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Julian Ledezma

Burlesque Fest packs rhinestones, fire-eating and all sorts of surprises in between

'Most Naked Woman' Set to Shimmy at San Antonio Burlesque Festival

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2011:08:27 23:11:58

Michelle L'Amour

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


The answer came unanimously without prompting or hesitation, as if sent straight from the sexually liberated goddess of serendipity.

“Sequins or fringe?”

“Rhinestones.”

Two men consider this question and then another query—just how many rhinestones is it possible to squeeze onto one jacket, exactly?

“San Antonio is all about glitz, glam, big hair and breakfast tacos,” says local performer Jasper St. James, as he fondly describes the burlesque scene of the city. “There is a level of pristine that other places have that we don’t care about, but we do love the sparkles.”

“I wish I were as sparkly as you,” sighs fellow ‘boylesque’ performer Dino Foxx, gazing admiringly at his cohort.

Our city currently boasts only a few prominent burlesque troupes including Le Strange Sideshow, Stars and Garters Burlesque, and Pastie Pops Burlesque. The groups regularly perform at venues across town, including Fitzgerald’s, The Korova and the Josephine Theatre. James and Foxx are two of a handful of San Antonio producers responsible for the upcoming San Antonio Burlesque Festival, now in its third year of existence.

A two-day showcase scheduled for the first weekend in August, SABF promises some of the best acts from across the country in addition to local favorites. The Friday Night Showcase will feature performances by Gaige, Foxxy Blue Orchid, Coco Lectric and Jasper St. James, as well as farewell performances by the current reigning Queen and King of San Antonio Burlesque, Olympia DeWinter and Stephan (no, not Saturday Night Live’s famous club kid character). Saturday will be an evening of headliners competing for a number of titles. Among the notable names are Waxie Moon of Seattle and Michelle L’amour of Chicago.

As if all that sparkle packed into one theater for two days weren’t enough, burlesque novices can also learn from the pros via workshops like “P*ssy Confidence” and “Booty Lab,” which requires participants to wear very comfortable clothing.

Classically associated with performers like Gypsy Rose Lee, Tempest Storm and Dita Von Teese, burlesque is recognizable to many but understood by few. The connotation of the word inspires the image of a tartish pinup doll shaking it seductively in a larger-than-life martini glass—and by that, I essentially mean Cameron Diaz in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.

“It’s one of those things that you need to see to understand,” prominent burlesque performer Michelle L’amour told the Current in an email. Hailing from Illinois, L’amour currently holds the title of “Most Naked Woman” and caused a stir this year for her viral twerking video “Buttoven’s 5th Symphony.”

 

 

She observed, “There are many poorly produced burlesque shows that pay a major disservice to burlesque. It’s very hard for me to convince someone that they will like what they see if they’ve seen something of the amateur sort. You have to win the audience immediately.”

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