Friday, May 15, 2009

Tonight: Texas Burlesque Fest

TX burlesque festLet's face it: Your ears probably need a rest. Either you were at My Bloody Valentine last month or The Paper Chase last week, or you've been to one too many of the dozens of fantastically loud local shows happening on any given night. So either Friday or Saturday (or both), give your ears a rest and feast your eyes instead.

Emo's is hosting the second annual Texas Burlesque Festival, a two-night vaudevillian hoedown featuring burlesque performers from Texas and across the country. Local troupes such as the Jigglewatts and Kitty Kitty Bang Bang will perform. There are also about 15 solo performers scheduled for each night, ensuring a nice variety of comical/sensual dance and striptease routines. And probably the least expected twist: a panel discussion.

Red Hot Annie, a burlesque performer from Chicago, is scheduled for the Saturday night leg of the fest. I conducted a quick Q&A with her to see what all the burly-Q hype is about.

What drew you to come all the way from Chicago to Austin for this festival?
Red Hot Annie: Well, any girl from Chicago would be silly not to jump at the chance to perform in a place where it's warm all year 'round. I've never been to Texas, and I thought Austin would be the best place to get to know Texas.

I've noticed a growing burlesque movement in Austin. Is burlesque experiencing a resurgence across the country? When did this resurgence in participation begin?
RHA: Burlesque is definitely experiencing a resurgence across the country. I know for certain that the scene in Chicago has been going through some evolution of its own, lately. I can't say for sure when the newer participation began, but I do know burlesque has been alive and well for decades.

How did you get involved with burlesque performance?
RHA: I got involved in burlesque a little more than a year ago. I'd been watching burlesque -- specifically my favorite troupe, Belmont Burlesque, since 2003, and I just got the biggest kick out what they were doing on stage. They have one of the best shows in Chicago -- lots of vaudeville, and the girls who dance burlesque are hilarious and sexy, which I think is rare and very special. With a little help and support from some friends -- including Natasha Minsk (fellow Texas Burlesque Fest performer) -- I jumped right in the deep end and started performing.

What do you enjoy and not enjoy about it?
RHA: The thing I enjoy most is being in front of an audience and having three minutes (or so) of undivided attention. What can I say? I'm an exhibitionist and I feel no shame when someone enjoys watching me. The hardest part about burlesque is the politics, for sure. There are a few girls who are exclusionary or vindictive, and sometimes that really hurts! Oh yes, and sometimes so does the tape we use to hold on pasties!

There are lots of fun things to do on a Friday/Saturday night in Austin. Why should the people reading this blog go to the Burlesque Fest?
RHA: Well, the main reason is because this only happens once a year, and there are a ton of performers that are traveling in from out of state to be there. If you have never seen burlesque before, this is the ideal way to see it -- with traveling performers on a bona fide stage. The girls at Texas Burlesque Fest really know how to put on a show, and they've poured their heart and soul into making this something that Austin will really appreciate. Plus, who knows when Natasha Minsk and myself will make it back deep in the heart of Texas?!

Below is a video of Red Hot Annie doing her thing in Chi-town. Maybe it's the music nerd in me, but the first thought that occurred to me while watching this video wasn't Hey, there's a hot chick who's about to strip. It was actually Hey, she's doing her routine to "Pit Stop" from the Nathaniel Merriweather presents... Lovage album. That's a great album. Anyway, here's a preview of things to come to Emo's. Warning: Might not be safe for work.

The Burlesque Fest opens its doors at 8 tonight. Show starts at 9. Single-day tickets are $15 at the door. Go here for more info.

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Anonymous said...

I don't know who you think you are filming pornography and then putting it on the web? You Sinner.

I'll get there as soon as I can. VaVaVoom.

Thanks for the public service announcement.

Anonymous said...

You know I find it funny when people consider burlesque pornography I mean you dont even see anything remotely pornographic. I was at the actual Burlesque fest show and was thoroughly entertained. Being a catholic its funny because you can see more nudity in christian paintings and sculptures lol