April 10th 2014
Dearest Diary of Debauchery,
It seems like only yesterday that I arrived home from the Southern Fried Burlesque Festival in Atlanta; and now I’m hot on Austin’s heels with an Emma D’Lemma in tow. Loaded with Starbucks and energy bars, we departed from Houston to start our beautiful journey to the 7th annual Texas Burlesque Festival. The excitement was overwhelming. I was absolutely stoked to show my Vaudevillian side to the masses after my classic appearance last year, and Emma was quite aroused to pop her festival cherry. We left straight from work, dressed in the car, picked up by the one and only Goldie Candela (my burlesque girlfriend), and made it to the venue just in time for Thursday night’s Nouveau Nuit.
The night was all we could have hoped for and more; packed full of the brightest upcoming stars as well as debut pieces by some of the best in the country. We knew the weekend would be busting at the seams with awesome as soon as Andi Stardust took the stage. She was decked to perfection as The Goblin King, complete with a bulge-filling crotch muppet and pelvic thrusts. The night’s magic continued with Man Johnson and his oh-so-well-placed zippers and Stephan, the fouette turning milk man, only increased the excitement for the rest of the weekend. The alluring and exquisite Ruby Joule and always pleasing Bazuka Joe rounded out the night, but it was Harlet Davidson and N D Licious who took the award for Audience Choice and became quite the conversation piece for the rest of the weekend.
After sharing in appreciation for all the performers, and the customary “oh, it’s been so long” moments with all my festival faves, it was time to bring the night to a close. Emma and I treated our fabulous host, Mama Candela, to a delicious late night dinner at Kerbey Lane and turned in early for beauty sleep for our Friday performance.
April 11th 2014
Dearest Diary of Debauchery
Nothing beats scrambled eggs and coffee at Chateau Candela before the big day! Charged with sleep, protein, and caffeine, it was time for the D’Lemma and I to kick off our burlesque day with Bazuka Joe’s jazz class. The group was ready to get funky. I was over-energized as I was surrounded by folks I love and admire such as Ray Gunn, Franki Markstone, and my favorite boylesque-er, Paco Fish. And as soon as Bazuka Joe commanded we get down like Perle Noire, I knew I would be ready for the evening ahead of us (and feeling it the next day). After class, we rigged Emma’s silk, ran a few errands, and relaxed a tad.
The backstage was full of positive energy. We set up camp next to my new favorite neighbors, Kinsey Scale and Big Al Dente. Due to our fortunate placement in the show, Emma and I got to watch the first half. It was nothing short of the best burlesque booty Texas has to offer. I was floored (as always) by the gorgeous amazon, Chola Magnolia, and wowed by Ginger Snaps with her emotional lyra performance. I have never heard an audience so silent in appreciation of such grace and beauty.
The tone was set, we were ready to go, and Jet Noir’s dark and sensual dance prepared the audience for the ridiculousness we call “Funk-A-Loompa”. It felt like only seconds before we were exiting the stage. “We nailed it!” Or at least that’s what we told ourselves. Besides, who doesn’t love a sexy Oompa Loompa drugged on Fizzy Lifting Drink?
The night was completed by Perle Noire and Ray Gunn paying homage to Ms Toni Elling. Their duet was sensual, emotional, and absolutely beautiful. Their performance prepared us for the life-affirming performance of Ms Toni Elling. Then, as if the night couldn’t get any better, we won Audience Choice for the Night of Legends showcase! It was time to gorge ourselves on congratulations and happiness with the people we love…
April 12th 2014
Dearest Diary of Debauchery,
If thou is offered brunch with a legend, thou accepts brunch with a legend.
Brunch was served at the Holiday Inn for all performers and crew alike. We were fed like kings and queens. Jett Adore observed me awkwardly making my first omelet; then we gathered to listen to the wise words of Ms Toni Elling. She spoke of her beginnings and friendship with Duke Ellington and her trials as an African-American performer. I took so much of what she said to heart. She closed the Q&A with “You can’t love others until you love yourself. That’s a Toni-ism”. And that’s just who she is.
Although more fabulous workshops were offered, it was decided that it was time to take a breather. Many of my Texas favorites including Divertida, Vixy, Pelvis , Honey, Goldie, and the rest of the gang all decided to hit the pool (well, poolside) to relax and chat about the amazing weekend we had so far. Many laughs were had and we cleaned up and headed to the venue for the final night of the festival, The Best of Fest Competition.
The beauty of the Texas Burlesque Fest is that Audience Choice winners from Thursday and Friday get to compete in the Saturday showcase. So, Emma and I got Willy Wonka’d up and warmed up for the night. Again, we were blessed with the opportunity to watch some of the showcase. The night knew no bounds from Ruthe Ordare’s mesmerizing performance (seriously, google her if you don’t know), to Blaze’s classy kitty routine to the prodigious talents of Paco Fish and his gavel loving Judge.
The time had come again… this time there was something new in the air. Satisfaction? Confidence? I’m not exactly sure. We hit the ground running and gave the best performance we could, and quite possibly the best performance that number had ever seen. My jacket busted open far too early, which only made me feel more liberated and ready to give the audience the best show I could. The audience was appreciative and full of laughter. It was another job well done.
The entire cast and audience was rewarded by CoCo Lectric’s Crazy On You, which was a spectacle of sheer perfection and energy, The Stage Door Johnnies and their perpetually stimulating performance, and Perle Noire’s uncanny ability to simultaneously blow everyone’s mind without fail (every time). It was a night of burlesque successes all around. Everyone won that night, including us! Emma D’Lemma and I took the award for Best Ensemble (again, flying Oompa Loompa) and happily accepted our original Barbie awards. I was met with appreciation and congratulations across the board and now it was time to celebrate!
The after party raged at the Marchesa’s bar until they couldn’t serve us anymore. With a Candela, D’Lemma, and Fish in tow, I headed to the abode of burlesque’s best couple, Queertini Time, for a few more drinks and pizza. We were met by Chola Magnolia and enjoyed recapping our favorite moments of the weekend. And I had the distinct satisfaction of remembering why I love this craft so much.
After a solid night of rest, it was time to make our way back to Houston, but not until we had our traditional BACON PANCAKES! I say this in all seriousness and pure excitement that you have not lived until you have had bacon pancakes at Chateau Candela (she will never forgive me for printing this). We were joined by Man Johnson, who had heard of our epic breakfast the night before, for just a few moments before we headed home.
Emma D’Lemma and I will be making our next fest appearance at the Oklahoma City Burlesque Festival in June. I hope OKCBF knows what it is getting in to! As for my next endeavor, it’s time to prepare for the shobo takeover at Show Me Burlesque and Vaudeville Festival in St Louis! I haven’t been this excited in my entire career. So many of my favorite performers will be in one place, and I hear it’s one of the best parties of the year!