With “Cupid’s Cabaret,” Trixie Minx goes beyond burlesque for Valentine’s Day

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If quantity was the watchword for burlesque in 2015, maybe the watchword for 2016 is quality. Because of the massive influx of performers moving to New Orleans over the past couple years, and the increased number of shows, there’s a sense that the scene might have become a bit saturated.

There might be only one way to go, then: up. That’s up, as in quality; up, as in production value; up, as in a sense of scale; and up, as in a platform to showcase the talent here.

That’s why it’s so fun watching Trixie Minx discuss her latest venture, “Cupid’s Cabaret,” a grand affair set for Sunday (Feb. 14) — Valentine’s Day — on the grandest stage since the burlesque renaissance, the Orpheum Theater. Minx is alternately excited and a bit wary as she explains her vision for the show over coffee inside the Roosevelt Hotel, opposite the Orpheum’s general manager, Kristin Shannon. Burlesque is too small a word to describe what’s on tap, she cautions.

“We want this event to be more than a show but an experience of what it was like to be in the Orpheum back then,” Minx said in a recent post with vintage Orpheum photos that reminded readers of the venue’s vaudeville roots. “An interactive vaudeville presentation on a Vegas-size level … with a modern take.”

That’s Minx, always harkening to the more classic style of burlesque but always with an eye toward the present — most often seen in her monthly Fleur de Tease shows at One Eyed Jacks. (Not to confuse anyone, but this month’s show, held the night before on Saturday, naturally will have a Valentine’s theme.) So call it what you will: burlesque, vaudeville, cabaret or variety show, but “Cupid’s Cabaret” represents a major step up and forward for the producers and performers in the scene in 2016.

The cast alone is worth the price of admission: Trixie Minx, Roxie le Rouge and Madame Mystere — all regulars in the “Fleur de Tease” show — but also Portland’s Angelique de Vil performing a number. But then comes tons of variety, including music from New Orleans’ own singer-songwriter Sasha Masakowski (flown in from New York City), swing dancer Bobby Bonsey, contortionist Sam Aquatic, and the New York-based aerial duo, Brian Ferree & Crista Marie Westley. New Orleans drag/cabaret performer Vinsantos also is on tap.

It will all be set in a dinner-theater atmosphere, which will allow the Orpheum to take advantage of its ability to raise its stage to accommodate dining lovers in the front, with sparkling wine flowing from bottles the moment guests arrive at the door. While this area is certainly for the lovers in the house, the upstairs balcony (at cheaper prices) will provide a fun atmosphere for single men and women, without necessarily the pressure of trying to impress a date but instead take in the entertainment.

“For the guests to experience it, we want the Orpheum and the stage of the Orpheum to allow and provide access to folks who wouldn’t ordinarily buy tickets to a show like this, like maybe even “Fleur de Tease,” said Shannon. “When you come inside a place like the Orpheum, you get to see a show that’s an elevated type of vaudeville or burlesque.”

For Trixie Minx, “Cupid’s Cabaret” represents a logical progression in a career that has taken her outside of New Orleans for bigger ventures, bigger stages and bigger audiences. Her guest performers represent a list of friends she’s made elsewhere, whether it’s from her regular trips to Atlantic City (most notably for this past December’s “The Burlesque Show” at the Borgata Casino Hotel & Spa); the Ink-N-Iron Festival in Long Beach, Calif.; or the “Fantasy” show she produces for Couples Cruise.

Each of these shows, she says, have inspired her to try to take her work to another level, which includes a larger budget, more performers and a larger stage.

“I started ‘Fleur de Tease’ 10 years ago because from the first moment I was introduced to burlesque, I liked it but I wanted more,” she said. “That’s why ‘Fleur de Tease’ is New Orleans’ premier vaudeville revue. It’s more than burlesque. Burlesque is a beautiful art form, but I wanted a show. I wanted something big.

“My inspiration was the Moulin Rouge, the Crazy Horse and the Lido in Paris,” she continued. “I saw all of them 2005. Those shows are what inspired me. ‘Fleur de Tease’ workw with a humble budget, and a great cast. This is a chance to work my creative muscles.

“I have so many ideas!”

She’s executing only the ideas that work for her creatively, and not just to be a crowd-pleaser or dumb down the production value, she said.

“I’ve been pushed a lot times to do things that might cheapen a performance because it’ll draw more people,” she said. “They’ll say, ‘You should go a little raunchier, and what’s hot in the moment.’ I always keep to a performance that’s classic, that’s got comedy, that’s got that vaudeville spirit. I love that we can expand on that.

