(UPDATE: Voting has closed. Thanks for participating. Results will be posted Wednesday, Jan. 6.)
The year 2015 became a landmark year for New Orleans’ expansive burlesque and circus arts scene. Throughout the years, audiences were entertained by new productions from weekly shows all the way up to festivals and specialty productions. (We even saw not one but two Katrina-themed shows). As part of a look back at this banner year for a scene that promises to be discussed in the same breath as the city’s vibrant theater and comedy scenes.
I’ll take a more direct look in that year later in the week, building the coverage I wrapped up while at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. But first, here are some polls to consider in terms of your favorite performers and performances. One rule, and this will probably done on everyone’s word of honor: no ballot-stuffing. Please, one person, one vote, for each poll.
Let’s start with the biggest one: the performers, broken down by burlesque performers, circus and sideshow performers, and emcees. (Please note: The burlesque performers category was so obviously loaded down with talent, for this poll I wanted to A) Focus about the top 30 in my mind, and then let the readers add in any they feel are missing, and then B) Present a “finalist” poll later in the week. The other performers are in small enough categories to remain as is. That said, the burlesque performers category:
And now for the circus performers:
And now for the sideshow performers:
And now for the burlesque and circus show emcees:
Next up: annual productions, which include multiple-day festivals that have become magnets for national touring artists (and a lot of first-timers in 2015):
Next up, we’d like to look at the “specialty” shows in 2015 — shows that also happened once in the year (more or less) but at this point might be considered unique to 2015 (until further notice at least). Some have enjoyed encore/return performances, but the general idea is, they were special to this year:
Monthly burlesque and circus shows have proved to be extremely well attended throughout the year, and help keep interest alive in the scene on a regular basis. (If only they wouldn’t suffer from so much over-lapping bookings, but more on that later.) Here are the favorites:
Weekly shows also do a great show of providing a steady, virtually daily opportunity to enjoy the burlesque and circus scenes in New Orleans, from divey bars to Harrah’s New Orleans Casino:
So let the voting begin, and again, please, one vote per person. The results will be released at the beginning of the year (which is, like, really soon). And please feel free to share with your friends on social media with the hashtag #bestnolaburlesque.
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Pingback: A look back at New Orleans burlesque, circus and sideshow in 2015, complete with highlights, challenges and lots of polls | David Lee Simmons
Roxie all the way!! Not only are her acts super fun to watch, she is simply the coolest little lady.
Humble, kind, gracious, and absolutely stunning.
Clue Burlesque is a great semi-regular show at the Always!
I love our city’s performers but anyone who asks for money and gifts from their followers on social media will be unliked and lose my support. Gross.
Roxie LeRouge will always get my vote. She is truly a perfectionist who hasn’t lost her love of the art. I produce fundraising events and have asked Roxie to perform many times. She’s a polished professional who always smiles. Her support of the non profit community is truly remarkable.
Roxie LaRue is beautiful, determined, and works her butt off. This is not a job to her, it’s her craft. And it shows.
Her troop, Big Deal Burlesque, succeeds because she is their biggest cheerleader and it’s fiercest warrior. She excells and won’t settle for 2nd place.
Roxie LaRue is the best because she works so hard and puts her audience first.
It’s not a job for her, it’s a craft. Big difference, and it shows.
She’s a beautiful woman with grit and determination. She leads her troop by being it’s biggest cheerleader and fiercest warrior.
Roxie LaRue and Bid Deal Burlesque coming at you. Prepare to be amazed !!!
where is chere noble man? she kicked ass this year
Gogo McGregor should absolutely be on the MC list. By far the best
What about the boylesque guys like Amen Five, Leg Luthor, and (most especially) Danger Rockwell?
“Bring on the Men” by the Society of Sin is a fun show that gets better each time. Give those artists some love. If you’re going to show your support for the “community” show your support for all of it.
Alexander Addams for best emcee!!
Oh, and PS… Please add CREAM to the list of specialty shows… Bella Blue, Kitten and Lou, Ben DeLa Creme, Chris Harder, Lady Satine, Neon Burgundy and Vinsantos turned this show out!!! It was definitely my best variety show of the year that I was involved in (and even watched from the wings cause it was tres fierce!!!)
