Saturday night, Greg and I headed down to Detroit to attend the first ever Michigan Burlesque Festival held at the Hastings Street Ballroom/Tangent Gallery. Foxy Tann was our hostess. Doors opened at 8pm and the show began around 9, but the bar was open and there was a small merchant area where many of the performers sold their handmade goods (lots of sequined pasties - no, not the food - feather boas, and cute hats).
Peteet's Famous Cheese Cakes of Oak Park was there, too, passing out free samples of their amazing cheesecakes. They had their original flavor and sweet potato, which was so sweet and smooth. Yum! Also handing out free samples of ice cream was Ferndale's Treat Dreams. The flavor was salted caramel, but it mostly just tasted like salt to me. Generally, I do like Treat Dreams, though, I'm just not a big fan of salt.
Also in the merchant area was a stage where a couple of ladies from the Weird Sisters Circus were performing aerial dances with ribbons suspended from the ceiling. During the show, someone performed an aerial dance with chains rather than silk (I'm guessing not real metal chains based on how lightweight they behaved, though I could be wrong). Unfortunately for that one, a creep in the audience kept yelling out things like "Oh, you're a naughty girl" and other inappropriate comments which tainted the performance ever so slightly. (She started off wearing a steampunk corset, then took it off before heading up the chains. I wonder where she got it! It was neat.)
Rock the Booth, a photo booth rental service based in Michigan was also present offering free photos. Naturally, Greg and I had to get one since free photo booths seem to be the only time we get photos taken together.
As for the performances, they were fantastic! Each one was unique, which made for a very fun evening. A colorful clown started us off, followed by a seaside tease. One woman did a strip to a country cover of "Gin and Juice" while dressed like a stereotypical thug. There was also a man who did a strip down to a Venom outfit - yes, Venom from Spiderman - followed by a G-string. Another man squeezed his entire body through a tennis racket frame.
The coolest one that I saw was a transgender woman in her 60s, TEA, who came out wearing all black and a blackened stage with only a black light illuminating her spinning orange hula hoop. The song was about being invisible and as the set went on, she took off the black articles of clothing to reveal sexy lingerie lit up by the black light. She also revealed what looked like glowing tribal tattoos. The effect was very cool visually and also a little like turning the idea of burlesque on its head by keeping her body mostly hidden, only revealing the outlines via the black light. I loved it.
Unfortunately, we ended up leaving a few acts after the intermission because neither one of us had gotten much sleep and Greg had to get up early again the next morning for work. We did see a lot of acts from Ann Arbor, which makes me want to investigate more local burlesque shows.
If you are a fan of burlesque, or are just curious what it's all about, keep an eye out for this event next year. I'm sure if you do a search for burlesque in your area, you will get hits, too. Burlesque is a lot of fun and often quite beautiful.