“My shows, I never want to bring down the quality to bring in more people.”

“Cupid’s Cabaret” is another indicator of burlesque shows going bigger and possibly expanding its audience. Last year saw more attempts to do this, including Bella Blue’s weekly “Risq” show at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino. (That show currently is on hiatus but might return soon.) After recently presenting her “Touché” show at the Joy Theater, she announced the formation of the Foxglove Revue, a troupe that will include such in-demand performers as Darling Darla James, Charlotte Treuse, Queenie O’Hart, Stevie Poundcake, Madonnathan, Angie Z, Cherry Bombshell, Miss Monarch M, Cherry Brown and The Lady Lucerne.

Elsewhere, Blu Reine announced this past December that she will expand her quarterly production, “The Roux: A Spicy Brown Burlesque Show,” into a full-blown festival Sept. 16-18 — which will showcase some of the nation’s most in-demand performers of color.

It’s productions like these that offer everyone a chance to up their game, including longtime “Fleur de Tease” collaborator and Big Deal Burlesque producer Roxie le Rouge.

“I think anytime a performer has the opportunity to perform their art form in a beautiful theater such as the Orpheum, it feels like an accomplishment,” she said. “I always feel a sense of relief when I can do an act as intended without limitations that come along with performing at smaller venues. I mean I love performing at hole-in-the wall dive bars, metal clubs, etc. But, it is a pretty great feeling to be on a big stage. In my head I’m saying, ‘Look at all this room I have to dance!'”

For Trixie Minx, expanding the form, and the audience, creates so many new opportunities in a city too often associated with the past. The Orpheum Theater, as I noted in a Biz New Orleans profile, is symbolic of a return of several historic New Orleans theaters, but it wants to celebrate both the past and the future for these types of productions.

“I honestly think that burlesque is an evolutionary art form,” Minx said. “To me, the art of striptease is not new. It’s continuously evolving. Each year it has upped. I feel people might be a little more excited about it right now, like as a buzzword. What I really like about this year and specifically working with the Orpheum, whatever you love, you’re going to see a show because you love it.

“Hope this will open the minds of someone who might not see a vaudeville show. It might open eyes and perspective to a whole new world, which is incredible.”

New Orleans burlesque performers (past and present) dominate 21st Century Burlesque top 10

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Three burlesque performers with New Orleans connections made the top 10 of the 21st Century Burlesque readers’ poll — the final results of which was were published Sunday (Jan. 31).

Kitten La Rue, who got her start with the Shim Shamettes in the late 1990s before moving away, shared the No. 1 spot with her partner Lou Henry Hoover for their Kitten N’ Lou act. Perle Noire, who got her start with Rick Delaup’s Bustout Burlesque before moving to New York City, repeated her No. 2 finish from 2015. And Bella Blue was voted No. 8 in the poll of the top 50 burlesque performers. (Blue was voted No. 16 in the 2015 poll.)

Fellow New Orleans performer Charlotte Treuse was voted No. 46 in the poll.

La Rue hails from Ruston, in north Louisiana with several relatives in New Orleans. (Her father is musician Papa Mali.) She literally woke up to the news Sunday; the duo is in Australia. She was thrilled to learn of the honor:

My New Orleans roots, starting as an original member of The Shim Sham Revue, was instrumental in creating the foundation for my career. It taught me from the get-go what a fully produced and polished spectacle could look like; that details like fabulous costuming and thoughtful choreography can go a long way; and, most importantly, it gave me an understanding right away of the importance of our burlesque history and the incredible knowledge and wisdom our legends hold and can impart. My New Orleans roots also guide me in imparting a sense of joy and comedy in my performance.”

There were multiple connections among the various New Orleans-related performers. Kitten N’ Lou performed at Bella Blue’s “CREAM!” show at One Eyed Jacks in 2015 during Southern Decadence over Labor Day Weekend. Along with her ties to Bustout Burlesque, Perle Noire, one of the most honored burlesque performers in the world and who’s toured with Dita Von Tease, performed at Bella Blue’s “Risq” show in 2015 at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino. (I should add that the magazine noted that Noire commented on my story about burlesque and race in 2015.) Several of the top 50 performers, including Charlotte Treuse in 2015, have at one time performed at Delaup’s New Orleans Burlesque Festival. Noire won in its inaugural year.

