Getting to the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend Tournament of Tease was no easy task. I remember doubting that I would be accepted into the competition at all. I had even booked some other shows the weekend of BHOF because I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get accepted. Plus I like to keep myself busy. Anyone familiar with this line of work knows that the only way to keep your head above water is to make sure your calendar is booked out at least a month or two ahead so you can rest easy knowing you have enough work lined up to stay afloat. So since I hadn’t heard back from Burlesque Hall of Fame and the competition was only a month away, I assumed that I wouldn’t be there.
But I did get accepted. I got my acceptance notice while I was sitting at a carousel bar in New Orleans. I was there doing an all male burlesque show titled “Boylesk” that was produced by Rick Delup. I was there with the Stage Door Johnnies, and I found out that Jett Adore and Ray Gunn would also be in the competition.
After getting accepted I had to cancel some dates on the tour I was on and figure out how I was going to get myself to the festival. I felt a little crazy cancelling paying gigs to spend money to get myself to the festival and pay money to perform. But I convinced myself it was a good investment.
In my performance career I had spent most of my time on stages in the Northwest and expanded to performing on stages up and down the West Coast. But I had a hard time getting anywhere East. I’d usually blame what I called that “Mormon Curtain” which is basically the states that span: Idaho, Utah and Arizona. There really isin’t any such barrier, but I convinced myself that the reason why I’m not able to book a chain of Burlesque gigs through that region was because there wasn’t much going on in Burlesque, or anything else, through these parts.
So I wanted to get East and I saw the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend as an oportunity to meet people from all around the world and get my art in front of them so hopefully I could get bookings beyond the West Coast.
“It’s an investment,” is what I kept telling myself as I drove my way from Los Angeles toward Las Vegas in the company of Pink Lady and Paulina Munoz. The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend had already been going on for two days as I was on the road. And soon I was there at the Orleans where the festival was held. I checked into my room and got some rest and set an alarm to make sure I got to the tech run through on time.
At the tech run through is where I first met Mr. Gorgeous, who was another competitor in the competition. He’s a tall, fit, really good looking guy. And incredibly nice too. Kinda had a 1950′s joyful innocence to him. He said he was happy to meet me and wished me luck in the competition. It was also his first time competing in the festival.
I felt as though all the guys in the competition were rooting for eachother, and also were concerned for one another doing well. I remember being worried about Ray Gunn’s projector working because they were having troubles with it, as the others were. And everyone seemed focused on simply putting on a good show.
I took a look at the program and saw that I was scheduled to go first of the group. And I remember taking the rest of the day getting ready for my 4 minutes on stage. All the acts had to be 4 minutes or less and I remember having to be mindful of the adjustment. Usually my solo act is 6 minutes and I’m also used to doing numerous acts in an evening. So it felt unusual spending all day getting ready for just the one act. I was also anxious to finally get on stage.
It was a long wait. I shined my shoes again, did some sewing, put some more rhinestones on my outfit, I ironed my shirt and collars. I did some stretching and ran through my number in my head as my music played on my earphones. I kept myself warmed up and after a long wait I found myself on deck to perform.
As they switched to the Boylesque category, they also turned the MCing over to Scotty the Blue Bunny. He did a much appreciated transition that got the audience ready for Boylesque, and also gave more time to Jett and Ray who needed time to get ready from also competing in the category before that.
I was fortunate to have meet Scotty the Blue Bunny a few weeks earlier in the bay area as I was there for a circus event. I joined in the show at the Hoochie Coochie Tent and met Scotty in the audience. So he knew who I was and had a few nice things to say before my act began at Burlesque Hall of Fame.
After the intro my music began, I silly walked on stage, and said hello to the audience by yo-yoing my bag at them Leapin’ Louie style, and knocked myself over as it sprung back to me. I dusted myself off and started in with my gentlemen juggling material.
The gentlemen juggling material is the most difficult stuff that I do. I figured that if I was going to goof up anywhere it was going to be at this first part of my act. But it all went well and I remember even telling myself that everything was going real well, and then snapping at myself to get back in focus and gear up and finish out strong.
I finished up my act as planned and felt a tremendous roar from the audience. I saw everyone rise up to their feet in cheers and aplause. I stood there for a second blowing kisses, did some belly rolls and walked off with my head held high. I brefly interacted with Scotty and then I was out of the spotlight.
It felt great to be done, and I was very satisfied with what I had done on stage. After that, I cooled off a bit, got dressed and went out quickly to cheer on the other male performers.
The Queen’s Competition was next and I remember relaxing and enjoying the rest of the evening all the way through til they started announcing the winners.
When they announced my name for the Best Boylesque category. I remember being so happy and so completely in the dark about what was going to happen next. As soon as I got up on stage I remember being mugged in a flash by all the previous Kings in attendance. And I came out of it and stumbled over to the line of and stood next to Ruby Joule and gave Jett Adore a hug. He was already on stage for winning the best duet category and he smiled and said he was proud of me and it meant a lot to me.
Everything after that happened in a flash. I felt like I met too many people too fast and didn’t have enough time to take it all in. I felt a bit disoriented and when it was all over I still couldn’t believe what happened.
The weekend left me feeling like I had more then accomplished what I had set out to do. And I felt very happy to get back on the endless road with my circus tour.