(At 7 O’clock this morning, right on schedule, my eyes popped open without aid of an alarm clock. My body knows what’s up, as if I could actually hear the rhythm of the second line pumping in the distance. Zulu is rolling, Rex is on deck, and it’s time to get into a suit and hope to snag a coconut. I’ll be hugging my friends down on St. Charles and will be half in the bag by 10 am. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, get a-Googling—it’s Mardi Gras Day. Sadly, we couldn’t make it to New Orleans for Carnival this year, but we are blessed to have friends in the area, friends who follow the local burlesque scene and who have been making us green with Facebook posts all Carnival season. It’s nice to hear about what you’re missing. If you’re a member of the burlesque community, or just an enthusiast, and aren’t familiar with Mardi Gras culture, you’re missing a thread that can bring you closer to understanding sacred space, transformation, and the simple art of having a great time, what the Thais call “sanuk” and what is sadly overlooked in much of Western life. Carnival 2013 is February 12, and it ain’t about frat boys screaming “show your tits.” Start planning now. Big ups to all my peeps in New Orleans, and HAPPY MARDI GRAS Y’ALL! —EDs)
By Sean K. Young
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Well that didn’t take long. I said in my previous post, the Burly Q may be my new vice and just a scant two weeks later there I was front and center for the latest Slow Burn show. According to their web site, “Thrilling, exciting, over the top, outrageous, crazy, and cool are just a few of the ways to describe Slow Burn Burlesque” … and they mean it. This time they were back with a wild tribute lampooning our country ‘tis of thee with “Slow Burn Does America”.
The evening started off with the venerable Ben Wisdom channeling a greasy evangelist cum politician. On a day that our beloved Saints lost their way, he worked a somewhat sullen crowd into a mild frenzy. Running on a platform of perversion, I for one was ready to elect him to whatever office he wanted to hold.
Moxie Sazerac, who just might have the prettiest smile in burlesque, kicked off the evening with a drunken Lady Liberty routine, danced appropriately to Laura Shaffer’s rendition of “Guilty.” Politician Ben joined her on stage to shower her with money, making the whoring statue the perfect vision of the United States of Excess.
Ben effortlessly kept the show moving between acts and slipped more and more into his reverend alter ego. Can I get a “hallelujah,” Roxie le Rouge was up next.
Now for those of you that read my last post, you may have gotten the idea that I am a bit smitten with Roxie. You may be right. Roxie took us to Chinatown with her sexy Chop Suey – Chow Mein act, climbing out of a giant takeout box in a dishy corset and tutu. As that tutu came off exposing her steamed buns, I wondered if I would be able to find dim sum of this quality when I traveled to San Francisco the following week.
As fantastic as Roxie was, I was blown away by our next dancer. Dressed as a crazed steampunk era voodoo priestess, Nona Narcisse danced to a Nina Simone/Animals mix of “House of the Rising Sun”. The song was mixed by local artistan, Jian Bastille, who is rumored to be proficient in all art forms. Nona’s dance had a musicality to it that I had not seen before. Jian overlaid mechanical sounds in the mix and somehow Nona made wind-up, tik-tok movements sensuous. Granted, that fact that Nona has an unbelievable body and she was half-naked didn’t hurt, but still, it was crazy hot.
The rest of the evening just kept the goodness coming. Ruby Rage was a country cutie whose boots were made for walking. She’ll be making an appearance at the Dallas Burlesque Festival the first weekend in February, and I know she’ll do New Orleans proud. Ginger Licious gave us a sultry number while making southern sweet tea – now this kind of Tea Party I could get used to! The tea bag tassels were a nice touch, and I am certain that I have never seen a lemon squeezed in that way.
I was not sure what could be more outrageous than Lady Lucerne’s pregnant redneck persona giving birth on stage until she had fireworks shooting out of her ass – literally. It was outstanding! She provided additional comic relief with her Rebel flag emblazoned with “Yankee Go Home….With Me.”
Slow Burn had two special guests that evening; Jason Moffett, who with a broken hand, still managed to balance 5 chairs on his chin and Replicant Girl of SINGE. If you have not seen Replicant Girl’s act, she is usually found spinning fire precariously close to her body. On this evening however, she was twirling glowing neon dildos. I am sure club kids everywhere were jealous.
It would be remiss if I did not mention Moxie’s second dance of the evening. Performing as “Morte Sazerac” dressed in a civil war uniform, Moxie danced to “Dustbowl Dance” by Mumford and Sons. Every time I have seen Moxie (all two times) she has been cute, playful, and theatrical, but this time she was fucking hot. Hot with a capital H.
So there you have it, I am hooked. As vices go, burlesque is one that I am sure I can handle. 2012 may turn out to be quite an interesting year. With Mardi Gras around the corner, it is time to see what other bits of fun I can sink my teeth into.
New to the burlesque scene, Sean K. Young is the managing partner of a New Orleans-based I.T. firm. His creative pursuits are usually in the kitchen or behind the bar, but he is thankful to the New Orleans burlesque scene for a newfound passion.
All photos ©Tonya Armbruster and used with express permission by Burlesque Beat.Performers may use shots for promotional purposes, but please credit properly with photographer’s full name and a link to this piece in all instances. Performers who would like hi-rez images, get in touch.