It was particularly interesting to see Kitten La Rue win as part of a duo with Hoover, given that the Shim Shamettes were at the forefront of the New Orleans burlesque revival. 21st Century Burlesque was impressed with their success in 2015, and their versatility, saying, among other things:

Kitten ‘n’ Lou headlined at the Humboldt Burlesque Expo, the Calgary International Burlesque Festival, the Las Vegas Burlesque Festival, the Toronto Burlesque Festival, Viva Las Vegas Burlesque Showcase and the Dallas Burlesque Festival. They also won two Golden Pastie awards at the New York Burlesque Festival. They were featured in the Huffington Post and premiered their first evening-length show OVEREXPOSED! at Fringe World Festival Perth and Joe’s Pub in New York.”

The poll noted several highlights from 2015 for Blue, among them:

“Bella headlined The Great Burlesque Exposition in Boston, The Vienna Boylesque Festival, The Oklahoma City Burlesque Festival and The Snake Oil Festival. The New Orleans School of Burlesque opened its own studio after a successful Go Fund Me campaign, and she started producing new show “Risq: A Burlesque Revue” at Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans (alongside regular shows “The Dirty Dime Peepshow,” The NOSB Student Showcase, “Strip Roulette” and “The Blue Book Cabaret”).”

Chicago’s Jeez Loueez, a frequent visitor to New Orleans, finished No. 4.

Blue recently announced the formation of her new troupe, Foxglove Revue. She also rode as the Queen of the Krewe of PUEWC in the Chewbacchus parade Saturday. She recently was voted one of New Orleans’ top 10 performers as well.

Bella Blue reaches top 10 in 21st Century Burlesque poll

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Bella Blue

New Orleans burlesque producer and performer Bella Blue was voted No. 8 in the 21st Century Burlesque magazine readers’ poll of the top 50 burlesque performers, as the results of Nos. 4-10 were released Sunday (Jan. 31). Blue was voted No. 16 in the 2015 poll.

Blue, reached late Sunday night, said she was both appreciative of the honor but focused on moving forward with her seemingly myriad projects:

Seeing my accomplishments listed out over the last year really put things in perspective. Like ‘Oh, whoa. I feel really good about what I did that past year. That’s a lot of great stuff to be proud of!’ Because how I operate is just in constant state of setting goals for myself and then not stopping until they are done. There’s not a whole lot of ‘reveling,’ It’s more about ‘Oh man! That was so awesome! Whew! Ok, now what’s next?!’ I just strive to top myself over and over.”

She also emphasized the contributions of her partner in Bella Blue Entertainment, AJay Strong, who started collaborating with her in late 2014.

The poll noted several highlights from 2015 for Blue:

In 2015: Bella headlined The Great Burlesque Exposition in Boston, The Vienna Boylesque Festival, The Oklahoma City Burlesque Festival and The Snake Oil Festival. The New Orleans School of Burlesque opened its own studio after a successful Go Fund Me campaign, and she started producing new show ‘Risq: A Burlesque Revue’ at Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans (alongside regular shows ‘The Dirty Dime Peepshow,’ The NOSB Student Showcase, ‘Strip Roulette’ and ‘The Blue Book Cabaret’). Bella spoke to 21st Century Burlesque Magazine about the now infamous Lucky Pierre’s incident early in 2015, but emerged from the episode with her usual class, integrity and professionalism.”

Blue recently announced the formation of her new troupe, Foxglove Revue. She also rode as the Queen of the Krewe of PUEWC in the Chewbacchus parade Saturday. She recently was voted one of New Orleans’ top 10 performers as well.

Fellow New Orleans performer Charlotte Treuse was voted No. 46 in the poll. Chicago’s Jeez Loueez, a frequent visitor to New Orleans, finished No. 4. The final three are expected to be announced soon.



Bella Blue to launch Foxglove Revue, a new burlesque troupe in New Orleans

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UPDATE: Guest performer Ray Gunn of New York City was just voted No. 13 in the 21st Century Burlesque magazine readers’ poll.

New Orleans burlesque performer Bella Blue will launch a new troupe, Foxglove Revue, she announced at her “Touché” show Thursday (Jan. 28) at the Joy Theater.

The inspiration behind the troupe might sound counterintuitive when you consider her stating the obvious of the current status of the scene:

“Burlesque is really saturated right now.”

So why add another troupe? To make it better, she said.

“The challenge is making it stand out. Making it unique. Making it really set apart from the others,” Blue said. “What we feel we have done is chosen all very strong performers who are committed to not just bringing their A-game, but are also committed to learning.”

