Virginia Burlesque and Sideshow Festival Brings International, Sexy Weirdos To RVA This Weekend (Ticket Giveaway)
Come one Come all to the second annual Virginia Burlesque and Sideshow Festival. With shows this weekend, May 30th to June 1st, and talents from all over, including international performers, it’s a rare chance to see some of the best burlesque the city, nay, THE WORLD has to offer.
Spanning across four separate events, the festival will include live music and dancing as well as workshops for performers to develop professional skills.
Burlesque, historically an art form used to question the conventional values of the day, has grown into a mythical beast this city can’t get enough of. But love of the risque is an international phenomenon with a near cult-like following all over the world including Milan, Amsterdam and New York.
With the second annual event starting this weekend in Richmond, the city has a unique opportunity to connect and learn from the international community.
“Burlesque has always been the thing that says ‘is this too much?’ There has always been that element of finding a way to speak to the underdog,” Said the shows producer Madame Onca.
Madame ‘Onca’ O’leary, has a long history in the performing arts world. Including establishment of the American Burlesque and Sideshow Festival, ABSFest, in Asheville, NC. Completing its eighth show this past weekend, the award winning ABSfest, sold out the Orange Peel stadium and continues to grow each year.
Fueled by this success, Madame ‘Onca’ created a sister show in Richmond. The cities close proximity to major urban cities like DC, and the dynamic community made it an obvious choice to start a new show.
Headlining acts this weekend will include Bella Blue , New Orleans headmistress of Burlesque, and SES Carny, a performer that will bring sideshow culture to the festival. Richmond will also host, Alice Sphiller, a burlesque performer from Moscow.
On Friday, during the meet and greet at The Lair, The Po Soggy Boys, a New Orleans brass band will be performing, “I would encourage anyone who can to come out and see them friday night. You don’t get an 8 piece brass band of this caliber in Richmond every day,” Said Onca.
Mark Slomski, a vaudeville performer and member of Slomski Cabaret a local Richmond group, is participating for the second time this year in the festival. On Saturday he will be performing live ads, on Sunday he will host the cabaret brunch and award ceremony at the Camel.
Slomski, who became involved with burlesque performances five years ago at the ABSFest, encouraged people to come out and see the show. “It’s the perfect mesh of ladies dancing and then a comedic break. The audience is getting not only a taste of the old world, but also something new they haven’t seen before” said Slomski.
Safe Harbor Shelter, a local organization, that helps victims of domestic and sexual violence has teamed up with the Burlesque fest this year as well. The inclusion of Safe Harbor Shelter to the event was a very important mission for the O’leary. “I wanted to bring in that woman affirming educational component. That’s really important to me because burlesque for me is an aspect of engaged feminism,” said Madame Onca.
“We get to stand up and say let me be seen, let me be heard, let me be fabulous. Organizations like Safe Harbor have the really hard part, which is sending people to hospitals, they are the ones that have to help people put themselves back together,” Said Madame Onca.
Using the festival as a platform, performances will promote positive role models for young women. Conversations will also include limitations on violence in the public sphere and the value of consent,“If you can contain activism with a good time how is that not a win for everyone, to celebrate peoples bodies and smart humor…that sounds like the best saturday night ever,” said Onca.
Last year, the festival was a big success, with 400 people attending the first year. The festival for its second year has moved to a larger venue, Center Stage, and will be operating at a higher production value this year to encourage the show to continue to grow. “I would love to see the city really support the event, so that we have this opportunity to share richmond and put it on display for the world. I can bring all the people I want to come and perform, but if people don’t come out to see it then we won’t be able to endure,” said Onca.
For more information on the festival, visit Virginiaburlesque.com, with tickets currently on sale.
The good folks at Center Stage have also been kind enough to offer us a pair of tickets to Saturday night’s late show – 10:30 PM, 5/31. Click on the widget below to enter for a chance to win!
TheatreLAB will bring burlesque to their stage for the first time this weekend in partnership with local burlesque performer Deanna Danger with the new series “Butchertown Burlesque”. “Butchertown Burlesque” will feature a live jazz band, a dance floor, and performances from Danger, fellow RVA performer Lula Houp-Garou and Newport News-based dancer Jo’Rie Tigerlily. Audience members [...]June 9, 2016
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