Let the Talent through ! Burlesque Games 2017.

That is the Burlesque Games concluded for another year. We have a new crowned Burlesque Queen for their annual reign. In reality of course this is insignificant. It is probably decided who will wear the crown long before the curtain goes up.

But is that not the same star studded line up as the year before and before that ? The mind boggles, maybe there is a roster of winners. Some have argued that this is the established performers reasserting their regime like Russian forces on Moscow Victory Parade Day. But is it not time to show us something new. We do not have to look to far either. The Grass Root level is where to begin.

It cannot be ignored there is in fact talent that would and in a lot of instances out class a lot of the performers on the weekend’s line up. Performers such as Siouxsie Roux, Dorset, South West England, whose performance as Queen Liz the first (She was in fact a real Queen without question) would certainly bowl any audience over let alone Sir Francis Drake’s bowls at Plymouth Hoe ! But absent. Why ?

Looking at the map from the South West of England towards Wales you could muster the might of the Welsh Dragon. Dorine Chantepie performing to the Caravan club, Lili Del Fleur with Paddington Bear and Flissy Tease. The finest in talent from Wales and not one of them on the line up.

It is also clear that too in the world of Burlesque We don’t have many confusers. But We have Rosie Glow of Portsmouth. The only performing confuser in the UK and not even invited to the king’s court for a chance at the crown. Poor form if you ask me. Portsmouth also has more to offer then diesel guzzling ferries too. The very talented Burlesque by The Sea headed up by Demonica Latex and Loretta Lebonke is very worthy of a place at the games. These performers can change theme like I change my clothes very inventive and creative, yet not at the games ?

At the home counties We have the athletic Sakura Cyanide. This performer has it all and is evident She can charm a crowd. Her height and statuesque alone commands her authority both on the stage and floor. Sakura would bounce off a large venue and throw the audience exactly what it needs for an electric atmosphere.

Now Essex is yet another powerhouse for talent. Scarlet Blossom’s adaptation of Chaz and Dave’s Rabbit Rabbit with audiences thinking about the gaffer tape over the mouth and it’s not so obvious relevance to the act would leave audiences in stitches. With many more such as Sian Trigwell, Lady Blue Phoenix  and more.

Brighton’s Zelda Zemzare offers some Eastern spice with something very alternative for romantic couples in the audience. Zelda a reliable and punctual performer who is willing to travel for the satisfaction of entertaining.

There also seems to be a real distinct lack of the performers from minority groups . Whom can all be found at grass root level. We have already mentioned some of those very talented individuals, but again Pixie Rider who is no stranger to the stage is not performing. Pixie Rider’s act is a story of overcoming the struggles of disability and her desire to be a performer in Burlesque is worthy alone of being in the line up.The gesture of her inclusion would be seen as a transparent acknowledgement from the Burlesque games promoters that  ‘Disabled’ ‘People of Colour’, ‘LGBT’ and ‘Queer’ are welcome in Burlesque.

Alas We have a show that turns its back on grass root talent and minority groups.It is about time these very deserving performers who are the real grafters of burlesque are given a break. It’s not to late as there is next year and the year after that and the year after that…………

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Editorial Comment. Burlesque Games 2017.

Looks like the line up for Burlesque games for 2017 has been announced. A star studded line up is confirmed albeit a few exceptions, with that a few exceptions are missed too. Many grass root level performers who could easily have made the cut sadly have been left out.

Of course We will let our readers decide on whom they think should have been allowed to enter for a chance of winning the crown or indeed whom they think should be crowned the Burlesque Champion. Email your thoughts to us here at The Burlesque Herald.

However, it must be clear to all that the firm favourite just has to be without question the very creative Smashlyn Monroe. Smashlyn has gone from strength to strength and has over come all the odds in making herself an absolute success in Burlesque. From El Rico to her tour of Cirque Le Soir Dubai says enough here at The Burlesque Herald !!

Readers watch this space as Smash Smashes the stage.

Burlesque in Decline ? Editorial Comment.

Burlesque in decline seems to be a subject matter grabbing the Burly threads of debate so far this summer.We constantly read show cancellations, as promoters and producers struggle to pull in the punters. But is it around to stay or a seasonal blip ? Some promoters have appealed to their peers to kick start the slump in ticket sales to support each others’ gigs.

Paid performers perhaps need to command less of a fee ……..

Arguably the Burly family by making visits to other promotion’s shows will help, but promoters are the forgotten lot. Frantically making bookings and finding venues acceptance and tolerance to Burlesques is a thankless task leaving promoters out of pocket.

