Archive | February, 2011

Burlesque Warrior Part II

27 Feb

I was back stage last night at a burlesque show, not dancing, just stopped by to see some of my favourite girls who were. Backstage is always so electric, so kinetic. Glitter, feathers, wine out of paper cups and discarded tit tape wrappers. Somehow, the conversation took a turn, story after story poured out of each of us, about violence. I don’t know why, but what seems to unite us all, is that we are survivors. No wait, not survivors. We’re fucking fighters.

We do what we do because it is powerful and joyful, sometimes brutal, sometimes painful. Like a life lived. There seems to be some darkness on the edge of the scene, and I think that right now it is so important that we pull together and care for each other. This is a time to fight and rise. And rise we will.

Erzulie Freda - Lwa of Love


Boylesque Boom

22 Feb

A journalist from Harlot Magazine asked me for my thoughts on Boylesque, this is what I sent her:

British Burlesque has been booming for the last few years, and one of the most interesting sub-genres has been Boylesque. I wouldn’t event call it a sub-genre any more, but simply a part of the Burlesque scene. When the word Burlesque came to mean Strip-Tease in America in the 1940’s and 50’s, men had an integral part to the stage show. They were the comedians and the straight men, telling bawdy jokes while the stage was cleared or the scenery altered. They kept the crowd hot and ready for the next bump and grinder to take to the stage. Men like Bozo Lord and Happy Hyatt. From the 90’s to now, New York has led the scene with MCs/Performers like Scotty the Blue Bunny towering in 7 inch stripper shoes and a blue lycra bunny suit.


Scotty the Blue Bunny



This is a happy reflection of New York Burlesque’s firm footing in its queer roots with Divas like Dirty Martini and World Famous *BOB*.


The Bodacious Dirty Martini


The really cool thing now is that there are men taking up striptease with Burlesque costume and timing in a step away from the whole Chippendale’s schtick, in the same way that women performers have appropriated Burlesque as a step away from the type of stripping popularised in titty bars and lap dancing clubs. Major Suttle-Tease and Buck Fast have really upped the ante not just for Boylesquers but for the whole Burlesque scene, with funny, sexy, well choreographed routines.


Super Fine - Buck Fast



The average Burlesque audience is 50% female and 50% male. I think that women enjoy a burlesque show for the glamour, the costumes and maybe a touch of voyerism. When you get a guy on stage to booty shake along side the rest of us, most women will notice a damn fine looking man, but he’s still got to put on a great show. Perhaps the playing field is levelled across the audience.

I teach Burlesque workshops in Bristol and I rarely get men asking to join my workshops. Truthfully, I’d be reluctant to have a man attend as the workshops are a safe, female orientated sphere for the girls to really cut loose in! I think many men have yet to realise that the stockings and corsets version of Burlesque is not the only kind and would be surprised to find that there are male Burlesque performers.

I have, however, given some one to one tuition to men and I know of other teachers who teach workshops exclusively for Drag Queens, Transexuals and Transvestites and I think that’s awesome. The men that I have taught always do it for the same reason 90% of the women I teach, they want to bust a sexy move for their partner. I guess deep down, we’re all the same.

What I would really like to see next, is more Drag King acts, that’s when the sexual boundaries we impose really start to come down! I have had the pleasure of working with New Orleans Drag King Troupe, The Crescent City Kings on a few occasions and I am always blown away by their sometimes comedic, sometimes tragic pastiche of men and women. I think that what the UK Burlesque scene needs is our own Murray Hill!


Murray Hill

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