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A Year in Burlesque – 2011 wrap-up

It’s sad that in 2011, I don’t think I’d blogged at all.  I have kept a journal since I was old enough to write, and it is somewhat upsetting that I did not record a thing from 2011.  2011 was a break out year for me, so I am going to try and recall everything that happened that left me loving my life this year.

In January, Ann Gora and I headed up North to perform at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret (and pick up a 4th place finish at Geek Bowl V).  I wanted to continue working out the Jackie Kennedy act that I had debuted for Halloween 2010.  My troupe, audience and other performers had given me such positive feedback on it that I felt that I needed to really work on it at every opportunity.

February rolled around to the Fifth Annual Southwest Burlesque Showcase. Guests from previous years included Coco Lectric, Bobbie Burlesque, Sophia Sirena, Flame Cynders, Scarlet Letter, and new to New Mexico, Red Hot Annie, Cha Cha Velour, Vi Vacious, and more. Burlesque Noir reprised our Sorority Girl/Freddy and Jason Make a Porno act – a 10 minute number recalling the campy horror films of the 80s.  I brought Jackie Kennedy to the big stage – this time with some new costuming and some changes in staging – again the piece was very well received.

March found us flying to Chicago to perform at the 2nd Annual Windy City Burlesque Fest.  I had the pleasure of traveling with General Blackery and Isis.  Our gracious host and festival producer, Red Hot Annie, put us up and helped us get around Chicago.  We had our first time exposure to the Stage Door Johnnies and MANY wonderful Midwest performers.  We believe the total was 108 acts in 30 hours.  Great time, great food and drinks and so many incredible acts were highlights of the trip.

April took me down a new course that I hadn’t anticipated; a new opportunity for me and my career as a performer.  I had been asked to accept a promotion to headliner for the Great Burlesque Exposition, alongside the Shanghai Pearl and Jo “Boobs” Weldon.  WHAT!?  This was my first moment feeling like this little burlesque hobbyist didn’tbelong in the company of burlesque stars.  My Jackie Kennedy act went well and I had a wonderful time (as always) in Cambridge.  It is a bittersweet moment in retrospect that I was able to take some classes with Burlesque Legend  Joan Arline “The Sexquire Girl” who passed away only a few months later.

Our plane had hardly touched down in Albuquerque before we went on to our next adventure, Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey were at my house 2 days after returning from Boston and we were hosting a special Wednesday night with them in Albuquerque.  What a hit that show was!  It also was great that they closed the evening with “Total Eclipse of the Heart” a personal favorite that I had shared every chance I could after seeing it win at Exotic World.

In May, Ms. Talullah St. James called  me up to perform an older act at one of the Zircus Erotique shows.  I did my Paint It Black number and had such a blast!!!  This show kind of brought that act back for me, and now I am trying to get it out there more because it is just so much fun.

June came and brought Burlesque Noir Presents:  Red Hot Burlesque Summer starring Hot Pink Feather, Kellita from San Francisco.  We had met Kellita in Chicago and discussed having her come out to see us and perform at a show.  Kellita was a wonderful guest and incredible talent to perform with Burlesque Noir.

July is always and will always be reserved for Colorado Burlesque Festival.  This year, New Mexico was represented at least once at each of the five shows at CBF and I am so proud to share a State with our local performers.  Burlesque Noir kicked things off on Thursday night with our Dragula number, Zircus Erotique, Kitty Irreverent and Vivian MirAnn all took to the stage for the Friday late night.  On Saturday, Tallulah St. James performed her empress number and finally Mena Domina and General Blackery shut down the Sunday pool party.

I found myself speechless upon hearing my personal place in Colorado Burlesque Festival.  I was selected to perform Jackie Kennedy on Friday’s exclusive VIP night.  While not the biggest show for CBF, it was certainly the best of the best.  I was told this night was reserved for headliners, producers and a handful of the best acts submitted for the festival.  I was billed alongside every wonderful and beautiful performer whom I’d admired for years.  After the show, one woman in the audience thanked me for the Jackie number, she was old enough to remember the assassination, and we cried together.  It was truly the most touching moment of my career as a performer.  As I was flying home, I was stopped by a TSA security screener.  I thought, “This can’t be good.”  Actually, the TSA agent happened to be in the audience at Lannie’s for the Jackie performance.  She spotted me from a few stations over and wanted to personally thank me for the act.  Wow.

