There is something pretty magical about travelling the world, doing what you love. A few months ago a friend and producer asked me if I would consider travelling to France to perform at the 1st Annual Bordeaux Burlesque Festival. I absolutely saw it as an opportunity of a lifetime and said a resounding OUI!
The three day festival took place in the picturesque city of Bordeaux. Amongst street musicians on cobble-stoned lanes and the bells of the Cathedral Saint Andre. The burlesque scene is quiet here, so when the girls decide to put on a show, they. Put. On. A. Show!
On Friday I got to be the loudest audience member for Les Bal des Debutantes. The festival’s producers LoLo Chantilly and Show-Show Cannelle co-hosted the evening, tolerating my raucous laughter and applause (despite not knowing a word of French). Their attitudes and stage presence were worth a thousand words. We saw plenty of local burlesque talent and had a great night!
On Saturday night we entered the Theatre Victoire. Tucked away within the heart of Bordeaux, from the outside it is tiny: but as I walked through a hallway filled with pin-up posters, pass a box office and charming bar, I entered a huge theatre! Beautifully lit and ready for the evening. Winding staircases lead us upstairs to dressing rooms, and below to a secret prop area and rehearsal space. It felt like a 1920’s speakeasy!
I was lucky enough to perform again with Ruby Schatzi from Strasbourg, and meet wonderful international performers: Jett Adore from Chicago, Kitten DeVille from Los Angeles, Pepper Sparkles from Finland, and Shiela Wolf from Berlin!
On the first night I performed my classic act to St Louis Blues, which went down well! But I felt very lacklustre amongst such vibrant and talented local acts! One performer had engineered a boa to look like a storm cloud, and had rigged the lights inside to flash in time with the thunder in her music. Incredible! Jett Adore performed his winning Peacock Act which never fails to mesmerise the audience, and Sheila Wolf had the audience in stitches with her comedic tribute to Popeye the Sailor!
By Sunday I was ready to show Bordeaux my pride and joy: the Toothpaste act! Unfortunately my man-prop was unable to make the show last minute. So I hastily tried to find a lovely local to help me out in my act. Luckily I had the pleasure of meeting Miss Pearly Poppet! A performer from Toulouse. Even though she performed twice in the final show, she still had time to don my old Pajamas and be the best lady-prop ever! The act went down so well among the crowd! I was even playfully scolded by Jett Adore, who said I left the stage too early, and deprived the audience of their standing ovation! Words from the king of Boylesque himself! I was ecstatic!
I spent the rest of the evening drinking our very own Bordeaux Burlesque Festival wine, and watching the incredible talents of Cherry Lyly Darling, Paris Lahaine and Alexei Von Woyslius from Paris who performed a commanding Tribute to the a Phantom of the Opera, and a whimsical White Rabbit striptease!
There is no greater feeling than discovering a country with the people who have discovered burlesque, just like me. I cannot thank Charlotte and Lolo enough for inviting me to share my style of burlesque amongst such great performers. I came, I saw, I danced, and I made unforgettable friendships on the journey.
I cannot wait to see where this wonderful industry takes me next…
Til then, Au Revoir!
xx Sugar Du Joure