Sin City is full of flesh and glitter year-round, but May
31st-June 2nd the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender takes sparkle and exposure
to a higher level. Burlesque stars from around the globe descended on Orleans
Hotel & Casino to celebrate the new school of burlesque and pay homage to
legends of the art form during a weekend filled with shows and parties, making
it the largest burlesque event in the world.
crashed the Sunday pool party and fashion show, finding several burlesque
beauties with an abundance of style, sporting colorful ink, skimpy swimsuits,
and a few hangovers. Numerous scantily clad ladies (and a few gentlemen)
lounged the afternoon away in the pool and under the shade of palm trees, as
the burlesque world summit took over the Orleans
pool and spa. Once the gowns came off, a myriad of ink was on display waterside
as neophytes and legends took a breather from the business of performing.
Statuesque brunette LouLou
D'vil said the BHoF Weekend was again an amazing event filled with laughter,
friends, shows, and partying! LouLou wowed the audience and judges at Saturday
night's 23rd Annual Tournament of Tease, but was fresh as a daisy at the pool
party, reflecting on her winning performance. "The most memorable
experience for me was, of course, winning the main title, 'Queen of Burlesque
2013,' (formerly called Miss Exotic World) on Saturday night. My biggest dream
came true that night!" LouLou said.
LouLou traveled all the
way from her native Finland to compete in the pageant, where she teased her way
to the prize, stripping down to a sequined G-string and fishnets, revealing a
full sleeve of ink, "My arm is covered with images of burlesque legends (by
Aadee of Takomo Tattoo in Finland) because they have a very special place in my
The Burlesque Hall of Fame
is the premier organization keeping alive the passion of the art form, housing
a collection of thousands of costumes, props, and photos of burlesque's past on
in Las Vegas
and hosts the Weekender celebration. The BHoF was originally the personal
collection of '50s era tassel-twirler Jennie Lee and was taken over by friend
and fellow performer Dixie Evans, who shepherded the collection since 1990,
which eventually relocated to Las
Vegas in 2006.
Evans, known as the "Godmother
of Burlesque," founded the Miss Exotic World Pageant in 1991 to attract
more visitors to the new museum. Miss Exotic World grew with the neo-burlesque
movement to what is now the BHoF Weekender. Dixie
was celebrated at the weekend event just weeks before she passed away at age
Modern burlesque stalwart
Gigi La Femme offset her traditional tattoos with a sparkling gold one-piece at
the pool party. Gigi took the time to relax and reflect: "I've been
performing for almost eight years and believe me, it's amounted to a lot of
laughter, blood, sweat, tears, glitter, and tattoos. Burlesque is such a huge
part of my life that it's no surprise I have chosen to dedicate certain pieces
to the art form. My devil swallow is for a fellow performer and friend, Sparkly
Devil, who passed away just days before the Burlesque Hall of Fame
For her, the mix of
glitter and ink is a natural. "We've always been the creative kids: the
freaks, the strippers, the carnies, the rock 'n' rollers, the drag queens, and
the lovers of all things artistic and mystifying." Gigi said. "Body
art and modification have always been a part of our world, so I'm always happy
to see more of it."
The unabashed Cheeky Lane from
NYC has made the weekend celebration an annual pilgrimage. "I go there
every year to watch the legends on (Friday's) Legend's Night and to meet them
in person throughout the weekend," she said. "I cried when I saw them
perform and was in awe when I got to talk to them one-on-one. Those ladies...they
have WILD stories. They were badasses long before we were, and during more
modest times. It's because of them, I have an art form I can put all my passion
and energy into."
Cheeky wasn't shy about
showing her "F-holes" ink on the pool deck. "I thought it looked
really beautiful, visually - the lines accentuate the curves on my body,"
she said. "The follow-up question is usually, do you play the violin, and
the answer is no." But Cheeky is not short on talent when it comes to
creating costumes and exciting the crowd.
pulled up her teeny bikini to show her winged dragon tattoo for Rebel Ink. "I feel like my tattoos
are part of my signature as a burlesque performer, my identifying marks. I'm
often changing my look, through make-up, costuming, and wigs, but the tattoos
stay the same. I may look completely different from show to show, but these
tattoos are unmistakable."
While casually communing
with the burlesque community at the pool party was fun, Saraphim said, "The
most memorable part of the BHOF Weekend would be performing onstage with the
Hoop Unit in the group category. Performing burlesque for an audience full of
burlesque performers was a dream come true."
Photos and article by Dan