At the end of July, Reigning Queen of Burlesque, Miss Indigo Blue paid NM a visit and taught some classes.  She also requested pulled pork for dinner.  I can’t stand BBQ but made an exception for a queen!  Since she was here, I proposed she come headline at Southwest Burlesque Showcase 2012.  Proposal accepted!  What an honor to have her return to New Mexico and hit the stage with us in February, 2012.

In August, I was booked for two shows in Colorado.  Friday night, Mr. Valdez’s (of Peaks and Pasties) show in Colorado Springs.  Saturday night, Pierre’s late show at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret in Denver.  I couldn’t have timed my trip any better.  It turns out Inga Ingenue happened to be in Colorado Springs that weekend as well.  Lola Spitfire told me that Saturday morning Inga was teaching a class, we stopped by the Hot Rod Ho-Down to grab some breakfast and take Inga’s class.  After class, my plan was to drive up to Denver but Lola convinced me to stick around and perform for her burlesque show at HRHD that night.  I protested that I needed to go perform in Denver, but Lola said “Inga is doing both. So can you.”  I caved to the peer pressure; we wrapped up the show in Springs and raced up to Lannie’s.  They were halfway through the night already, but on the plus side my makeup and hair were already done.  So this was my first experience performing 2 shows, two different cities, one night.  All alongside someone I admire in burlesque!

September brought us back to Colorado Springs.  This time, Burlesque Noir traveled up North to perform our signature blacklight number     T-36DD at Satan Angel‘s Birthday Party with Peaks and Pasties.  We got to take classes with Satan’s Angel and Foxy Tann; I also debuted my new balloon act, Little April Showers on the giant and beautiful stage of the Stargazers Theater.  It’s a huge Geodesic Dome!

November we returned to our usual production mode for Burlesque Noir Presents: Martini Time! The show starred Midnite Martini, Peggy Tulane, and Honey Touché from Denver, CO.  These are three of the first ladies I’d ever met in the Colorado Burlesque scene and we enjoyed having them come down to visit and perform with us.

Finally in 2012, Burlesque Noir had some new performers join us and we are so happy they’re here!  We can’t wait to see what Joy Coy, Ginger Balls, Annie O’Roar, and Shelly Sequinz bring to the stage this year.

Happy 2012!  I look forward to all I can accomplish in the New Year.  I do hope to continue to create acts that are brave and bold.

 

Burlesque Noir in Boston!

This trip was a bit crazy, I’m not going to lie.

We all had flown in separately but had lined up hotel rooms… or so I thought.

I was in North Carolina to find out one of our rooms had been canceled. It took my one hour and 45 minute layover, tears, and anger to get it straightened out. I am kind of convinced that I will never stay at another Hyatt again. Except of course to go back to The Great Boston Burlesque Exposition.

First and foremost, I was impressed with how organized the convention was. They had a computer system and they also printed out name tags for everyone.

Friday night was the Legend’s showcase. I always love to go to these shows. I find it such an honor to see the legends perform. It was also an honor to witness the declaration of April 10th as Lily Ann Rose day in Cambridge!

After the Legend’s showcase was the pool party. Here is Bettie and I in our super cute swim suits:
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The rumors had gone around that several of the Boston ladies were amazed that we flew all the way out from NM to do their show. *blush*

And the Saturday begins! We chilled out in the hotel room and decided to try and youtube some of the performers. We found The Incredible Edible Akynos and youtube and LOVED her!

