Beautiful, sexy, creative and amazing, burlesque hit the stage all weekend at the 5th annual Vancouver Int’l Burlesque Festival at the newly renovated Rickshaw Theatre. This year the VIBF features four jam-packed nights with 14 unique productions and 2 performer showcases by entertainers from Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, Montreal, New York City, and Portland.
I went to the VIBF on Thursday and Friday. The shows were inspiring, the audience was wildly enthusiastic, and the theatre was beautiful. Every night was full of great performances, far too many to cover in one article
A few of the organizers and performers shared their stories with me on the VIBF and the exciting growth of burlesque in Vancouver.
Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick spoke with me about the Festival and his involvement as Vice-President of the Vancouver Burlesque Festival Society a non-profit that puts on the VIBF.
Burgandy Brixx, on the Board of Directors for the VIBF society, spoke with me about exciting growth of burlesque from New York to Vancouver. Originally from New York City, she moved here two years to produce Vancouver’s longest running weekly burlesque show called Kitty Nights Westat the Biltmore Cabaret. Burgandy works full time managing and performing in Kitty Nights, while also running a dance studio featuring burlesque lessons. She says that Vancouver’s burlesque is rapidly growing and gaining international recognition. On Sunday night she will star in “Kitty Nights Burlesque: East Village meets East Van!” that will be a “food piece that involves cherries”, which exemplifies her style of classic burlesque infused with comedy.
BonBon Bombay, a burlesque performer, dancer, and choreographer, spoke to me about her show on Sunday and her work with Rosanna Wijenberg, aka Rosie Delight on “Rosie Delight… needs a New Brain!”. Rosie Delight was recently diagnosed with a very rare, progressive and disabling neurological movement disorder, which affects her ability to control her movements. BonBon told me that she worked closely with Rosie to include movements that trigger her disorder. During our interview I was told that director Rick Podd and a film crew are working on a full length about Rosie, her life, and her disorder. In addition to discussing Rosie Delight’s moving piece, BonBon mentioned that she will be performing on Sunday at the midnight showcase called “The Barber shop”
Jenny Magenta spoke to me about being a professional performer in Burlesque, dance, film, and theatre. She started in classical ballet, which typically leads to a short dance career and she is proud to be in her forties still working as a full-time performer and dancer. Jenny collaborates with burlesque dancers in the Vancouver and North American communities. On Thursday, she organized and performed in the “Banquet of Broads”, which showcased the dancers’ unique performance styles that include puppetry, comedy, tragedy, and multimedia. Jenny talks about pushing the boundaries both within burlesque and beyond by experimenting with new styles, slideshows, nudity, and reverse stripping. One of the appeals that Jenny finds in burlesque is how people with extensive dance backgrounds can dance, but also people without experience or “perfect” bodies. She says that everyone is very accepting in the burlesque community, which is reflected in the shows and workshops that are part of VIBF.
Valery Vyntage spoke with me about presenting her first show for VIBF at the Sunday midnight show called “Vyntage Fetish”. Her show blends the burlesque and fetish styles. In addition to her show, she has been involved in organizing volunteers for VIBF. Valery got involved in burlesque about a year and a half ago. She is actively involved in the Screaming Chickens Theatrical Society. After graduating from the Becoming Burlesque classes run by SCTS, she started performing at burlesque nights around Vancouver venues.
For people wanting to explore dancing burlesque for fun or a new career, there will be many workshops happening during the festival. You can check out the workshop schedule here:http://www.vanburlesquefest.com/workshops.html. Several local professional Burlesque groups run dance studios that will continue to offer burlesque lessons, but the workshops this weekend will give you a taste of this pleasurable and liberating experience
You can find all the details about the performers and the VIBF schedule at:http://www.vanburlesquefest.com Thursday and Friday were both sold out, so be sure to buy your tickets online using paypal or at the following venues around town: Scout, Virgin Mary’s, Zulu Records, Flaming Angels, and Cherry Bomb.
Here’s the schedule for the VIBF. The festival runs from Thursday May 6th to Sunday May 9th.
Thursday, May 6
9pm: Pink Flamingo Burlesque
10pm: Paris a Minuit
11pm: Starlet Harlots – Haus of Harlots
Midnight: Banquet of Broads
Friday, May 7
9pm: Rosie Delight…Needs A New Brain
10pm: Rosebud Burlesque Club (Saskatoon) – Happy Endings
11pm: Sweet Soul Burlesque – Ass-Sass-ination! 2010
Midnight: VIBFA SHOWCASE
Saturday, May 8
9pm: GOT Cabaret Society – Decades of Deviance
10pm: Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society – Best of Taboo Revue
11pm: Cheesecake Burlesque Review (Victoria)
Midnight: VIBFA SHOWCASE
Sunday, May 9
9pm: Kitty Nights Burlesque: East Village meets East Van!
10pm: East Vanity Parlour – Sex at the Circus!
11pm: Bonnie Kilroe’s Corrupt Cabaret
Midnight: Vyntage Fetish
Please note: if you’ve taken additional photos of the event and want me to mention or include them in this article, then contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
BonBon Bombay backstage at the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival
Burgandy Brixx backstage at the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival
Jenny Magenta backstage at the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival
Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick and Valery Vyntage ( working with volunteers before her Sunday show ) backstage at the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival
Vancouver International Burlesque Festival at the Rickshaw Theatre on Hastings Street
Misty Greer’s trunk show vendor booth at the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival
The Flash slide show of my photos on flickr.com/pixelate
Jonathan Hanley is an entrepreneur, web guy, writer and photographer— into all things social media and communications. He has worked with international green groups and sustainable businesses for more than 25 years. Bringing people together by building and growing social communities for 14 years.
Jonathan has blogged 27 posts here.