(Original blog post June 12, 2011)
It’s been a few months since my last blog post, but much of that time was spent getting ready for this year’s Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas. Now that it’s come and gone, I better talk about it! I’ll warn you now that my storytelling is kind of disjointed and incomplete. Also, you’d think this post should be full of photos, but I’m terrible about remembering to take them. So it’s not, cuz I hardly have any.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1: My wife and I landed in Vegas and got settled into our room at the Orleans around 7:30pm, after a long day of travel. An intended 90-minute nap turned into several hours, and around midnight we got a call from our Californian friends Melissa and Vanessa from Retro Diva, who we got to know two years ago, the first time Krushervision vended at BHOF. Visiting and drinking ensued, and our evening ended around 4am.
THURSDAY, JUNE 2: In previous years, Thursday was vendor set-up day. This year, setup wasn’t until Friday morning, so Thursday was kind of a prep day for me. The girls hit some Vegas thrift shops, while I retrieved the packages containing all my K-vision merch and my display wall which I had FedExed to myself the week before. I then met up with friends Franky Vivid and Michelle L’amour, because Michelle was sweet enough to sign a few prints of Naked Girls Reading art that I was selling. On the way back from their suite (which was way more swankierer than ours) and in need of some caffiene, I hit the coffee shop, where I ran into my buddy Java from Bachelor Pad Magazine, who was hanging out with Vivienne VaVoom. After BSing with them for a bit, I headed back to my room, but was re-routed by a text message from one Cha Cha Velour, telling me to meet her at Big Al’s Comedy Club for a pre-Dr. Sketchy’s pow-wow.
(Oh, and somewhere in there was a detour to the Namco arcade upstairs for some Street Fighter and Galaga. I’m only human.)
So, lemme get this next unfortunate part outta the way: Krushervision was supposed to sponsor the Dr. Sketchy’s event on Thursday, and I was scheduled to co-host it with Las Vegas’ own burlesque superstar and regular Sketchy’s host, Cha Cha Velour. I was really looking forward to this, which would be the very first event of BHOF weekend. Well, long story short, despite our best efforts (especially on Cha Cha’s part), due to certain technical issues, the Dr. Sketchy’s session did not happen on time, and after 45 minutes with no resolution to the problems, we called it off. It was disappointing to say the least, and not a great way to kick off the weekend. But, looking at the bright side, I got to meet Cha Cha, as well as Ms. Redd and Karla Joy, who were to be our models.
Although things got off to a questionable start, I wasn’t about to spend the next four days stewing about it, so I shook it off and got excited for the rest of the weekend! The first night was the “Movers, Shakers and Innovators” show, which was hosted by Hubba Hubba Revue’s Kingfish for the first half, and Foxy Tann (of whom Christina and I are both huge fans — more on Foxy later) for the second. Both MCs did a great job, and the show was amazing. Some of my favorites from that first night were Inga Ingenue, Kitty Bang Bang, and Julie Atlas Muz. But as far as pure entertainment goes, I gotta tell you that Johnny Porkpie’s “running commentary” act cracked me up until I was in tears. Seriously.
FRIDAY, JUNE 3: Up early to get the Krushervision booth set up. Secured a rear corner for myself, Retro Diva, and Bachelor Pad Magazine, as the three of us have been neighbors for the last three BHOFs and always have a good time together. This year, table skirts were not provided. Improvised with a sheet from one of the two beds in our room. Got all set up with my cool new display wall, and Krushervision was open for bidniss!
That evening, we made the tough decision to skip the show and went out with Vanessa and Melissa to get some dinner and do Vegasy stuff. We really wanted to squeeze in a break, because vending all day and having an hour to get ready before the show each night is really pretty hard on us vendors; we wind up totally wiped out by Sunday. So it actually felt pretty good to take that break and see a little more of Las Vegas, which I am begrudgingly starting to like a little bit.
SATURDAY, JUNE 4: Breakfast (Cha Cha and Java materialized behind me in line at the coffee shop), vend vend vend, dinner, and then the main event of the weekend: The Tournament of Tease, hosted by the inimitable Miss Astrid, and the crowning of all the new cham-peens of burlesque for the year! Everybody really brought it this year and there were so many impressive acts. I won’t say who I was secretly rooting for to win Reigning Queen, but I was very happy to see Indigo Blue take home the trophy.
During the afternoon, though, I was pleasantly surprised when Foxy Tann stopped by the booth, and I couldn’t help telling her what a big fan of hers I am. She was super nice and we bonded over the fact that we’re both upper-midwesterners (she from Minneapolis and myself from Wisconsin), so she was glad that I appreciated the cheesehead jokes she had made on Thursday night.
Also on Saturday afternoon, I decided to put together a little something for Cha Cha to thank her for busting her butt on Thursday.
Later, when I was picking up some grub in the food court, Foxy approached me and asked if she could use part of my booth to sell her pasties. How the hell could I say no to that??
Late on Saturday, I attended the first-ever Naked Girls Reading held at BHOF. Nasty Canasta, Greta Layne, Michelle L’amour and Polly Wood were charming (and naked) as they read burlesque-themed prose to an intimate audience of about 30 people.
SUNDAY, JUNE 5: A decent couple days of vending rounded out my obligations for the weekend, and I got to meet more great people, which is always the best part of the whole event, as far as I’m concerned. Cha Cha stopped by the booth and I gave her the pencil drawing I did of her as thanks for all the hard work she put into our ill-fated Sketchy’s session. Pretty sure she liked it, because she ran off saying she was gonna go show it off to everyone! Foxy and her man showed up with her amazing pasties made of space-age polymer, and along with Christina, we all enjoyed hanging out and talking for the rest of the afternoon.
As the day wound down, the vendors packed everything up and went off to get ready for the final night of superstar burlesque. Before the show, we caught up with Coco Lectric for a bit, and also finally got to meet Perle Noire for the first time. Perle is one of my and Christina’s favorites, and although our meeting was brief, we all look forward to catching up again when we take one of our frequent trips to New Orleans.
The show kicked off with 2010’s Best Group winnners, The Chicago Starlets, who are always a blast to watch. With Nadine Dubois and Naughty Pierre hosting, the show continued on with an entire night of Exotic World title-holders, such as Kitten DeVille, Tigger!, Trixie and Monkey, Michelle L’amour, and Dirty Martini (just to name a few). A truly impressive lineup absolutely rocked it, then after intermission was the screening of the French film Tournee, starring Dirty Martini, Julie Atlas Muz, Kitten on the Keys, and more. We ducked out before the film (it seemed a lot of people did), and took up residence at one of the Orleans’ many bars to imbibe with friends.
There is so much that I’m forgetting to talk about (I didn’t even get into talking about the after-parties), but when a weekend like this is so packed full of awesome, it becomes a blur after a week and it’s almost impossible to put it all into one post. Let me just say that I’m proud to witness this convention of talented and creative people every year, and meeting new people and showing my work is always a highlight of my year. Lemme shamelessly name-drop here, and thank both old and new friends, and people who just stopped by and said hello: Vanessa Kunkel and Melissa Gruenhagen, Michelle L’amour and Franky Vivid, Java, Cha Cha Velour, Foxy Tann, Nicolette Daly, Mig Ponce, Don Spiro, Kitty Baby, Coco Lectric, Julie Atlas Muz, Perle Noire, Blaze, Ms. Redd, Karla Joy, Laura Herbert, Scooter Harris, and so many more. You’re all awesome.
I think I get why there are so many burlesque festivals nowadays: nobody wants it to end. And speaking of that, I should be seeing many of you again at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival in September…