You can’t take your boyfriend out anywhere? You don’t know what to do with your girlfriends this weekend? Go see BOOBS (there will be butts as well)! Just in time for the weekend (April 21st to 23rd), the second edition of Bagel Burlesque Expo has arrived in town. I was lucky enough to catch the founders of the festival, Lulu les Belles Mirettes and Baron Von Styck, before the curtains rose on opening night and ask them a few questions.
Lulu Les Belles Mirettes & Baron Von Styck
Photo: Andrea Hausmann and Marisa Parisella
What is neo-burlesque?
Neo-burlesque is burlesque that goes beyond traditional burlesque, it allows you to push boundaries and think outside the box. We use a lot of comedy, theatre, drama, gore, pop culture… we often develop a story throughout the number.
What motivated you to create this festival?
Since neo-burlesque isn’t as mainstream, we wanted to offer Montréal burlesque artists an opportunity to share their art. We also wanted to create a platform where local and foreign artists could exchange, as half our performers are from out of town.
I’m sure you get this question a lot but… Why the name Bagel Burlesque Expo?
Naming our festival “Festival Néo-Burlesque de Montréal” was too obvious and we wanted a name that was outside the box. So, we started throwing around ideas pertaining to Montréal’s identity. We picked EXPO in honor of the Expo 67 (which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year). Then, we thought of poutine, but it isn’t actually from Montréal and there are already countless poutine festivals… What about smoked meat? Nah… We did not like the connotations between the meat and the body. Then boom! BAGELS! Montréal prides itself in its bagels and they are also reminiscent of the shapes you’ll see in a neo-burlesque number.
What was you’re the biggest challenge while organizing the festival?
The biggest challenge was selecting the artists. Artists had to apply to the festival by sending in a video of their performance and we then had judges rate their acts. The best rated acts got into the festival. It only gets harder from there, as we have to contact the artists who did not make the cut (which is about 2/3 of the applicants) and inform them that they were not selected. That is never fun.
What is the greatest reward of organizing this festival?
Without a doubt, it is the congratulations we receive from people. As much from the audience, as from the performers. It really warms the heart.
What can the audience expect?
You can expect a crazy and sexy evening (or a brunch), full of surprises and artists with a passion for sharing their art of neo-burlesque.
Honey Dynamite & Anja Keister
For opening night, we were treated to absolutely exquisite and extravagant performances. I would never have expected to see, in the same night, a solemn Virgin Mary (Anja Keister – NYC) and a rock’n’roll car, high beams included (Honey Dynamite – MTL)! To top it all off, the show was hosted by the incomparable Montreal comedienne, Tranna Wintour. If you have not yet had the chance to have your pants charmed off by Tranna, you are missing out. But don’t fret, she will return to host the second night of the festival at Théâtre Plaza tonight (Saturday).
Uma Gahd & Tranna Wintour
Sunday, the day of God, you are invite to a brunch show at Pompette. Brunch and boobs! What else could you need? To make sure you aren’t riddled with guilt about missing the Sunday service, God HERself will be hosting the show… Uma Gahd that is. She is a comedy Drag Queen all about Broadway and theatricality
You have two more chances to discover the Bagel Burlesque Expo, which ends on April 23rd!
For more information and to purchase tickets: http://www.bagel-burlesque.com/
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