Originally published in Burlesque Beat on April 22, 2015.
February 22, 2015
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Cambridge, MA
It warmed up Sunday and I actually got the opportunity to escape the hotels recycled air to check out Cambridge. After a leisurally stroll through Harvard Square, I headed back to the Hyatt for the final night of The Great Burlesque Expo 9, revitalized and ready for more boobs.
Sunday night’s show was billed the “The Original Newcomer’s Showcase.” As the name suggests, many acts were performing their first number in front of an audience. This is special in itself, and have to say I didn’t expect that the strongest performances would come from the 40-plus crowd. Few of the weekend’s younger dancers turned up the heat the way those dancers did. There’s a heightened level of sexual confidence that comes from experience and Sunday’s showcase proved that in spades.
Chicago’s Shimmy LaRoux kicked things off right, performing a sexy, high-energy routine for a video camera placed on the stage. The assumption being, she discovers the camera and decides to film her own personal sexy time…and WE GET TO WATCH! Three-fourths of the way through, she realizes someone’s approaching. She quickly dons a (previously unseen) maid uniform, picks up her feather duster and scuttles off, revealing that she was the maid, cleaning up for her boss’s video rendezvous. Totally unexpected, and a flawless act.
Serendipity Love’s act opened with an adorable routine to a Jackson 5 song that quickly segwayed into “Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing” and a more sultry vibe. She used her face well, had great fluid movements and worked her fuller figure to maximum effect. While it was apparent she is a ‘newbie’ it was obvious that she is well on her way to becoming a compelling performer.
Tyranna Suarez did a whimsical routine to Harry Nilsson’s “Lime and Coconut” that finished with her revealing the “lime” pasties “in” her “coconut” brassiere. Stella Diamond sang “I Hate Men” with a great voice and stage presence. The break from the dancing was a nice palette cleanser. I’m not sure why, in one verse, she chose to look directly at me while delivering the line “I hate men.” I mean, I am a scoundrel but how does she know that?
Three members of Chicago’s Better Boobie Bureau came out to represent. The choreography was strong, their use of canes was impressive and they delivered a solid routine overall. The only hiccup was their attempted synchronized corset removal. Without the corsets, it would have been a flawless routine. That said, if they’re eventually able to sync up a three-way corset removal, it would be most impressive.
New Hampshire’s modern dance duo Roman and Jennifer did an improvised piece to a creepy, ambient soundtrack. Apparently they improvise all of their routines, never performing the same one the same way twice. A great variety but the piece was long and brought the energy down. Still, they had good chemistry as well a great deal of modern dance experience.
Iridessa’s dance routine to Enur’s “Calabria 2007” was my favorite of the night. She combined elements of hip-hop, belly dance, hula and burlesque, moving fluidly between different styles. She held the audiences attention with her facial work and never removed her top. The great thing was, no one cared. I love performers who think outside the box and expand the definition of burlesque. Iridessa did a superb job of blending so many styles with minimum kitsch. Defnitely one of my top five picks of the whole weekend, hands down.
Luella Lynne did a sultry routine to “Goldfinger” with dazzling costumery: black sequins that turned to gold as she passed her hands over them. Lottie Ellington performed a tribute to the “Big Bang Theory” that contained a lot of references lost on me, having never seen the show. Green Mountain Cabaret’s Ginge O’lolly did a classic rock-n-roll routine, immediately followed by Alissa Coates singing an incredibly soulful version of “House of the Rising Sun.”
After strong routines from Alice Azul and Carmen Del Fuego, our host Miss Mina disclosed that the next “newcomer” was in her 60’s and may be shimmying and shaking a little more than normal because of her Parkinsons. Voluptuous Vanessa Vixen did a strong routine to “Call Me,” finding hidden phones in precarious spots (boa, bra, panties, etc). This routine would have been strong and challenging for a young performer, let alone one with a serious illness. Vanessa’s act was a personal highlight and managed to turn me on and move me all at once. Appropriately, she left the stage to a standing ovation. Take that Parkinson’s!
Anastasia Pastiche also turned up the heat with her amazing body and incredible sexual confidence. The routine was pretty typical and might have been forgettable if performed by someone with less confidence. That was not the case, and she left everyone with a funny feeling below their waistlines.
Kitty LaVesque was adorable and finished strong after a slow start. Ka McKazie Kink did an incredibly creepy and disturbing act to a newer version of “Every Breath You Take” in a Michael Myers mask (serial killer from the Halloween movies). Truly disturbing, but awesome.
And, just like that The Great Burlesque Expo 9 was over. I give big props to Mizter Scratch and Miss Mina for overcoming some daunting obstacles to make the Expo happen this year. Despite predictions of sparse attendance, every show felt full and rowdy and it was clear that Boston loves their Expo. Here’s to many more sparkly years of Beantown burlesque.
Now get me the fuck out of this snow!