When asked whether an encore presentation of “Vaude D’Gras” came from either people telling her they’d missed the first production or wanted to see it again, circus-arts producer-performer basically answered “yes.”
The show’s popularity, combined with a busy and distracting Carnival season, necessitated a re-launching of the delightful circus show, held in February inside the dilapidated but soon-to-be-renovated Happyland Theater in Bywater. The new shows run Friday-Saturday (April 8-9) at Happyland (3126 Burgundy St.).
“For so many people every Mardi Gras, for some it’s become a part of their experience,” she said of the show, now in its third year after changing its name this year. “It’s gotten to a point where it’s their Lundi Gras, or their Friday before Mardi Gras. And I’m stoked about that because that’s how I want to do it. I want to put on a ridiculous circus show. Some complain that they miss it each time, and they’re bummed. I want to show it to them so they’ll, ‘I won’t miss this next time.’
“It’s a show that people go to for more than one night, also. (Burlesque producer-performer) Bella Blue sat in the audience two different nights and said, ‘I fucking loved it!’”
The same basic cast will reunite with LadyBEAST: Clay Mazing, GoGo McGregor, Guglielmo, Madame Daggers and Sarah Stardust.
In a sense, LadyBeast — an aerialist and fire and escape artist when not producing — is taking one look back before vaulting forward. The following weekend (April 15-17), she will finally bring back “The YardBaret,” a backyard-style circus show in a private Bywater location. The show will include some of the “Vaude D’Gras” performers but also featuring frequent collaborators including The Lady Satine, Penelope Little, Liza Rose as well as aerialist Laughing Sky Diamond and drag performer Golden Delicious. Also: Marlo Winter, a Washington-based aerialist who’s working in New Orleans now. (And giving lessons, too.) And formerly New Orleans-based contortionist Sam Aquatic will make an appearance.
Guests also can enjoy a dinner from pop-up chef Louie the Greek.
LadyBEAST loves this show “because it’s not a standard venue – performers can take their work anywhere. This setting gives artists the freedom to do what they want to do, Plus it’s ambient. You’re outdoors in this lovely garden.” She said one performer from last summer’s presentation “described it as if she was playing in a secret garden party in Europe.”
Next comes the show LadyBEAST has been working on for months, a continuation of sorts from the “Cirque Copine” show she has brought with Liza Rose to One Eyed Jacks. Her monthly “LadyBEAST Cabaret” will make its debut May 7 inside the French Quarter club. The performers include Guglielmo, Liza Rose, Sarah Stardust and LadyBEAST as well as touring artists. There’s Gretchen in Motion, a popular touring hand balancer.
The hope is to make the cabaret a monthly show with “Cirque Copine” filling in one of those months on a quarterly basis, though a second production inside One Eyed Jacks isn’t expected until after the summer — a popular touring season for performers. Still, these productions underscore a more consistent presence of circus-arts productions in New Orleans.
“It means that us circus people are here to stay in New Orleans and we’re just going to keep going,” LadyBEAST said. “We’re setting a standard of quality of circus entertainment in New Orleans.”