It’s a strong and varied lineup, indeed: Darling Darla James (sideshow/neo/classic), Charlotte Treuse (classic), Queenie O’Hart (musical theater), Stevie Poundcake (boylesque/musical theater), Madonnathan (drag), Angie Z (classic/vocals), Cherry Bombshell (classic), Miss Monarch M (bellydance/classic), Cherry Brown (classic) and The Lady Lucerne.

“It’s our take on the burlesque troupe formula but including a wide array of performers that don’t fit into one type of genre or style,” she said.

But, importantly, she’ll hold her performers to the same high standard she’s held for herself, with a healthy dose of collaboration.

“They have to take classes,” said Blue, who for years has led the New Orleans School of Burlesque, which found a permanent home in 2015 at the Healing Center. “They have to attend peer reviews. They have to bring new acts to the table. And in turn, we do all we can to help them out. Pitching in for costumes, props, whatever they need.

“Any of my ‘perks’ extend to them,” she continued. “Discounts, products, etc.”

The troupe premiered an act at “Touché,” and will spend the upcoming weeks finalizing details on its opening production, including date and venue.


Throwback Thursday: Trixie Minx’s “Cupid’s Cabaret” conjures images of the Orpheum Theater’s vaudeville origins

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According to historical reports, when the Orpheum Theater opened for New Orleans fans on Feb. 7, 1921, the focus was on vaudeville.

“Jewel and fur clad women and dapper gentlemen filled the Orpheum Theater, New Orleans’ newest and most fashionable theater where ‘good taste reigned everywhere,’” one report said. “This auspicious evening’s main attraction was The Singer Midgets, who were to enter Hollywood immortality nine years later as the Munchkins of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’

“A bit of incongruous perhaps with the ‘dressed-to-the-nines’ crowd, but this was the heyday of vaudeville and the Singer Midgets was a class act – and so was the Orpheum.”

Just under 85 years later, this is music to the ears of producer Trixie Minx and the Orpheum’s Kristin Shannon, who, over coffee inside the nearby Roosevelt Hotel, are giddy with excitement over the historic theater playing elegant host to “Cupid’s Cabaret,” a mix of variety acts that celebrates Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. While Minx has made her mark as a burlesque performer and producer — she literally performed on both the East Coast and West Coast when not in New Orleans over the course of 2015 — she is emphatic about extolling her vaudeville influences.

And while she is quick to note the vaudeville influences in her monthly, decade-old “Fleur de Tease” show at One Eyed Jacks, she wants people to think of “Cupid’s Cabaret” as a nod to those more purely vaudeville instincts.

“We want this event to be more than a show but an experience of what it was like to be in the Orpheum back then,” Minx said. “An interactive vaudeville presentation on a Vegas-size level … with a modern take.”

I’ll have more on that take soon, but first I thought it would be fun to present a little “Throwback Thursday” of historic photos, courtesy of the Orpheum staff, to remember a time when it was the likes of the Singer Sisters and Al Jolson who ruled the stage and not the silver screen that came to dominate as the theater entered the middle of the 20th century.

More on the overall show; for now, enjoy this little trip down memory lane. For tickets and more information, click here.

Read more about the return of the Orpheum and other historic New Orleans theaters in my Biz New Orleans piece.

Madame Rosebud channels inner David Bowie for “Touche” appearance Jan. 28 at the Joy Theater

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(NOTE: For event info on “Touché,” click here.)

Madame Rosebud has been going through a David Bowie phase for, oh, maybe about a quarter-century now.

Or phases.

As a child, the New York burlesque performer went from being terrified of his presence when Mom showed a BBC documentary, to being obsessed with him through adolescence and very painful teen years.

“He looked so beautiful and terrifying,” said Rosebud. “There was something about the power of his physicality. It was his sort of reptilian physicality and the fact it was equal parts masculine and feminine, and it was threateningly seductive. There was nothing cute about (Ziggy Stardust). It was intentionally threatening and I had never seen that before. I fell in love with all of those ideas mixed together.

“He was taking all those things I wanted to see, but didn’t know I wanted to see them, and it put them all together.”

Growing up in Sedona, Ariz., she could count the number of friends on one finger, and she went through as many iterations of Bowie that she could think to cope with a persistence sense of alienation. She remembers spending an entire school year in a three-piece suit to honor the Thin White Duke phase of his career.

“I was in a constant state of performance art,” Rosebud said.

The Thin White Duchess from Abe Goldfarb on Vimeo.

