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Have you got your tickets yet? The ninth year of the London Burlesque Festival is a 17 day extravaganza featuring more than 100 international performers. From the launch on May 15 through to the VIP Closing Gala on 31 May, it promises to be an exciting event. There’s a Boylesk Revue, which is always fun, an exhibition from the British Burlesque Museum, more than for vendors, many workshops and a couple of fashion shows. The organisers sifted through more than 500 neo-burlesque submissions, reducing them to the chosen hundred who feature at LBF and are expecting more than 6,000 people to attend over the fortnight. London Burlesque Festival claims to be the biggest in the world and that’s quite a claim! For more information visit the London Burlesque Festival website, but hurry, many events are already sold out.

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Posted By Rowena Yee

Louis Tomlinson burlesque clubbing

It’s been a few years since ‘boy band’ One Direction wowed the world with their special brand of teen pop and they hardly deserve to be called boys any more, as Louis Tomlinson has recently made clear. In the wake of his separation from girlfriend Eleanor Calder last month, and still recovering from the sudden departure of Zayn Malik from the One Direction line up, Louis seemed unperturbed, spending an evening at London burlesque club Cirque le Soir.

Louis was not alone … accompanied by a mystery blonde he enjoyed the evening of burlesque themed entertainment and didn’t leave the venue until 3:30 am. It looks like burlesque has won itself another fan!

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Posted By Rowena Yee

Sue Stoiber sells vintage clothing from her home in Elmore, Ohio to people around the world. From the period of the Civil War through to the 1980s she finds garments and then offers them for sale on eBay as well as having her own website. She’s an expert in discovering traditional clothing that other people crave, and her most successful coup so far was when she purchased a collection of burlesque costuming that had belonged to Rose la Rose, the queen of burlesque in 1940s Toledo. While most of the items were gowns, there was also a hunting outfit that Rose la Rose wore to take part in a bear hunt in Alaska! The collection can now be found in the Las Vegas Burlesque Museum - a perfect venue for researching and preparing for burlesque performance. 

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Posted By Rowena Yee

T-Town Tassels are something pretty special, even in the very special world of burlesque. And on 28th March they will be demonstrating their superb specialness at a show in Toledo. What makes them so special is that they have an American Sign Language (ASL) translator who interprets every part of their show. A year ago, a CODA (child of a deaf adult) Emmah Artino who is married to a Joey Artino, who is deaf, wanted to attend a T-Town Tassels show … when she contacted the founder to find out if sign language interpretation was available, she was delighted to find that the answer was yes, as for many live events, ASL interpreters are not supplied as standard.

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Posted By Rowena Yee

Ruby Rage and body shaming

 New Orleans is the home of burlesque, but when Lucky Pierre’s club on Bourbon Street told Ruby Rage that she was no longer necessary, she asked why. The club’s new management informed troupe leader Bella Blue that Ruby didn’t fit the requirements, by which, it seems, they thought she was too large.

 

It was left to Bella to explain this to Ruby, who has called out the club for their body shaming. As she put it, “…burlesque is accepting of men, women, different genders, transgendered, it does not matter.” Going public was difficult for her but she’s had a lot of support, Bella Blue has taken her show away from Lucky Pierre’s and Ruby has a new show, produced by Bella, at a different venue.

 

It’s a bigger question than one performer’s shape/size though. As burlesque becomes increasingly mainstream and as a result, is commercialised and homogenised, there will always be a tension between acceptance and judgement. People paying for burlesque aren’t likely to be expecting an education in tolerance or diversity, but that’s what the profession will have to give them, if it is to remain proudly supportive of every shape, size, colour, gender and persuasion. So, for example, we stock Bordello Teeze shoes up to size 10, so that everybody can enjoy a little burlesque in their life!

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Posted By Rowena Yee

Dubious costuming for burlesque events

Were you aware of the controversy around the Canberra Fringe Festival? No, nor were we, but it’s an interesting topic as burlesque performers constantly skirt (or perhaps petticoat!) the edge of acceptable behaviour to create exciting and thought-provoking performances. There’s also pressure on many burlesque shows to ‘ramp up’ their shock factor to win media attention and that can in turn push performers into more explicit or shocking performances than they’d choose without that added pressure.

So what happened? Apparently a burlesque dancer dressed as Hitler. The performance was seen as particularly controversial because it took place in the Family Tent, where children were present. (Hmmm …. we’re not entirely sure about that - is burlesque for children? We’d love to have your views!) Anyway, this year’s festival director suggested that the 2015 programme will be ‘family-oriented’ but still edgy and diverse. Sounds like a plan to us!

And if you want an edgy costume, can we suggest the sexy skeleton? She offers a few chills along with lots of thrills and no risk of causing offence.

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Posted By Rowena Yee