September-October 2011: 9th Annual New York Burlesque Festival

Update: Read my diary of NYBF published in 21st Century Burlesque here

So much to write! I was over the moon to be accepted to perform at the 9th Annual New York Burlesque Festival, getting to see live performances from some of my favourite burlesque inspirations such as Nasty Canasta and Little Brooklyn, and to explore New York City for the first time. I spent 5 days with my chap Edwin Flay, walking till near feet-bleeding point, uptown and downtown and all over every type of -side, taking in as much as we could! Edwin being an escape artist, some of the sightseeing included Harry Houdini-related points of interest, including his grave in Brooklyn (left) and an exhibition of Houdini-related paraphernalia at a magic shop in Manhatten (right):

And then, of course, there was the Burlesque Festival! I performed on the Friday night Premiere Party at Brooklyn Bowl – yes, the venue had bowling lanes right next to the stage! It was kind of awesome when the (sold out!) venue was packed to see hundreds of people roaring and cheering the burlesque, while to their right people continued to bowl, pretty unfazed by the flesh and fabulousness around them.

Here’s a pic of the venue snapped at the tech rehearsals before the masses arrived. In the dressing room I met fantastic performers Lillian Starr from Sydney, Australia and Honey Cocoa Bordeauxx from Texas. It was awesome to meet performers from different countries and cities and chat about the types of burlesque that are popular in our own cities – really interesting stuff! Later that night both of them wowed me with their performances – Honey can shake it like no other and what Lilian does with a pie has to be seen to be believed! The audience went nuts for both of them, deservedly! I was little worried about how my performance of Thatcher, such a British icon, would go down with the New York crowd but they were very vocally appreciative and as I’ve been described as “seriously frightening” by Burlesque Beat  I consider my first New York appearance as a success!

One of mine and Edwin’s favourite performers on the night was Bonbon Bombay from Montreal, who blew us away with this incredible act of character and puppetry:

I caught up with Bonbon the following night at the Saturday Spectacular show at B.B. Kings. I wish I had some pictures to post of the wonderful acts that I saw but as it was completely packed and I was standing, I had to jump to be able to see anything at all! I can say that Murray Hill did a fine job as usual as host, that I enjoyed Nasty Canasta’s Bambi act and it was a treat to see the World Famous Pontani Sisters in action.

There isn’t nearly enough space for me to describe how New York blew me away, the people were incredibly friendly, the city was constantly abuzz with vitality and we ate, saw and walked our way through a really memorable trip. A short diary of my trip has now been published by 21st Century Burlesque here so you can catch up on my take on the festival and see some pics!


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