If you haven’t been to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, I urge you to! Next time you’re up north (west), you can pay to watch, dance, or even treat yourself and book an afternoon tea to unwind in the grandest of settings. A traditional Wurlitzer organ literally pops up out of the stage, and thousands of dancers grace it’s sprung floor every year. There’s truly nothing more romantic than watching an old couple waltz around the dance floor from one of the balconies. The building is stunning, the elegance radiates throughout, and it has a truly magical nostalgic feel to it.
Now, I’m no stranger to a Burlesque show, as you may have seen. I’ve watched it in pubs, clubs, and even a dilapidated theatre in Morecambe. I’ve seen international lineups, talented circus performers, costumes to die for, and Neil Kendall dressed as a flying monkey (amongst other things). All of this, I felt, could not be matched easily.
I am going to use professional photos taken from previous shows and promotional shots, so that you get the best quality. Really, I feel that the magic of burlesque is seeing it live, and no amount of action-shots will match that. Some of these pictures include the act performed at Burlesque Noir, some don’t. This way, you get to see the most beautiful, glossiest versions of these incredible performers, and look forward to seeing them perform yourself one day!
I spent the weekend with the beautiful Ruby Rainstorm. She’s a truly wonderful friend, mother, and burlesque performer! A total fox too, she scrubs up well in a sequin dress!
Now, let me introduce you to the lineup of Burlesque Noir 2016:
I was super grateful to have the chance to see U.S based perfomer Medianoche, dubbed ‘Sin in an Hourglass’. She treated us to two signature acts, and believe me when I say my costume envy was through the roof! Her ‘Underwater Blues’ act won her First Runner Up in the Miss Exotic World, Reigning Queen of Burlesque competition at Burlesque Hall of Fame weekend 2014. She also performed an act which involved a colour changing bra and a hidden panel skirt. Sensational! No wonder this woman holds so many titles.
I’ve seen Missy Malone‘s Bride of Frankenstein act many times, but when is a 9 foot tall burlesque performance to thumping club music not fantastic?! The lighting in the venue really added to the drama, and Cece Sinclair was a fantastic stand-in minion/stilt spotter! Missy also owns Malone’s Vintage and produces the Missy Malone & Friends Burlesque Revue!
Aleksei Von Wosylius is like nothing you will ever have seen. A beautiful, flexible, masculine ‘Opéra-Boylesque‘ performer with incredible costumes and stage presence. He is balletic, mysterious, visually stunning and incredibly talented. Also, his entire body was painted gold, including his butt cheeks. Yay!
Sticking with boylesque, how could I not mention Lou Safire? This beautiful, talented man holds many international titles, specifically number 7 in the top 20 Burlesque Acts in the UK! He brought fiery passion to the stage, and his unmistakable makeup was suitable theatrical for the event! It was wonderful to meet him and his partner Domino DeVile, with whom he runs the popular The Cheeky Devil’s Club cabaret nights!
The best thing about Violet Blaze? First off, she opened the show with a fabulous riot of colour and celebration, and made sure no-one thought they were settling in for a night of slow jazz and deliberately leisured stripping. Secondly, she is an absolute force to be reckoned with, and clearly adores shaking her ass repeatedly for the audience!
Let this be known: I FUCKING LOVE CECE SINCLAIR. If anything, I kind of want to dedicate an entire post to her, so I won’t write too much here. Either way, for such a small lady, she took up a whole lot of room when she stepped on that stage. Her energy is positively wild and I’m so lucky that I’ve seen her perform more than once. She oozes sex, sass, and is actually one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met!
Rock Hart made every straight man’s night when he entered to the theme from ‘Rocky’, but quickly left them sexually confused as he took on the masculine boxer persona so easily after grinding against unsuspecting husbands and boyfriends! He is such a high-energy performer, and those assels were working hard! He also produces Hartcore Cabaret events around the north of England.
Diva Hollywood brought out her Pirate Booty, a ‘fast talking, cross-dressing pirate whip cracking trick act’. She lightened the mood, using a volunteer from the audience to help her demonstrate her whip cracking skills. She has become famous for her whip acts, as well as more traditional burlesque, and is a very inspiring lady indeed!
The porcelain doll of my dreams, Eliza Delite, performed her signature ‘Like A Prayer’ act. This has won awards, and she is rightly recognised as an international star. The costume, music and dancing was extremely atmospheric, and this act truly is divine inspiration. It is inspired by religious iconography and the photographic image “La Madone au coeur blessé” by French duo Pierre et Gilles (Eliza’s favourite artists).