 

Also and this is the contentious part  performers fees can also stretch the promoters budget into deficit  following on from advertising and promotions. Paid performers perhaps need to command less of a fee or assist in promoting their worthy presence at a show regularly in advance instead of leaving it to the ever last minute. In comparison to a performer who charges no fee, but advertises and brings a following are more appealing to Promoters budgets in breaking even.

…the general public may be put off by anything more than £5……

Attracting audiences is a strategic importance. Promoters having to be diligent in thinking to ticket price and location. The austere whipped general public are looking for a cheap night out on their doorstep. A low ticket fee is favourable and makes shows accessible to the many not the few. Of course a plush venue is attractive, but the general public may be put off by anything more than £5 for acts they know little about and sometimes not announced until the last minute. On the other hand venues at the heart of the community may be more in tune with the general public and with an night out accessible to all filled with performers from all over the country who are genuine Burly performers simply for the love.

Only time will tell if Burlesque is in decline, possibly dictated to by a hot summer as the public prefer to be outside instead off in front of their devices finding something to do . Choosing BBQs, festivals and holidays over shows.  A hot Summer may prove to long for Burlesque.

Bringing Burlesque to Orange County by Lillian Dujour.

The Burlesque Herald took a long haul flight across the pond to Los Angeles for an exclusive interview with Lillian Dujour. We joined Lillian during rehearsal of her new Whispering Sisters Burlesque & Cabaret Show in Orange County, California.

Lillian how did you come up with your stage name and whom was your inspiration ?   

 My stage name is Lillian DuJour and as you know it can be quite a process to develop a burlesque name and persona.  It actually took me about 2 months to finally decide on my stage name.  I had a great-great aunt who was a young girl in the 1920’s. I remember my Mom and her sisters talking about ‘how risque’ my Aunt Lilly was.  After she passed away, they found several ‘very sexy’ lingerie items in her bedroom and shared a lot of laughs as they reminisced how strong, feisty, independent of a women she was. During WW2 she lied about her age (told them she was younger) so she could work at the aircraft factory!
Viola!, a perfect match to use her name for my Burlesque name.  I was struggling with my Burlesque last name and one day in my doctor’s office, he had a magazine in the waiting room that was called DuJour!  That was it!!!!   Lillian DuJour was officially born.

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I remember dancing and singing all the songs from Gypsy Rose Lee, the musical when I was 5 yrs. old.  Let Me Entertain You and You Gotta Have a Gimmick were my favorites.  I don’t think my parents ever thought that someday I would be on a burlesque stage!
At 7 yrs. old, I started competitive figure skating.  As an elite ice skater, I hold double gold medals in the US and Canada, I was a principal ice show performer, and coached & choreographed for over 40 years.
Inspiration;
The first burlesque act is saw was while I was looking burlesque up on my computer. When I came across Charlotte Treuse’ video from the 6th annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival…her rocking horse act.  I thought to myself  she performs like I would like to do/or what I knew was my style….playful/sexy/confident/can laugh at herself etc. and her costume was amazing.   OK if this is burlesque, I want IN!!!!!!

 

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Where do you live and how do you think burlesque is received ?

I live in Newport Beach which is located 40 miles south of LA/Hollywood.  Orange County where Newport Beach is located.  There are very few things to do late at night throughout the week.  I am hoping to help make a difference with what burlesque can bring to it’s audiences.  Positive female body image, along with learning how to laugh at one’s self and help educate the public about this art form.  My tagline is “sexy at any age”!  I offer lessons & workshops to help women find and own their Jeni se qua!
After hearing that so many women over 30 to 40 are going through depression and feel like life is over; I did not want to fall into that category!
What can I do that’s new, challenging, and a lot of fun with the experiences I have had in my life?
AH…BURLESQUE   Perfect fit as I am a showgirl at heart and I am passionate about living life fully and being ‘sexy at any age’!
So I have officially jumped from ice skating into Pasties a year ago.
“I’m 61 yrs. Right now and married to a man that I met when I was performing in ice shows…we reconnected in 2010…he’s 15 yrs. my junior!”
I believe being silly and sexy has kept me young at heart.  When people say I don’t look my age, I alway laugh and say “it’s because I have been on ‘ice’ my whole life” LOL referring to being in an ice arena!   But it stems from my attitude, I believe…I hang out with and relate more with younger people.
I’m coming up to my 1 year anniversary in Burlesque…and I have had amazing opportunities.  A friend asked me to be an extra in his  Indie, full feature film, Wine Tasting.  The day I was on set the director, Josh Mitchell of Wickid Pissa productions found out I was Burlesque Artist and he said “come back tomorrow, I am writing you into the story line!”  What an experience for this old lady!…Josh was and continues to be so supportive. Keep an eye out for his work.
Street Motivation Magazine has also recently interview me and I have met so many wonderful and supportive producers and artists this past year. I am truly grateful.
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Have you or would you like to perform in Las Vegas?
LAS VEGAS funny you should ask.
My parents started taking me there when I was only 3 yrs.old.  That was back in the days when kids were not allow at all in the casinos.  So I did grow up seeing all the different show names lit up as they drove me down the Strip.  Can you imagine being able to see all those lights as a little girl?  Perhaps that is where I got the love for glitter & glam.
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Las Vegas is about a 4 hour drive for me and I still love to go visit and see the shows.  Several of my ice skating friends live there. After our ice show days, they moved there to work behind the scenes of the different shows.
During my ice skating days I was invited to skate at an opening, but now I am happy to leave performing in Vegas to all the young talented and long legged showgirls these days.
Thank you Burlesque Herald for coming across the pond to support Burlesque and my New Show!
I have 2 passions in life;
To make a difference in people’s lives, by helping them become the best they can be and performing.  What a perfect find…Burlesque.  Empowering Women & I’m back under the spotlights!
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Our Editorial Comment General Election 2017.