She still is, really, and has become one of the more cutting-edge performers in the typically edgy New York scene. And when Bella Blue asked her to perform at her “Touché” show Jan. 28 at the Joy Theater, she asked for Madame Rosebud to resurrect her act inspired by the Bowie song “Wild Is the Wind.” The death of the rock star and pop-culture shape-shifter on Jan. 10 only underscored the need for a little Ziggy Stardust magic. Not that either Madame Rosebud or Bella Blue believes that Bowie’s THAT gone from us.

“I don’t think that he died,” said Rosebud. “I think that he ascended.”

Madame Rosebud, a few days after the ascension, gathered with other performers at The Slipper Room on the Lower East Side, “and it sort of became an impromptu celebration. DJs played Bowie music, and I did two of my Bowie pieces. We all needed to collectively work out this lump in our throat together.

“For me, it’s not gone. I’ve talked to my mom about it several times.”

It’s performers like Madame Rosebud that enjoy mutual admiration with Bella Blue, who loves tapping into that New York sensibility of variety and cabaret performance that often walks crazy fine lines between drag and burlesque. Rosebud will bring husband Bastard Keith — the self-styled inventor of “Burletiquette” — for the show, which includes fellow New Yorker Gal Friday, Chicago boylesque performer Ray Gunn, and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant BenDeLaCreme as emcee. (Bella Blue and Nona Narcisse will be among the New Orleans performers.)

The fact that Bowie left this mortal coil after Bella Blue signed up Madame Rosebud isn’t lost on either performer.

“With, Bella it’s perfect,” Rosebud said. “I get to come down here and celebrate with her. She’s from the same weird place. You just kind of know other aliens when you see them.”





Charlotte Treuse voted among top 50 burlesque performers by 21st Century Burlesque

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Charlotte Treuse performs at the 7th annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival.

New Orleans burlesque performer Charlotte Treuse, a regular local and touring performer,  has been voted No. 46 in the 21st Century Burlesque readers poll, the results of which are being released incrementally by the magazine Sunday (Jan. 24). The performer, who also was voted among the top 10 favorite New Orleans performers in a recent poll, was recognized in 2015 for her competition at the 7th annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival (watch video below), as an opening act at New Orleans’ inaugural Snake Oil Festival, participating in the Miss Viva Las Vegas burlesque competition, and touring nationally.

“I don’t really know what to say!” she said. “This came as a complete surprise to me. I’ve never made the list before!”

Treuse moved to New Orleans from Portland in 2012, three years after competing in the inaugural New Orleans Burlesque Festival, where she was named first runner-up in 2013 and 2014. She regularly performs with Bella Blue (Foxglove Revue) Trixie Minx, Gogo McGregor (“Vixens and Vinyl”) and Xena Zeit-Geist (The Society of Sin, including the upcoming “Sinner Sisters Damnation Cabaret”). She also works as a costume designer and has designed outfits for New Orleans’ own Perle Noire.

“Before I relocated here I would come a couple times a year to do the festival and to headline Bustout Burlesque at the House of Blues,” she said. “Moving to New Orleans was the best decision of my life! I’m so grateful for the support of my peers, who have turned into a family, and this magical city that has helped foster my art form.”

In 2015, New Orleans burlesque producer and performer Bella Blue was voted No. 16 in the poll.

The rest of the poll results should be released soon, and further New Orleans connections will be posted if/when they arise.

Boylesque performer Russell Bruner, who lived in New Orleans briefly and performed at Lucky Pierre’s as well as the Snake Oil Festival, was voted No. 36. (He’s also performed at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival. Watch his performance below.)

Another performer, Dallas’ Missy Lisa, checked in at No. 32; she also performed at the 7th annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival. (Watch her performance below.)

Trixie Minx’s “Cupid’s Cabaret” show set for Valentine’s Day at the Orpheum

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Trixie Minx. (Photo by Jason Kruppa)

New Orleans burlesque star Trixie Minx loves to add a dash of Valentine’s Day to her February Fleur de Tease shows whenever possible. Now she’s taking that idea to another level and another venue in partnering with the Orpheum Theater for “Cupid’s Cabaret,” on Feb. 14 — “classic vaudeville show with a contemporary heartbeat,” as Thursday’s release stated.

“It’s going to be a whole weekend of burlesque (for Valentine’s Day),” Minx said, referring to the monthly Fleur de Tease show (Feb. 13) as well as her weekly shows Burlesque Ballroom at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse and Burgundy Burlesque at the Burgundy Bar.