We had tech rehearsal. It was a pleasure to meet Akynos and Hypergender Burlesque at tech rehearsal. These ladies were supportive, interesting, and fun! We nearly had a minor heart attack after having a slight possibility of not being able to use our black lights. Our tech rehearsal was okay but none of us were pleased. We found an empty room and went back to rehearse. It worked out well that Sin’s sister in law is a dance instructor and could help us make some last minute adjustments.

After that everything went by really fast!

Bettie and I locked ourselves in the bathroom to curl our hair and do our makeup. It was shocking that her and I were ready before everyone else. That never happens.

One of the greatest things about this show was the cheering squad that had come out to Boston to see us. Camile L’Teaux had joined us and had invited her friend from Boston to come as well. 4 people from Sunshyne’s family drove down from Jersey to see us. Sin’s sister in law was an absolute doll who not only came to see us but helped us every step of the way. My sister in law came down with her boyfriend. We had quite a little cheering squad, it was pretty darn awesome!

Backstage was a bit nerve wracking. Looking back, we must have stuck out quite a bit. Everyone else is putting on sequins, feathers, and sparkles. Then there is us, in hoodies and cargo pants. There isn’t one sequin or one Swarovski on us.

We were on the bottom of the program list so we did get to see most of the pieces which were wholly very great. Before I realized it, it was time to go back stage and get ready to go on stage.

Back stage I had a lovely conversation with Red Snapper and Scarlett Letter from LA. I didn’t find myself getting exceedingly nervous until we walked on stage.

Music starts. We start. Okay. Music skips. Keep going. Music skips again. And again. And again. Okay, cut the piece. Scratch walks on stage and buys some time until they can get our music together… it worked fine in tech rehearsal? Okay music back on. Start this piece!

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I found myself nervous on stage during the piece. The end comes up and the music just stops. Fortunately, we all kept going and kept it on beat until the end. As we walked off stage to the beat, I peeked out into the audience and noticed we got a standing ovation. Not to mention that several of the judges stood up.

I walked off stage disappointed in my personal performance… however, it might be fine when I see the tape, I’m not sure. I think it partially felt awkward because of the music glitches. We gathered our stuff, squealed a few times, and changed. We went back into the audience and sat in the back with the rest of the performers. So many of the performers turned to us and told us how great the piece was. I started to feel like I was on cloud 9.

The show ended and we took at 20 minute break to give the judges some time to figure out the scores. The entire highlight of the trip starts here! So many people approached me and the rest of the girls to compliment us. I felt like a rock star in a completely different way than how I have felt before at any other show. Its always nice to get a great crowd reaction in Albuquerque however, this time it was out of state with an audience that had never heard of Burlesque Noir and possibly had no idea where Albuquerque was. It was also incredibly amazing to hear from our peers and the legends how much they enjoyed us.

Now it was the moment of awards. First off, Scratch the MC had made a comment to the audience that there is burlesque everywhere, he looked at us and said, “Where are you all from again.” In unison we all screamed, “Albuquerque”. The legends stood up and gave their picks for their favorite piece. Then the awards for Most Humorous was given to HyperGender Burlesque, Most Classic was awarded to Lucy Buttons, and Most Beautiful was presented to Honeysuckle Duvet (and let me tell you she was awesome!). Only two awards left… the big ones. Best Troupe… the woman gave a bit of an introduction and I still wasn’t sure if we had gotten it or not. Then she announced our name, “Burlesque Noir”. In unison we all squealed and made our way to the stage. Then they announced the best soloist and it was none other than The Incredible, Edible Akynos! Woo!

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Here is my favorite photo with the legends and some of the other winners and performers:
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Back to the hotel room for partying!

Here was the beautiful view from our balcony that evening:
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We did what we usually do to celebrate our successes and watched our videos. LOLZ. We also shared with each other the different compliments we all receieved individually. My favorite was hearing that Candy Carmello, one of the legends, had told two of the ladies that she wished she had had two legend awards to give because she would have given the other one to us. The reason she chose to give it to the other lady was because she already knew we had won.