The 8th of June is General Election day here in the UK. Never in recent times has there ever been such a clear choice of policies presented to the people of the UK. Many of us in the Burly world have a daytime job and many of us have families to look after young and old.

Society needs more love and peace within its fabric. Over the years We have seen our public services put into neglect and decline. The NHS, Royal Mail, The police, The Arts, civil and workers rights has been eroded away. Take a walk along Brighton, Bournemouth and Worthing, what do you see ? The homeless ! We are one of the richest countries in the world and yet We see more homeless camped outside in the elements than ever before. This is a result of housing benefit cuts over the last seven years.

Massive profits have been made of workers’ back in exchange for very little job security. Many companies such Sports Direct have and continue to make huge profits off the back of poorly paid workers on zero hour contracts. We even have skilled staff in teaching making and shaping youngsters for Britain’s future on zero hour contracts ! We have NHS staff over worked and absorbing vacancies in our hospitals and We wonder why We have to wait for operations. All this for lack of funds, but there is always money for bombs and tax concessions to tax havens.

The Burlesque Herald see’s no justification in supporting a conservative Government, who has neglected its duty of care to its people through relentless cuts to our services and at the same time We pay more tax and more people are relying on foodbanks than ever before.

The Burlesque Herald urges all its readers to exercise your right to vote and vote to elect a Labour Government for a better life ! Vote Labour.

A walk on The Wild Side with Zelda Wilde as The Burlesque Herald plays its cards right.

The Burlesque Herald  takes a walk on the wild side with Zelda Wilde She a bad witch who captures the audience with  high energy, emotive performances. She has been described as very “bouncy.” Zelda has travelled around the world with her deck of tarot. Currently she teaches yoga in Brighton when she is not shimmying on the stage.
” When I went to a burlesque show to see a friend perform, I was enchanted.”
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How did you become interested in Burlesque?

I grew up in a very eccentric artist family. My father is a painter and my mother is an actress and a tarot reader. Outside my home I felt very out of place most of my youth. When I went to a burlesque show to see a friend perform, I was enchanted. I loved the variety of people performing and how all the performers seemed to embrace what made them different. Since then I fell madly and deeply in love with burlesque.


Where you have performed ?
I started modelling when I was 18 and eventually I got into go go dancing in various nightclubs. I got into burlesque later on and have been lucky enough to perform internationally since then alongside extremely talented and amazing performers.
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Which performers are your inspiration?
I feel inspired every time I watch someone perform burlesque. The creativity doesn’t cease to amaze me! For my own shows I get inspiration from beautiful glamour ghouls like Morticia Addams, Vampira,Elvira and I love the playfulness of Betty Page and of course glitter.
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Do you have any Shows coming up Zelda where you are performing Gory & Glam ?
Infinitease 4 Heat 7.
Uncaged London – Naughty on 8:00pm Tue 13th June

Doing Burlesque differently, The Burlesque Herald’s exclusive interview with Pixie Rider.

The Burlesque Herald interviews Pixie Rider about Burlesque and how she did not allow disability to affect her aspirations to become a burlesque performer. The Burlesque Herald learns of how Pixie Rider is continuously victorious over not just disabilities, but also helping to ensure there is no discrimination in the world of Burlesque……

.”Let’s encourage all people who want to perform irrelevant of any disabilities; it just takes some thought, remember not all conditions and illnesses are visible at first glance.”

 

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Who would you say is your inspiration?

