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Flamboyant icon of Burlesque passes

Like many fans of Burlesque, we’ve been pausing to commemorate the passing of Blaze Starr one of the most glamorous of the burlesque tribe, proud to call herself a stripper (no nonsense about being an ‘artiste’ for her!) and scandalous in the best sense of the word, as she was renowned, but never publicly shamed, for being the mistress of the Governor of Louisiana, Earl Long.

She was 83 years old and had been wowing her fans since the end of the second world war. One of those who truly can be called an icon, she first set Baltimore ablaze when she appeared at the Two O’Clock club there, and earned her soubriquet, ‘The Hottest Blaze in Burlesque’. But it was when she travelled to New Orleans that her story became legendary - she met Earl Long and they began an affair that lasted nearly two decades. The Governor was also relatively open about the relationship, to the annoyance of his wife and the open secret made Blaze a figure of mystery and gossip across the USA - which didn’t harm her burlesque career any!

Starr was to buy the Two O’Clock club which had made her famous and under her ownership the venue became famous as a stand up comedy launch pad.

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Posted By Rowena Yee

Fat stars

Katie Hopkins. Perhaps that’s all we need to say?

Or perhaps not. The Sun columnist has made her name attacking many targets, and her most recent is the Red Ruby burlesque troupe. The dancers, who are semi-finalists on Britain’s Got Talent and whom we featured in a previous blog post, attracted her attention not because of their provocative dancing, nor their sexy costumes, but simply because of their size.

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Posted By Rowena Yee

All about the boy in burlesque

We’ve been following the work of photographer Magnus Arrived for some time. Five years in fact. That’s how long he’s been travelling the world creating photographic portraits of men who inhabit the world of burlesque. Now his series of documentary photographs, entitled ‘Boy Story’ has been collected into a book and an exhibition. What has always enthralled us about his photographs is the way that he manages to capture the self that men, whether as MCs, comics or ‘boylesque’ performers bring to their burlesque. It’s the link between the instant in time captured by the camera and the hours of painstaking work that go into creating and expressing the burlesque persona that come together to create great portraits. Or as Arrevad says, ‘We act different selves to our parents, our friends, our lovers and to our selves. The self we act to ourselves is the most interesting, because in most cases, the sense we have is that we're too scared to express it, to explore it in public. Figuring out oneself is a process, and what the subjects of 'Boy Story' have allowed me to do is to watch them constructing their inner selves.’

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Posted By Rowena Yee

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