I had to drink from the trophy… partially with the thought to send it to someone who thought she was too good for a group of fat girls:
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I spent Sunday with my sister and watched the newcomer’s showcase. I greeted Monday with exhaustion. We started to fly home and unfortunately got stuck an extra night in Cleveland. :/

One of the best parts about coming home was seeing the amount of times people had reposted that we had won! I was astonished at how supportive Albuquerque can be. It is also awesome to hear that we have new fans here in town because of this!

Here is the montage video featuring some of the performers and most of the winners:





We are towards the end in blacklight. Akynos is towards the beginning in the beautiful gold feather headdress.

When I get a copy of the actual video I will be having a viewing night at my house. I can’t imagine it will be too long now since this montage came out so quickly.

We are invited to come back next year to perform at the Friday night Legend’s showcase and I get to judge the Main event!


I guess everything went wrong that trip… except for the most important thing… fulfilling a dream to perform in front of my peers and not only being recognized for our hard work but being rewarded for it.

I am waiting for the MEW announcement. I don’t honestly think that we will get accepted but a part of me is still holding my breath.

OHMIGAWD!

We freakin won Best Burlesque Troupe at Boston Burlesque Festival!

Boston or BUST

We have *so* much luggage. I wish I could take a photo but we packed the camera in said luggage because we are out of carry ons.

We are checking three bags. I am carrying on my costume bag and purse, and david has his laptop and his backpack. I have never had to pack to perform out of town before and its *a lot*. We had to individual price the merch and pack it up and I had to pack my costume in a carry on.

OH GOOD LORD.

This is Burlesque Noir’s first performance outside of NM. I am anxious, nervous, and excited all at once. This is pretty much a goal of mine and I am just amazed that its actually happening! Its a competition as well which makes me even more anxious, nervous, and excited!

I love all of our fans, supporters, and volunteers that have gotten us to this point.

<3

Burlesque Noir in Pictures

As mentioned previously, I have been so lucky to find such wonderful people to help me in this endeavor. One of the very fortunate aspects in BN has been that it has all been caught on film. I really appreciate all of the friends who have shot our shows for the past 4 years. I am also thankful for the strangers (who are now friends) who have come out to shoot our shows.

Just about every show there is always one or two shots that stand out to me in the group of photos that a photographer releases to me. I always refer to it as “the money shot.” It usually is a different girl each time and I love when the photographer captures everything that BN is to me.

Here is what that is:

Holly Rebelle First show and I can’t remember the name, May 2005 Photo by Chris Slocumb:
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Emmy Mayhem, Samedi de Fetiche June 2005 by Chris Slocumb:
aka “Bringing the Blood to Burlesque”

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Molotov Cocktease, Winter WonderLust December 2005 by Chris Slocumb:

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Butterflies, Winter WonderLust December 2005 by Chris Slocumb:

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Hot Wheelz, Happy Birthday BN I want to say May 2006 Photo by Chris Slocumb

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Isis, May 2006 Photo by Chris Slocumb

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Back when we did shows at the District, Missy La Lewd 2006, Photo by Aaron Snowden

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We always have great maids, 2006 Charlotte Rose, Photo by Aaron Snowden:

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I also really enjoy very artistic shots, Boolesque Spooktacular 2006, Photo by Aaron Snowden:

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Hot Wheelz, Boolesque Spooktacular 2006 Photo by Aaron Snowden:

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One of the Crawls, ummmm 2007 I think? Holly Rebelle, Photo by Aaron Snowden:

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Holly Rebelle, ummm 2007 at the Free Radicals Party, Photo by Desert Penguin Photography:

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Now I am losing what year is what! Lol!

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JJ Pearls 2008?

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And other times the photographers catch really silly moments:

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Last year at Southwest Burlesque Showcase:
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Some of them photobucket has deleted. Anyway, these are just a snippet of my memories. Hopefully more to come!

-HR

Burlesque Noir

I am not sure exactly where to begin to blog my experience in burlesque. I think the best thing to do is just start writing. :) Let me introduce myself.