Hmm… interesting question.  My hubby took me to my first ever burlesque show in 2011 and I fell in love with burlesque and asked for a lesson as a Christmas present.  Hubby managed to find me an 8 week course and I was smitten.  Although I said I would never wear a corset or perform in public at my first class.  That was January 2012 and I performed in March that year as part of a troupe!  I continued to do that until 2016.  I am not sure any burlesque act inspired me to start, but I do love the work of Diva Hollywood, L’Amour Le Monde, Lou Safire, Vicky Butterfly and Kiki Lovechild.  I saw L’Amour perform her then new “Breathe of Life” act in early 2016 and spoke to the teacher she had done a course with Saph Rox. I asked her if she would work with me and my mobility scooter to develop a solo act as due to diabetic neuropathy I could no longer dance with troupe due to my mobility issues.  I still loved burlesque and wanted to continue to perform, Saph said yes and my first act “Born to be Wild” was created.

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Can you tell our readers about any funny stories or experiences you may have?

I guess my first funny story as a solo performer was last year when I was accepted for one of Bella Stirrup competition heats. I left the hotel in full make-up and costume which was decent, but different to normal everyday fashion the look on the face of the receptionist was priceless. The Receptionist asked me on my return when I came back in leggings and t-shirt what I had been up too. It ended up in a really interesting conversation about what burlesque is.  My very first funny story happened on my 1st troupe performance. The day was international women’s day in a restaurant in Harlow Essex. I naively thought there would be a car park and as there was no formal changing room. I drove in my costume including stockings only to find out on my arrival the car park was tiny and full!! I had to park about 100-150 feet away and walk to the restaurant the only clothing I had in my car was a cardigan. I kept my dignity, but everyone could see my stocking tops. I remember walking down the road and in my head saying just be confident like you always go out dressed like this!!!!!!

Do you have any new acts your working on?

I have created a second act again with the help of Saph Rox, called “A Forest Pixie”. I have not performed this one publicly yet, but hope to do so soon.  I am not developing any new acts at the moment so that I can concentrate on the two acts I currently perform in order to tweak and improve upon them.  I have already made a number of changes to my first act and really enjoy receiving feedback from audience members, other performers and producers so that I can improve the acts and get the message across that “people with disabilities can still do burlesque We just have to do it differently.”

Please tell our readers about your experiences with disabilities & Discrimination within Burlesque?

“. If you are affected by an illness or condition you can still do the things you love.”

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This is a really interesting question as the motivation behind my first act before I even decided on the music was to get the message across that disability is just the ability to do things differently. If you are affected by an illness or condition you can still do the things you love.  I thought my first obstacle would be finding a teacher who would work with the “mad woman” and her mobility scooter now affectionately known as Luscious Legs.  However, Saph Rox was not phased at all and I felt very welcome as part of the course.  Saph and all the other participants in the course were lovely, especially as I had only had my scooter for a matter of weeks so was very aware of using it.  Since then I have probably been disregarded when I have applied for shows due to using a mobility scooter and producers being worried about health and safety and me being on the stage.  I do understand this, but would love the opportunity to discuss first as my scooter is very compact and light.  My hubby is always with me if the stage kitten needed help.  I can always adapt as I need to in order to perform, for example, when I went to perform at the Bollinger Club for the first time earlier this year the stage was much smaller than I expected so I just did some pre-show preparations and made the act work by starting of the stage so that there was sufficient space on the stage for Pixie Rider and Luscious Legs. The Performance went off without a hitch.  On a positive note Burlesque Idol did contact me and asked me a couple of questions which I was able to answer quickly and then I was given a slot in the September 2017 heat they were really excited to have my act as they have not had an act with a mobility scooter before.  I have not had any bad reactions from performers in fact just encouragement and positive comments from performers including Diva Hollywood, L’Amour le Monde and Rosie Glow. In fact I have made many friends.  I am now friends with other performers who use mobility aids in America through Facebook.  I work for a charity so I only go so far with the strip for that reason and also because it works for me as part of the act as I use parts of my costume to get the message about disability across. Burlesque is so varied that each performer is an individual.  I have also attended workshops with different well known burlesque artists and have always been made to feel welcome.  I do believe however, that there is a need for some open and honest conversations with producers to help me have the same opportunities as all other performers. Equal opportunities is not about treating each individual the same it is about ensuring that the playing field is level for everybody. For example, if the stage is too small for the scooter can my act be done in front of the stage and will the audience still see my performance?  If you are booking a venue for a workshop check that the building is disabled friendly and that if the studio is on the 1st or 2nd floor there is a lift, don’t assume that all dancers will be fully mobile.  Let’s encourage all people who want to perform irrelevant of any disabilities; it just takes some thought, remember not all conditions and illnesses are visible at first glance.