Hi, you guys,,,, I appreciate the comments regarding me being left out.. I actually talked to David about this and we both agree that what I do doesn’t really fit neatly into these categories. I consider my self a performance artist first. I travel seamlessly through all of the genres listed here, but don’t consider myself any one thing.. If there were a vote for best Cabaret artist, I would most certainly want to be in the running. And if Ben Wisdom wasn’t already on the list, I would come for the title of best Burlesque MC!!!! (kidding) I retired that act for the most part and these other MCs are working way harder than me. I would have liked to see Drag included in this mix. Bella and I have really taken the idea of blurring the lines between Drag and Burlesque here in New Orleans in the most successful way. For this I am thankful to NOT be put into a box. It’s also why I will always be a starving artist. It’s hard to sell something that people don’t always understand… at least until they see it live… XOXOXOXOXO
Miss monarch m
Thanks for the thoughtful post, Arianna, and the feedback, y’all. I think there are two separate discussions, one about what defines and separates the many different categories of performers (and of course the perceived need for labels in the first place), and, the value of competition. In that spirit, I’ve divided the circus and sideshow performers into two separate categories/polls. As for the discussion about competition, I absolutely appreciate the spirit of performing together as a community, and certainly (to paraphrase Lindsay) there’s no intent on my part to steal joy from the scene by presenting polls — but I definitely appreciate that potential downside. For me, exposure helps inform and enhance a performance community, and polls indeed help shed a light on any given scene. But it’s also like a lot of things — it’s how you treat them. I fully respect Arianna’s decision not to want to be compared to her peers. But I also think this is one small way — among many others, including continued coverage, profiles and trend pieces — that provide exposure and appreciation of the scene.
Best One Time Show is a toss up of, Cabaret de L’Enfer May 2015 and THE BLUESTOCKINGS: Booze, Broads & Bukowski November 2015 (Faux Real Fest)
The magnificent Eli Rose is missing from sideshow performers
Corey Mack as an emcee! He’s funny.
Gogo McGregor is the best mc hands down! Oh, the things she says!
I’ve asked David Lee Simmons to remove me from this list. I am an artist because I don’t want to be compared to my peers. I don’t find it empowering to be compared to the women or men who I highly respect in the circus arts movement. I love those people and they can NOT be measured because we all offer very different skill sets and artistic ingenuity. Circus relies on a team of people creating a multi-skill experience and highlights each performer and their own creativity.
Circus is a term that is thrown around a lot in connection to shows without the understanding of what circus actually is. In order for a show to be called a circus. It must include 4 things: clowning, object manipulation, acrobatics, and balancing acts. There are offshoots under this category such as illusions and animals. Sideshow acts are in their own category and are also sometimes included, but they are not circus.
We are a small community of circus artists in New Orleans creating a movement of contemporary work. I am honored to share the stage with each and every one of you. You are a winner every time you take the risk of walking on stage and being strong enough to get through your artistic piece. Please share if you have same belief.
Finally, David has been wonderful to write up about my work and shows I have been apart of with FABULOUS circus artists. And I look forward to working with him on he big reveal on what’s to come to 2016’s CIRCUS ART MOVEMENT OF NEW ORLEANS.
Xoxox- your ladyBEAST
Great suggestions, y’all, much appreciated. Most of these have been added.
Thugsy and Vinsantos both left out? It’s beginning to look a lil homophobic.
Sideshow Matt seems to be off the list for Sideshow performers and so is Donny Vomit. Two of the best!! Though Lydia Treats is up there with those two!
More than a little presumptuous to think that the top 30 in your mind are the top 30 that everyone wants to vote for. At least on the other categories people have the option to choose for themselves. My two favorite burlesque performers weren’t even on the list. The 21st Century Burlesque voting is much more well done.
Where is Vinsantos? On the list of performers…..one of the most famous cabaret performers working in new orleans….along with Bella he is one of the only people getting booked all over the country….we are lucky to have him here in nola
Nightmare Before Christmas Burlesque Show – Best Annual Production