Saturday & Sunday, January 26 & 27, 2013
Virgin Mobile MOD Club, Toronto, Ontario
After the intimate meet-n-greet at the El Mocambo on Friday night, the annual Toronto burlesque show, Girlesque, cranked it up a notch with two frenzied days of act after fabulous act at the Virgin Mobile MOD Club in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood. Local talent, hall of famers, international stars and living legends graced the stage over roughly 7 hours of high-caliber performances.
You know you’re going to get something unique when Nasty Canasta takes the stage, and she really blew it out of the crazy water this time around. With R Kelly’s “Pregnant” playing softly in the background, she came out in a slinky outfit with a baby strapped to her chest. Girl you make me wanna get you pregnant… and she slipped out of her dress… put them pills on chill and give me a baby… then pulled off her glove using her gorgeous behind (I know you’re trying to picture that right now)… oh girl I’m gonna take care of you… filled her baby’s bottle with champagne for feeding time…lay your body down and get you pregnant… and somehow managed to slink out of the rest of her outfit without disturbing her baby. Now that’s talent.
One of the most eccentric performers in the city is beautiful Chaos Divine. Her acts are always mesmerizing and lyrical. She looked like a real lady-killer with hew new ‘20s ‘do—perfect for her Black Widow act which had her stalking and capturing her man-prey all while performing a very sexy striptease. It was a truly beautiful and dazzling implied spider costume, right down to the cobweb corset and pasties.
If there’s anyone who can pull off a Bettie Page tribute, it’s Toronto’s own Pastel Supernova—she’s got the haircut, the beautiful hourglass figure, and the stunning looks. Add leopard print to the mix and you have a fantastic costume to complete the picture. Her striptease brought you back in time and there’s nothing sexier than a gorgeous dame in a leopard print bikini with knee-high boots, kneeling on a leopard skin rug. Mrowr!
I’ve been watching Sassy Ray for the past couple of years as she’s moved up in the Toronto burlesque scene from small clubs to the big festivals and I’ve been amazed at how she has flourished and grown into the golden-voiced diva that she is today. Although she still incorporates striptease into her act, in my opinion, the most impressive part of her performance is the way she belts out such soulful bluesy songs. Red was the colour of the evening as she took command of the stage, dressed in a gorgeous sparkling red gown with matching opera gloves and feather boa. If you ever have a chance to see Sassy Ray perform, go… your ears will thank you.
It was a weekend of women who know how to shake their booties. Coco Lectric was a fireball of energy and she really brought her A-game to the festival. Wearing an all-white frilled outfit with matching headpiece, she shook it all over the stage in a mad sensual frenzy. Tassel twirling babe Peekaboo Pointe was a picture of elegance in a long red blingy gown. Once she got down to the bare basics, she showed the audience why she’s the fastest tassel twirler…anywhere! She can shake it better than anyone I’ve ever seen, and it’s truly hypnotic.
One of the more unique members of Toronto’s Skin Tight Outta Sight is the lovely tattooed Mena von Fleisch. You always know when you’re watching a Mena performance, as she seems to like the dulcet tones of Rammstein for her accompaniment. She makes it work! I’ve seen some Little Red Riding Hood acts before, but this one was really hot. Might have something to do with the thump-thump-thumping base of Du Hast, or with Red’s outrageously sexy outfit—but for me I think it had a little something to do with what Red had in her basket. You can’t really be too scared of a fluffy wolf puppet—one that sings Rammstein—even if it does munch down on Miss von Fleish. But it got extra marks for helping take off some of her clothes!
A festival is not complete without a living legend… and Girlesque had not one, but two!
Burlesque legend Tiffany Carter has performed at the Toronto Burlesque Festival and we love having her back as much as possible. When’s she in town, she not only wows us with her performance, but also passes on her vast knowledge of burlesque by teaching workshops for the next generation. I was honoured to get a sneak peek at her costume at the studio on Friday before she unveiled it at the festival and it was fabulous! But there’s nothing like seeing it in action, on stage, under those pink and blue lights. It was an all-white piece, starting out with a cape covering all and used for wonderful spins across the stage. Beneath the cape was a great costume with a white bra and corset covered in beautiful beaded fringe, gold and silver accents, and a long accent feather in her hair. Tiffany is a classic burlesque performer and you can tell that by her moves—there are no gimmicks, everything is timed perfectly, and there isn’t a feeling of being rushed—it’s a sultry slow dance that knows it’ll leave you satisfied in the end.
The special guest of the festival was superstar burlesque legend Tempest Storm, who starred in Teaserama with Bettie Page (lucky gals, both of them). We were truly lucky to have her come to Toronto for the festival and we showed her our gratitude—performers and guests alike lined up each night to buy autographed photos and get their picture taken with “the tempest in a D-cup.” I’ll be hanging my photo on my burlesque legend wall (ok, so I only have 2 so far, but they’re awesome!). Mysterion helped Tempest up on stage so that her fans could adore her and she could say a couple of words to the crowd. Dressed in a beautiful frilly sheer robe, she showed us that she can still shimmy and shake all to the hoots and hollers of the audience. And we’ve been told….she plans to be around for years to come.
Kudos go out to those that made the Festival such a big success: Mysterion and the Great Canadian Burlesque and the other performers whom I didn’t have a chance to mention here: Tanya Cheex, Coco Framboise, Burgundy Brixx, Sauci Calla Horra, Miss Mitzy Cream, Cherry Typhoon, Gravity Plays Favorites, The Incredible Edible Akynos, Ava Noir, D.D. Starr, Glamourpuss Burlesque, The Harlettes, Dolly Berlin, Esther DeVille, Fionna Flauntit, Vivian MirAnn, Kay Licious, Koston Creme, Miss La Muse, Penny Romanov, Sucre A La Creme, Bianca Boom Boom, Charlie Quinn, Lucky Minx, Miranda Tempest, Nathalia Rose, Nerd Girl Burlesque, and Rubie Laframboise.
Olena Sullivan (Photolena) is a Toronto-based model and performance photographer who specializes in onstage burlesque photography. All photos ©Olena SullivanPhotolena and used here with 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.