I had never heard of Sahara Piksie before, but I’m so glad she was part of this show! She is a tribal fusion bellydancer, originally from England but now based in Isreal. I have never seen movements like hers, she was absolutely hypnotizing in her Medusa inspired act. The control and fluidity of her performance was truly mesmerizing!
I am yet to write a burly blog post that does not include the incredible Havana Hurricane in some form. I don’t need to prove how much I adore this woman, she knows! She brought out her classic ‘Heartbreaker’ act, a glamorous and foxy number with endless audience flirting. I think this is the part in which I lost my voice over the evening, from whooping too loud! I feel I need an entire blog post focused on Havana too, so watch this space!
I have been following the vaudevillian prince Joe Black since MySpace days a decade or more ago. He’s become the star he always deserved to be, and came to Burlesque Noir dressed to impress! His renditions of well-known songs seem to bring them new life, and his dark humour is perfect for cabaret!
As well as a few solo numbers, he performed with his partner Arran Shurvinton as ‘Terms of Unnervement’. After a number loosely based on the musical Wicked, I felt like I was going to be sick from laughing so much! Arran is becoming quickly recognised in the industry, and I have waited a long time to finally see him perform as Nosferatu, specifically his ‘Phone Call’ act. I was genuinely emotional, with happiness and with empathy. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but this act has nothing to do with horror! The makeup on both of these guys is incredible, and I would happily just watch a 4 hour show of them together!
Our host for the evening was Reuben Kaye. I cannot put into words how much this man makes me laugh. I could not breathe at times. This is not the first, nor will it be the last time that I see Reuben host a show. If he’s on the bill, you will want to get a ticket. As an Emcee, he is charismatic, inappropriate, devilish and beautiful. Do not get your phone out. And don’t sit in the front row, unless you want to be ripped apart then put back together with glitter glue.
Finally, the highlight of the show had to be Jo Weldon. The woman is an encyclopedia of burlesque. She has a rich history of her own, performing as a stripper as early as 1980. She has devoted so much of her life to Burlesque: establishing and running the New York School of Burlesque, writing The Burlesque Handbook, as current co-executive director of education at the Burlesque Hall of Fame, and judged and co-ordinated the judging for Miss Exotic World. If that wasn’t enough, she’s also a strong advocate for sex worker rights and freedom of sexual expression. Her performances were spell-binding, and you could tell she was absolutely living for the applause we gave willingly. What a legendary, incredible woman.
And that was the lineup! What. A. Show. Not forgetting…
Massive, huge, mega congratulations to Raven Noir. This show is her creation, and she works tirelessly to make it bigger and better every year. Not only that, but she performed on the night too! Her gothic beauty and beautiful costume sent chills through the ballroom as she performed one of her newest acts, ‘Hoodoo Woman’. You deserve all the applause and praise you get darling, and I can’t wait for next year! If you need any help at all, let me know. Also, special thanks to Trixie Pash who stage-managed the show after suffering all week from a horrible lurgy! She’s the biggest star behind the curtain!
I wore the Want That Trend Evianna navy glitter maxi dress, teaming it with my gorgeous Playful Promises electric blue Candace Strappy Bra as the neckline was rather revealing. This is a worn-to-be-seen bra anyway! Teaming this with my Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Poe (a gift from my bestie Eliza Strange) I was living the silver and navy starry night sky dream. And I debuted my new short hair!
Here’s some snaps I took on my phone at the event, amongst the glitter, wine and music!
Arran Shurvinton and Raven Noir
Patti Cakes and Joe Black
Patti Cakes, Neil Kendall and Ruby Rainstorm
Patti Cakes, Ruby Rainstorm, Rock Hart and Oriana Criscuolo
Medianoche, Neil Kendall and Jo Weldon
I was lucky enough to get a ticket for a Burlesque Workshop with Jo Weldon which was run the following day. It took place in the gorgeous Imperial Hotel, Blackpool, and the gathering of tired strippers in gym clothes was a hilarious sight in the luxurious foyer. Two hours of inspiration later, it was easy to see why she is Headmistress Jo Weldon of the New York School of Burlesque!
To top off this incredible weekend, I only went and had lunch (and cocktails!) with Havana Hurricane, Diva Hollywood (and partner), Ruby Rainstorm and Jo Weldon herself. Thank you Raven, thank you Havana, thank you Ruby and Blackpool!