By Sean K. Young
Saturday, June 30, 2012
The House of Blues, New Orleans
How was this my first Bustout show? How could six months in the New Orleans burlesque scene have such a glaring omission? How have I not gone to the show chosen as one of the top 10 burlesque shows in the world by the Travel Channel? Yes, I know, I know. I went to the Queens of Burlesque show put on by the Bustout folks, but somehow it’s not the same.
Bustout is probably the most tourist-friendly show in New Orleans. I mean seriously, it’s at the House of Blues in the French Quarter–can you get more touristy? It also generally keeps the freakiness to a minimum, sticking to a more classic 1950s-style variety show. Lucky for me it is a variety show with some of the hottest women on the planet and on this night, the freak factor was amped with the addition of Dahktur Sick and a couple of Bustout newcomers.
The cynic in me wants to rail against the HOB, but honestly it is a great venue with an awesome stage and some of the best lighting in town–look at Tonya’s pics for proof. The nice thing about a stage this size is that it easily accommodates a live band. I LOVE LOVE LOVE what a band adds to a burlesque show. The kindred energy between musicians and performers can be invigorating, and Bustout gets it right.
As this was my first Bustout, I was stoked to finally see Dante as an emcee. I have seen his magic act and he is great. Needless to say, I was surprised when the Dahktur took the stage. As I discovered, Sick was more than up for the task. Just cheesy enough, just dirty enough, and certainly twisted enough. The man walked on broken glass…literally (freak factor ampage), and turned out to be one hell of a fiddle player. I STILL cannot get that damn Stolichnaya song out of my head…
Not the best you can buy-ya
But the best you can drink when you’re alone
If you’re ever in a rut
Stolichnaya in your gut
You can drink Stolichnaya all day long
Our first dancer of the evening was the always effervescent Praline DuPree. She pranced out on stage sporting spectacles, a poodle skirt and smile that could stop a man in his tracks. This girl knows how to tease and work a crowd, lifting her skirt, just a little, to reveal a deliciously praline-colored thigh. Oh that thigh! The naughty schoolgirl fantasy was in full effect as Praline ripped off the cutesy skirt to reveal her garters and stockings, eventually bearing all. I don’t want to sound too lecherous, but holy crap this girl has a body on her. There is a certain someone whose best booty in New Orleans may be in contention. Just saying.
We were privileged this evening to have the reigning Queen of New Orleans Burlesque in the house, Miss Ginger Valentine. I think at this point it is safe to say that my fickle school boy crush has jumped onto the Ginger train. Ginger has somehow perfected the come-hither stare into a hypnotic gaze that just sucks you right in. I could not stop smiling as I watched her shake her tail feather in a fan dance that was simply divine.
A couple of the regular Bustout girls were performing tonight, Athena and Perle Noire. Having seen them in the Queens show, I thought I knew what to expect, but Athena surprised me with a straight strip, no singing, and while I really liked her routine as a voodoo priestess, I have to admit, I find her infinitely more sexy when she opens her mouth and that beautiful voice pours out rich and powerful. When her fantastic, barely-clad body glides across the stage singing, “I Just Wanna Make Love To You”, the audience quietly swoons. As for Perle, what can be said that already hasn’t? J.D. thinks if you’re not a little scared of her, you aren’t paying attention. I know I am paying attention and I am scared. Perle moves with the control and power of an Olympic gymnist. She is reminiscent of a praying mantis—not because she is insectoid, but because I am pretty sure she will eat your head when she is done with you.
Bustout newcomers, contortionist Ashley Brown and the lovely Gogo McGregor brought some of that aforementioned freakiness to the show. Ashley is a back-bender extraordinaire whose derriere wrapped unnaturally back to the top of her head. The ladies in the audience paled, while some of us had… other thoughts. Speaking of delightful pain, Gogo was thrilling with her bed of nails routine. The dichotomy of her exceptional beauty prostrate on treacherous spikes was arresting.
Was the six-month wait worth it? I would say so, but it certainly won’t be another six months before I go back.
Until next time people, good night.
New to the burlesque scene, Sean K. Young is the managing partner of a New Orleans-based I.T. firm. He and Tonya Armbruster have recently launched the NOLA culture blog Southern Babylon.
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.