Layman’s Guide to New Orleans Burlesque
By: Femme Vivre LaRouge
I can hardly think of two things that could hold more promise of a delectably good time than New Orleans and burlesque. There is quite a lot going on in that fair city’s burly-q scene and we think you should know about it! To that end, we have put together this concise guide of New Orleans’ foremost troupes and where you can catch their acts.
Although the New Orleans Burlesque Festival was formed in 2009 to showcase the more traditional side of the city’s (and beyond) best burlesque, there are fabulous shows in the area that are done in both the classic and neo-burlesque style.
Bustout Burlesque, produced by Rick Delaup (who we also have to thank for organizing the New Orleans Burlesque Festival) has been painting the town red since 2005. It was the first show to feature live jazz accompaniment for the entire set and continues to do so, making for a truly electrifying atmosphere. A little comedy and a great deal of glamour make this show a very authentic trip down memory lane by way of Bourbon Street. This powerhouse group has had some great successes. Included are the production, “Cointreau presents Dita Von Teese with Special Guests, in association with Bustout Burlesque” and giving rise to burlesque star, Perle Noire, reigning Queen of Burlesque. They can be seen monthly at The House of Blues and other venues, such as Le Chat Noir, from time to time. You can learn more about this lovely and lavish production at www.bustoutburlesque.com
Reverend Spooky LeStrange & Her Billion Dollar Baby Dolls, a rotating cast of local dancers and out of towners, venerate cultural icons, both classic and cult. With a literary flair, their past “Church of Burlesque” events include ‘sermons’ on True Blood, banned books, and comic books. They dance to “heal your troubled souls and uplift your yearning hearts” at various venues around the city. The Reverend Spooky herself has been performing at festivals around the country since 2004. She named her troupe as homage to a group of street walkers who, during the mid-twentieth century, would parade together in Zulu on Fat Tuesday, carrying bottles of champagne and wearing garters full of money. Find out more about their fantastic affairs at www.myspace.com/billiondollarbabydolls
Another New Orleans favorite is Fleur de Tease. This troupe keeps very busy, performing every Friday at Boomtown Casino for The Burlesque Ballroom, presented by Trixie Minx and Irvin Mayfield. They will also be presenting The Wizard of Oz at One Eyed Jacks September 11 and 12, for the fee of $15, or $20 for reserved table seating. In addition to several other shows listed on their calendar at www.fleurdetease.com they also share their tricks of the trade by hosting Burlesque 101 classes. Directed by Trixie Minx (also a dancer), this is a true variety show, encompassing circus, magic, vocal, and aerial acts, as well as burlesque.
Slow Burn Burlesque has been igniting audiences with their sideshow panache and punk rock attitude since 2009. While still paying their respects to yesteryear, they use modern music and “the dialogue of today to push the boundaries of the art form.” Their cast of characters includes a comic emcee, magicians, fire performers, and of course, burlesque beauties. Their upcoming extravaganzas include “Pretty Not Practical” on September 4th, at Howlin’ Wolf, for $10 advance, $12 at the door, $15 for VIP, and Roxie le Rouge Presents: The Appeteaser, dinner and a show at The Elephant Room in Lafayette. For more information, visit their fabulous website at www.slowburnburlesque.com
One more group to delight your senses is the Storyville Starlettes. Billed as the longest running burlesque troupe in New Orleans, they are named after New Orleans’ famed historic red light district and have kicked their glamorous gams up at several local establishments. Learn more about them at www.myspace.com/storyvillestarlettes
Also not to be overlooked is Grindin Diamonds Productions, a casting company that can provide your party or event with go-go and burlesque dancers and female characters. Explore what they have to offer at www.grindindiamonds.com