- Parent Category: Music and Guitar Blog
- Category: Burlesque
- Published on Monday, 13 June 2011 02:45
It was my first time in Vegas, which is enough of a story in itself, but also my first time to the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, which is the preeminent burlesque festival in North America. Needless to say I had a fantastic time.
The festival took place at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. It's a nice enough place a few blocks off the strip. I got tired of all the blinking lights and sounds from the slot machines, but certainly not tired of all the wonderful and beautiful people who were there for the festival.
One of the most fun things about this festival for me is how everyone dresses up so well. It's one of the reasons I got involved in burlesque, among other obvious reasons, but to me I love to dress up, especially in vintage clothing, suits, ties, etc, so I've always felt like this community is a pretty good fit for me.
Of course there were many of the usual casino vacationers there, who were often left with baffled expressions on their faces as we pranced by in our bow ties, white patent leather shoes, and ladies in their elaborate dresses and crinolines, hair and lipstick, boas and fans. It was quite fun to see these tourists wonder what the heck we were all about.
But of course the real reason we were there was for the festival. And it was truly awe inspiring. So many incredibly talented and creative performers all in one show.
What stood for me the most was the quality of the boylesque. I was truly blown away. The style is totally different from Vancouver boylesque, which tends to go for funny and silly. These performances were so different. Some of the best included the Stage Door Johnnies who are all highly trained dancers and clearly spend a lot of time in the gym. They were both athletic and artistic.
I know some of the Vancouver boylesque performers say it's hard, if not impossible, for the boys to do sexy numbers. Well, the performers in Vegas certainly prove that statement wrong.
And of course there were the ladies. There were so many wonderful performances, including by Vancouver's very own Melody Mangler, and the Razzle Tazzle Tease Show with Melody Mangler, April O'Peel, and Violette Femme. It was also wonderful to see Canada's "Grand Beaver" of burlesque, Judith Stein, perform in the Legends show on the Friday night.
Other highlights of the trip include the Burlesque pool party, which is when all the burlesque performers and community invade the pool of the Orleans dressed in vintage bathing suits, and other fabulousness. Where do they get all these vintage-style bathing suits? Most of them are custom made. There were two people at the pool party dressed as sharks.
I wish I taken more photos but I was honestly just a bit mesmerized by it all I didn't snap many at all.
My only disappointment is that there is a serious lack of live music in the festival, but that is true for most burlesque today. And it's my personal goal to try to fix that, even just a little. I did some networking and met some influential people. So who knows? Maybe BHOF 2012 will include some live music by yours truly.
The desert and Red Rock Canyon
Vegas is a really noisy town, and I would probably never go there if weren't for this festival. I did manage to get away from it all for an afternoon when the lovely Miss Sugarpuss drove me out to the desert to see Red Rock Canyon. We walked right out into the desert, sat in the middle of it and listened to the silence together. It was a beautiful time. No flashing lights, no beeping slot machines, just us and the earth.
I also managed to some research for my own shows. I went to the "Rat Pack is Back" show at the Plaza, which was fantastic. They have a band that is very similar to the Blue Morris Swing Band, except they don't have guitar. They play some of the same Sinatra charts that I have in my book. It was great to hear a band play the same charts, and this band plays them about five nights a week!
I was jotting down some ideas that inspired me during the show, and one of rather burly bouncers in a tuxedo came up to me and said in a surly voice, "Why you writin' things down?." I explained that I am a musician from Vancouver, not a competitor. He said, "We don't allow no one to write things down." So I apologized and put my book away.
I also saw the Beatles Show! a live music Beatles tribute show. Again, a very good band. It must to great to be able to play the music on such a regular basis. A band could get so tight that way. That is, after all, how the Beatles got so good having spent so many nights playing in the clubs of Hamburg.
They also had a wide array of guitars, all the same guitars that the Beatles used throughout the years. I am not drooling over the 12-string Rickenbackers. These shows have money to invest. So the guitars and the costumes and the set design was fantastic.
I can't wait for next year!