My name is Holly Rebelle and I have for the past 5 years run the local burlesque troupe, Burlesque Noir. I got the idea after seeing local classic burlesque girls shake their thing at a fetish show I was part of. I loved what they did but felt I wanted to do a modern burlesque troupe that used modern music and themes. I also wanted to incorporate group choreographed numbers. My experience in dance ranged from classic ballet to flag line. I really felt I was up to the challenge.

I started out doing a solo act for a local fetish show that was looking for some filler. I was added in last minute and created a piece in a few days in my living room. My living room has since become BN headquarters. The piece was to Chris De Burgh’s Patricia the Stripper. The song was introduced to me by a coworker while sitting in her car. All I could think about was doing a burlesque piece to the song. Here was my opportunity. I was incredibly nervous. My body was no longer in the shape it was when I had been dancing regularly and I had had a baby less than a year before. It turned out that I had a wonderful performance experience and I craved more.

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I have to admit, I wasn’t prepared for the popularity and success of the company. In 2005 we started out as a side act to a fetish troupe. By the end of the year, we produced our own show Winter WonderLust that sold out. I can’t forget several guest performers coming up to me and saying, “My friends are outside and can’t get in because the Launchpad is at capacity.” This company has become my other child. It has me laughing and crying, it breaks my heart and sends it pounding, it gives me frustration and satisfaction. I am starting to wonder how I could live without it.

Our first flier, that has now become a coveted privilege to be the model on and a fun collector’s item around town:

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Burlesque Noir has always been a group project. I think that’s where the success in it has been. I give my performers room to choreograph, costume, and lend ideas. I also learned that a project like this is all about who you know and what they do.

I was fortunate enough to stumble upon Cicatrix Design in the beginning off of a social networking site. She simply just volunteered her time. She has been my rock, my help, and oftentimes my sanity in this endeavor. She has also taught me and a handful of the ladies how to sew over the past few years. I am ever indebted to her.

I also met Tony Travis along the way. He become my gay husband and gave me so much help in this. He created many beautiful pieces to add to the Burlesque Noir repertoire. His organization helped me along to get our shows up and running. If I was Captain Picard he was my Number 1. I was sad that we have since parted. I miss him dearly.

I also got 6 performers in the beginning who were brave enough to take a chance on an up and coming burlesque troupe. I will never forget them, Bettie Danger, Lucy St. James, Miss La Lewd, Emmy Mayhem, Cherry Automatic, and Lil’ Heathen. Since then the troupe has had as many as 14 performers and they all have been unique and brought something that has helped create Burlesque Noir.

Bettie Danger and Strix with me in a very early photoshoot with Ruben:
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I have also been fortunate to come across a slew of very talented photographers whose work has created fliers and show photographs. When I thought about what to write about I simply opened my two photobucket accounts to look at the memories. I could never write down everything that has happened in this project, but so many people have caught it on film.

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We have produced I think maybe 10 shows on our own as well as guest performing around town. We have produced over 100 original numbers. Lately my sights have been set on performing nationally. There are several burlesque conventions around the world that I would love to get into. My resolution for 2009 was to apply to several of them in hopes that someone will take a chance on us to perform at their event.

Burlesque Noir also participates in the Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Please visit our team’s page to make a donation this year.

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That’s a brief overview of Burlesque Noir. I hope to update a few more times in the next two weeks leading up to the Southwest Burlesque Showcase!

Does Anybody Make Real Shit Anymore?

Every show experience is new and unique.

This is by far no exception. And perhaps a little more unique than usual.

If it wasn’t for the super amazing edition of boylesk (has Albuquerque seen boylesk at all?) I might just bust out in tears.

Oh and the amazing news that there will be 9 Star Wars characters walking up and down the aisles. That should make any girl with a Rebel tattoo happy.

It will be over before I know it.

I hope that to see some of you on Friday. I could really use the support this time around.

And waiting to find out about MEW is causing me a bit of nail biting so to speak. Apparently we should know late Friday night by email and I will be nekid and nerdy. Hmmmmm… at least I will have a dozen gals around me as I check the email.