“Burgundy Ballroom and Burlesque Ballroom have a lot of classic striptease, with the singers doing songs about love and stuff like that. And with Fleur de Tease, love is the theme. But this (‘Cupid’s Cabaret’) is more of a vaudeville show. It will be a dinner-theater show with lots of singers. I don’t want to give away too much because I want (the audience to be) open to experience it for themselves.

“I want them to walk in the theater and be surprised.”

The as-yet-unannounced lineup will feature burlesque dancers, aerialists, comedians and local singers. Dinner seating will be sold in pairs and tables will be provided for couples and foursomes. Cocktail packages also will be available, though there will be a limited number of dinner seats available. On top of that, single tickets will be sold in the balcony and loge areas.

Tickets go on sale Friday (Jan. 15) at 10 a.m. Dinner (which will include the seated dinner and champagne) are $225 for two, and $200 a pair for a table of four. Single tickets are $30 for balcony seats, $50 loge. Bar packages also are available. Tickets are available at tickets.orpheumnola.com or by calling the box office at 504-274-4870. For more information, visit www.orpheumnola.com.

Trixie Minx was voted as one of the top 10 favorite burlesque performers in New Orleans in my recent 2015 readers poll. Fleur de Tease was among the top five burlesque/circus shows for 2015 in the monthly/seasonal category. She recently performed in “The Burlesque Show” in Atlantic City.

Perle Noire, New Orleans burlesque star, named Vienna Boylesque Festival headliner

Perle Noire performs at Bella Blue's "Risq" show at Harrah's New Orleans Casino. (Photo by David Lee Simmons

Perle Noire performs at Bella Blue’s “Risq” show at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino. (Photo by David Lee Simmons

Internationally acclaimed burlesque performer Perle Noire, who got her start in New Orleans and returns for shows, has been tabbed as the headliner for the 2016 Vienna Boylesque Festival, it was announced Wednesday (Jan. 13). The festival will be held May 18 and 20 in Vienna.

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This marks the second consecutive year that a performer with New Orleans ties has been named the headliner. Bella Blue performed in 2015. Perle Noire also performed at Bella Blue’s “Risq” show this past summer at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino.

A former regular with Bustout Burlesque, Perle Noire won the inaugural Queen of Burlesque title at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival, and more recently finished No. 2 in the 21st Century Burlesque magazine readers’ poll and was first runner-up to Miss Exotic World 2015 at the the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend. While she’s currently based out of New York City, she still claims New Orleans as her home.

New Orleans stories dominate top of 21st Century Burlesque’s list for 2015

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Stories about New Orleans burlesque performer Ruby Rage and Chicago performer Jeez Loueez’s experiences at the 7th annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival were the No. 1 and No. 2 most popular articles of 2015 for 21st Century Burlesque magazine.

The popular media outlet published three separate posts on the Ruby Rage controversy, which received heavy media attention in New Orleans as well at both NOLA.com and Fox8. There was the first article breaking the news, and then a response from performer Dirty Martini, followed by a response from New Orleans’ own Bella Blue, who produced the “Blue Book Cabaret” show at Lucky Pierre’s at the center of the Ruby Rage controversy:

If we learn anything from this, it has to be that communication is super, super important. The huge flaw is the actions of the individual speaking for the club online – and I don’t know who that is – but it was really difficult to watch. It seems clear that very little research was done, and people were referenced in their statement without being contacted or consulted. It demonstrated no real knowledge of the art form or the community. And then when whoever was speaking tried to pull it in a different direction – claiming dissatisfaction with Ruby’s performance – well, too late now. If that had been clearly communicated from the beginning we wouldn’t be here now.

Blue cut ties with Lucky Pierre’s, which closed later in 2015. Ruby Rage provided an official statement on the subject as well, which can be read here.

Jeez Loueez, who earlier in the year performed at Kali von Wunderkammer’s Storyville Rising show at Cafe Istanbul, raised several issues — many related to the use of hip-hop and the representation of performers of color — at Rick Delaup’s festival in a lengthy YouTube video. 21st Century Burlesque reported it here. Here’s the video:

Both articles clearly struck a nerve with a national audience and were not confined to New Orleans alone, and illustrated how what happens in the Crescent City’s burlesque scene can speak to larger issues, whether about how body image is perceived among burlesque audiences (and in this case, club management) or about race and burlesque. (I addressed this issue on the eve of both the New Orleans Burlesque Festival and seasonal The Roux: A Spicy Brown Burlesque Festival.)

21st Century Burlesque’s Top 50 poll is due out soon. I wonder what compelling stories might emanate from New Orleans in 2016. Stay tuned.