The Great Burlesque Exposition Festival Diary

When I found out I was going to perform at The Great Burlesque Exposition, I was boarding a plane leaving Charlotte from my weekend performance at the Great Southern Exposure. The email came in notifying performers to check the website, and in the last few moments of being able to use my phone before they sealed the doors for our 4 hour flight, I rushed to look up whether or not my act was accepted. I actually swore I misread it and would not celebrate what I was hoping was a performance slot until I received a conformation letter or saw my picture on the website. Luckily, I did not misunderstand the site and I was set to make my Boston debut.

Fast forward to February 7th, I’m ready to board the plane, nervous about the fact that I live in Southern California and have never seen more than about an inch of snow. I’m layered beyond belief, and carrying my boyfriends giant military puffy jacket. Glamourous I know. Luckily, I get to Boston without any hiccups and set out to meet my roommates at the hotel.

I get there early. All my roommates were coming in around the same time, and a few delays already held them up, so I hung around the lobby until I could check in. At first I began to second guess if I was in the right hotel, until I saw the array of costumes and fellow performers emerge from rooms and elevators. I decide to head to the hotel bar and have my first cocktail while waiting. Finally, Bella La Blanc calls to say she just landed and would be at the hotel soon. Bella and I had met at the Great Southern Exposure the night I performed. She was set to perform the act I saw her perform in Charlotte for the competition in Boston. I closed out my tab, and headed to the front searching for familiar faces.

I sat for a few minutes and soon saw the lovely Bethany Summersizzle. Luckily Bianca Boom Boom messaged her moments before that we now had the room and we went in search of a bed to rest for a few moments before tech rehearsal. After hellos were exchanged and beds were claimed, Bethany and I headed downstairs for the Friday Night Bordello Tech. I’ve been making the festival circuit for about two years now with a nine month break in between, and I was excited that each trip I go on, I see more and more familiar faces. Di’Lovely, a fellow San Diego burlesque performer, was there as well as Lili VonSchtupp from LA, Matt Finish who I met at the Hollywood Burlesque Festival and Vicki Fahrenheit, who I met while performing in Vegas. We finish tech, then Bethany and I head off with Bella to get some food before transforming from frequent flyers to burlesque vixens.

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Although I technically gained hours flying to the East Coast, I found that performing the night you fly in on is draining. The Friday Night Bordello was after the Rhinestone Review and was more of a relaxed intimate setting than how the Rhinestone Review was set up. There were three sets each with a 15 minute break in between. I was in the second set, right after Di’Lovely. I finally get up on stage, give them my best vixen and twirled my tassels so much that I popped a pastie! Luckily I’m so pale that it took a moment for anyone to notice! With performances done, Bethany and I finally wander upstairs, take off our eyelashes, wipe off our make up, and jump into bed.

Saturday morning, Bella was busy vending downstairs and Bianca was resting up after a strenuous bus ride down to Boston, so Bethany and I decided to take Perle Noire’s the Business of Burlesque class. I’ve had a love affair with this woman since the first time I saw her perform in Dita Von Teese’s show, Strip Strip Hooray in Los Angeles. When I went to Burlycon in November, I made sure to take every class she had to offer, so when I found out that she was teaching again in Boston, I was really excited. The one thing that stuck with me from that class, above all of her great notes, was one statement that she made. We were talking about media packages and what we should be including in them if we have yet to bring home any titles or even press, and she said that before she had anything, she only had passion. That one sentence made me believe that I am on the right path to where I want to be in my performance career as well as my life.

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After class, Bethany and I headed into town with Brandy Wine to have some fantastic vegan food at a restaurant in which I don’t remember their name, yet remember how much I loved their company branding. After that we went thrifting and found this one shop where you literally dive into a huge pile of clothes and pick out whatever you want for 1.99/lb. After our in town adventures, we have to get back to the hotel to help Bella vend while she was doing tech. I took this opportunity to meet the legendary April March and talk about which photos were her favorites. Obviously I bought the one that she described to be her favorite, which happened to be a gorgeous portrait style photo of a young Miss March. I headed upstairs to go get ready with Bethany and we are off to the Main Event.

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There were many talented acts. A few stuck out to me most though. Kelli LiMone was gorgeous and moved perfectly with the music. She did one hell of a job opening up the competition. Iris Ex Plosion did this amazing act where she recited Shakespeare and did a striptease without missing a beat. Sailor St Claire was absolutely gorgeous onstage bringing so much glamour to her classic striptease. And Üla Überbusen gave me goosebumps as she performed. It was a beautiful act and even more beautiful message. After a long show the winners were announced. Nina La Voix took home the title for best Soloist for her super high energy number, Blaze, the Red Rose of Texas, took home Most Classic, Whisper de Corvo took home Most Beautiful, Red Velvet took home Most Humorous, and Scarlet Starlet took home Best Hybrid. Other noted performers were Judge’s Choice — Ula Uberbusen, April March’s Choice — Sailor St. Claire, Angie Pontani’s Choice — Francine the Lucid Dream, and Perle Noire’s Choice — Ula Uberbusen.

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With the show over and drinks consumed, we headed off to bed, after of course, a call to the pizza delivery. The next morning, Bianca Boom Boom had already left for her next appearance, Bethany was packing to get on her plane, and I was getting ready to take Angie Pontani’s Bump and Grind class. I was not expecting that much of a work out, but boy did I love it. Angie was such a sweet person and an excellent teacher.

After my thighs were burning, I left to meet up with a high school friend that I hadn’t seen in eight years. I packed my bags so I could head straight to the airport and meet up with my friend, Elizabeth. Since I have been on a Cheers binge for the last 6 months, I was dead set on finding the bar. Elizabeth obliged me and I was able to be a ridiculous tourist in Boston. After a few beers, I headed to the airport and my Boston adventure was over. I had a lot of fun, and I hope that next year I will get the chance to compete!

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