for the evening. Since The Dames were taking over the festival for another evening, my opportunities to watch were limited. I did catch a glimpse of the striking Hazel Honeysuckle in her “You’ve Gotta Have Boobs” act with a light up BOOBS sign on her head. Adorable, and I already mentioned she can sing! She was followed by the show-stopping Greta Garter from St. Louis who will always be one of my faves. Right before our high glam vegas showgirl act was another stunning performance from Puss-N-Boots. Is there anything this girl can’t do?! She tore it up to the Beatles and Janis Joplin. That is no easy task in a glam dress and silk gloves. We followed that up with our Vegas style routine and all four Dames on stage. It was a glorious experience to revel in all the hard work we have put into that routine. Everything was perfect.

Chris McDaniel. Photo: Samantha Bessent

Chris McDaniel. Photo: Samantha Bessent

Immediately after intermission, Emma and I had to hit the stage for Funk-A-Loompa. I can say without a doubt that we funked the audience’s faces to the back of their skulls. Who doesn’t love a sexy Oompa Loompa on aerial silks with a tricksy Wonka stripping below? Yeah, no one. [And I’ll stop asking questions with obvious answers starting NOW.] Later in the evening, the amazing Moxie Dynamite flew above the stage in a glorious purple sparkly onesie. She put on a gorgeous aerial silk performance that was over all too quickly. Thank goodness the most talented lasso this side of the universe was on hand to pick up where she left off. Chris McDaniel NEVER fails to amaze. I swear I have seen him 10 times and it never gets old. If you are reading this, stop, go to the internets, find his videos, come back, put your jaw back up to your face, and continue reading. You’re welcome. I accept payments in titter smashing hugs and kittens. Now… to the Late Night Stage Strut!

Yup, you heard right, two shows. *Friday and Saturday had two shows each. We all funneled in to CryTown and headed to the MTH. Chris Holbrook was back and ready to rock. We were a little late to arrive and Mr Holbrook made sure to call out the tardy Texans. But no worry, the show was stimulating and we didn’t miss much. I was pleased to see Miss Eartha Delights again. She did her no frills beauty standard busting routine in what could be perceived as homage to Ms Tickle. Badass. The show’s vibe was pumped way up when Champagne Suga Nova took the stage to “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”, a high energy, tambourine tapping, good time with a lady body to die for. And that hair. Oh gawd girl, that hair!! Immediately after, BiBi Dazzle took our breath away in all her golden glory. I wrote down “whiskey soaked goodness” in my diary on hand, I don’t even know what it means other than a prophecy of the shenanigans to come that evening.

The night began to close with Mary Lynn Mayhem, making sure to continue our fabulous Texas representation. Her tribal glitter princess routine was beautiful. I saw it at TXBF this year and it was even more beautiful in the intimacy of the MTH. She was superseded by Greta Garter who would sass the audience to death with a lick of her hand and smack of her ass that she would carry with her through the evening.

BiBi, Greta, Lush, and I made an attempt after the show to find a pub and food. We failed miserably and ended up at Kansas City’s version of Austin’s 6th street. The bar was full of boys that couldn’t keep their manners around ladies in gowns. So, we did what any good ecdysiast does and told them we were at a Mensa convention and to leave us alone because we were far too out of their league. Don’t worry KC, I won’t hold drunk, collar-poppin yuppies against you. Time to try and sleep, fending off yups is a job in itself…

Saturday, May 2nd 2015

Dearest Diary of Debauchery,

Tifa Tittlywinks as Cooter Juggins. Photo: Samantha Bessent

Tifa Tittlywinks as Cooter Juggins. Photo: Samantha Bessent

Hello Saturday!!! Today would be the day that I tasted my first Kansas City barbecue. But first, a trip to Half of Half. If you don’t know what this is, then I apologize, you have been denied the glory and you must question all your KC friendships. If you want to know what I got there, then you have to go to BHoF and see. And I will tell you about how Goldie Goldstein treated the Dames to a store where I bought $650 in gowns and clothes for under $100. Yup. Mind. Blown. And, if that wasn’t enough, the barbecue at Oklahoma Joes (or Kansas City Joes depending who you ask) is out of this world. I’m sorry, Texas. The world may hate me eternally but this meat is out of control!!! And now that my belly is full, time to pack up my Cooter Juggins and head to the competition.

Back at the Folly Theater, we took our seats in the balcony to watch the Saturday Classic Burlesque Competition and Showcase. The emcee this evening was band leader Dave Stephens and his fine musicians and the night was sponsored by Rimann Liquors. The show opened with the sexy step down performance of Ms Donna Hood. She may be one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life, not just on stage, and I’m so proud to be living in her hometown of Houston. Her classic top hat strip set the tone for the evening. I cheered wildly as Mike Romantic took the stage again. She really is a sight. Immediately after, another of my faves, Eva La Feva showed us how sexy purple could be. April Showers was up next in what may be my favorite performance of hers. The competitors were unlimited in their musical selection and time, April milked every second and quickly became a top contender. Champagne Suga Nova came out in a glorious black duster and made the luckiest chair in the room her bitch. Mary Lynn Mayhem wrapped up the first half with a glittery white gown and pink boa. It was perfect. Thank the gods for intermission. I really needed a drink after all that.

Puss n Boots is crowned Queen of the Kansas City Burlesque Festival 2015. Photo: Samantha Bessent

Puss n Boots is crowned Queen of the Kansas City Burlesque Festival 2015. Photo: Samantha Bessent

The competition continued with FiFi Glitterbomb and her red carpet tribute, literally, she used the velvet rope as a boa (totally innovative!). Hazel Honeysuckle promptly took the stage in the most amazing outfit the festival had seen. She is truly a star and just stunning to behold. The last act Goldie and I would get to see before scurrying off to the MTH for the Queen’s Ball would be the soon-to-be queen, Puss-N-Boots. Armed with her trademark fans and all the blue feathers a girl could need, she bumped and grind-ed her way into first place. It was clear. No one had a doubt in their mind she would win. Sadly we had to go, and I say this mostly because I would miss Greta Garter’s performance and the 1st runner up performance of Renee Holiday. Renee and Mary Lynn would bring home 2nd and 3rd place. Not bad Texas!!

At the Queen’s Ball, Chris Holbrook took the stage for the last time at the festival. Thank goodness he is a rock star because I was one nervous little showbo. I usually don’t get the jitters but everyone who just blew my mind for the last two hours was here to celebrate and I wanted to deliver. Cooter Juggins (yeah, that’s me) hobbled out on stage and I chugged my beer and beer can tap danced my way into the royalty’s hearts; nothing like an old fashioned jester at the Queen’s Ball. I was soon followed by my hostess d’jour, Goldie Goldstein, for her Carbohydrates song. She was dressed as a giant glittery carton of McDonald’s fries and sang her version on American Pie, but with it all being about the day carbohydrates died. It was the funniest damn thing I saw all weekend. The festival wrapped up with a sexy, break dancing (in heels, no less) smooth criminal routine by Shelbelle Shamrock. It couldn’t have ended better. Sadly, we had to hit the hay early because we were driving home bright and early on Sunday morning.

Sunday, May 3rd 2015

Dearest Diary of Debauchery,

After a stop in Dallas for dinner with Victoria Viking, I took the last leg to Houston. We made it safe and sound and goddamn exhausted. Kansas City Burlesque festival was truly a unique experience. The city and the people are incredible. I hope it grows to be even greater. I don’t think in the future I will submit so many routines. As fun as it was, it was very tiring. I would recommend this experience to anyone. I don’t know how the McKays do it. Keep hustling Kansas City, you’re doing an amazing job!!

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