Long before ChatRoulette, pay-per-view Playboy channel soft porn or adult video stores packed with row after row of the latest Chi-Chi LaRue DVDs, there was burlesque. And despite the fact that it’s gained a reputation among some people as seedy, low-rent entertainment, it’s actually a highly-specialized and professional art form. Fortunately for afficianados of the genre, there are events like Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend.
The annual event, which is globally recognized as the premiere showcase for international burlesque entertainers and fans, will celebrate its 20th anniversary June 3-6 at The Plaza Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas.
Included among the more than 100 top neo-burlesque entertainers – both exotic and mainstream – expected to appear at this year’s HoF are Kalani Kokonuts (Miss Exotic World 2009), Angie Pontani (Miss Exotic World 2008), Immodesty Blaize (Miss Exotic World 2007), Julie Atlas Muz (Miss Exotic World 2006) Dirty Martini (Miss Exotic World 2004) and Kitten DeVille (Miss Exotic World 2002).
The weekend’s events also include a Striptease Reunion, now in its 53rd year, which gives new performers an opportunity to learn from burlesque legends of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s.
“The living legends love to be there with all the wonderful girls who come from all over the world to celebrate an American tradition,” explained Burlesque Hall of Fame curator Dixie Evans, a retired dancer once dubbed “The Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque” by no less than the iconic Harold Minsky. “Burlesque is much more than striptease, it combines the whole live experience of dancers, comedians and music.”
Other activites scheduled during the four-day celebration include the “Titans of Tease” Burlesque Reunion Showcase, the Lucky Daredevil Thrill Show and the 20th annual Burlesque Competition (or “Striptease Olympics” according to London’s Daily Mirror), where titles up for grabs include “Best Debut,” “Best Group,” “Best Variety Act,” “Reigning Queen of Burlesque” and – you didn’t think this was only for the gals did you? – “Best Boylesque.”
And since a big part of what makes burlesque burlesque is music, the weekend will feature a live performance by Austin’s Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, as well as sets by some of the planet’s hottest Go-Go, Garage, Rockabilly, Lounge and Exotica DJs.
Visitors to the HoF weekend can also attend the grand re-opening of the Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum on Vegas’ Fremont Street, a Burlesque Bazaar featuring all sorts of swanky contemporary and vintage burlesque/pinup-inspired merch, the fifth annual Pinup Safari and Cheesecake Camera Club, the Keep A Breast burlesque cast sale, a Pinup Pool Party hosted by Sabina Kelly, a Hall of Fame Car Show, a Texas Tease ‘Em Polker Tournament, Burlesque Hall of Fame Finishing School master classes and Dr. Sketchy’s live drawing event.
Tickets are available as weekend passes ($1500 for a reserved booth that seats 5), floor seats ($200) and general admission ($150) and include admission to all Showroom activities.
For complete information on the 20th annual Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, including ticket availability, visit BurlesqueHall.com.