How delighted I was to have found myself at a different venue to view the art form which is boylesque. Boylesque, for all you newbies out there, is basically burlesque for guys. Scanning over the crowd, I noticed a consistent demographic: women, aged either mid twenties or mid forties, and extremely rowdy.
How delighted I was to have found myself at a different venue to view the art form which is boylesque. Boylesque, for all you newbies out there, is basically burlesque for guys. Scanning over the crowd, I noticed a consistent demographic: women, aged either mid twenties or mid forties, and extremely rowdy. I was tickled to be sitting next to the Southern delightfulness of Miss Magnolia Jackson Pickett Burnside, who at times was more entertaining than the show itself!
It has always been a thought of mine with burlesque that unless that performer engages an audience in a moving and captivating way, it is essentially just a person taking their clothes off to music. It is never an easy feat to get up on stage and perform in front of an auditorium full of expectant onlookers, which is even more true while taking your clothing off. To do it in a manner that is engaging and entertaining, well… that takes talent. As I am an avid participant in this community, as well as a fan, it is easy for me to gauge a performer by audience reception, the ability to create connection and intimacy, and the general aptness of a particular skill displayed by a performer.
There were some good moments and there were some what I’ll refer to as “eh” moments. I love burlesque because of the heart, the way a girl looks into a crowd, the slow seductive manner in which she teases the audience, and her ability to arouse an emotion out of her spectators. I also usually enjoy burlesque where there’s talent involved–a girl swaying from side to side while taking her clothing off does nothing for me. Repetition becomes boring to me. I am turned on, however, if a girl conveys a good story and a cohesive nature to her act. I do not expect any less from the guys.
Produced by Moxie LaBouche and Those Freakin’ Weirdos, “Ladies Night” brought new talent to the forefront and also brought a whole night of boylesque to some very expectant women of Richmond, VA. I saw a few men out there who were dragged out by their girlfriends to endure this spectacle, but by the end I found those same guys laughing and enjoying themselves. There were moments where it felt like The Full Monty–regular guys exposing themselves to the masses to say, “Hey, this is me, all of me; love me!”
There were some standout performances during the night and some newcomers I want to see develop. One such being Mr. Jebidiah Stone and his talent using balls (imagine the euphemisms used) and what is called a Cyr Wheel. Mr. Stone is sweet and endearing and he mesmerized the audience with his skills. He’s more circus/sideshow fare than boylesque, but who knew a ball rolling around on a body could be sexy? The audience enjoyed his twisting and turning of his Cyr Wheel, which he calls Simplicity. It was very enchanting to watch.
Buster Britches seems like a natural entertainer. His timing and his connection with the audience makes his performances. When he smiles, you can’t help but smile back at the big lug. He knows exactly when to pull on those suspenders and when to give a wink.
Chris Chaos is always a favorite of mine. I enjoy his performances because he can make something look very feminine, but also turn around and make it look quite macho. He could be titled not only as Richmond’s Pin Up Boy, but also as The Master of Derrière Joggling. I thought the two women beside me were going to fall out of their seats during the end of his second performance… he takes rump shaking to a whole other level.
I reserve the most accolades for Mr. Paco Fish, “King of Southern Exposure.” Paco is an inspiration in his work. He is a true performer of boylesque. He’s elegant, he’s captivating, and winsome, and always leaves laughter upon exiting the stage. His “French” number was amazing, from the costume to the “Eiffel Tower” appendage, just perfect. His final performance, the last of the evening, as a coked up cheerleader ending in his demise was riotous.
Jonny Ram, Dante the Inferno, and Bryan Boylesquo also performed well. I like Jonny Ram’s “Rocketman” a la Shatner, although the recording was horrid. Dante put some rock and roll and some lumberjack in his routines, showing boylesque to be manesque. Burlesque/Boylesque is about maintaining an illusion. Hostess Dev L. Ish pointed out Dante’s girlfriend in the crowd; I felt this should have been avoided, as these guys are creating a fantasy. It’s like finding out the singer of a band has a girlfriend. Bryan Boylesquo celebrated his debut onstage as The President, which included an homage to our… ahem… flag. “”Merica, ow ow!” said Miss Magnolia. I’m curious as to how these characters will develop in shows to come.
One person who stole the show was Orlando Love, the stage… lion. He was no kitten, ladies, and the ladies did not let him forget he was onstage. Orlando caused so much arousal from the crowd that the poor hostess Dev L. Ish could barely maintain them. Being upstaged by your man-kitty couldn’t have been comfortable for Miss Dev, as the crowd egged Orlando on to show what his momma done gave him.
“Ladies Night” proved to be a good show. I think there is always room for improvement with performers, no matter how good they might be. It takes time to develop your personality for the stage. Talking to some of the women in the crowd, I found they were there to have a good time and be entertained. “We just wanted a fun girls night,” said one onlooker. They sought something different to do on a Saturday night in Richmond, VA and the night proved to be just that. It succeeded in conveying to the audience what boylesque is, and if you want to see the boy next door take his clothes off, then this was the event for you. The key is to improve and make it better each time, creatively. As with burlesque, if an act doesn’t evolve, it can become lackluster. What you want as a producer is to be consistent and refreshing.
I look forward to seeing what new boylesque stars take the stage in the future, and what they have to offer, because this town could always use some fresh skin. It ain’t The Thunder from Down Under, but it proves to be done with a lot of heart and amusement.
Interested in becoming the next big boylesque/burlesque act? Classes are available at Miss Deanna Danger’s Boom Boom Basics. Sign up now to learn the art of burlesque, producing, stage presence, costume creation, and other foundations to the world of burlesque.