Spotlight on: The New York Burlesque Festival

Undoubtedly one of the giants of the annual burlesque calendar, the New York Burlesque Festival rolled out the red carpet for its twelfth annual extravaganza at the end of September this year. With a stellar international cast featuring over 100 performers from around the world, the four day burlesque-athon offered shows and workshops with some of the world’s top teasers.

History and Background
Founded by the World Famous Pontani Sisters & Jen Gapay in 2003, the NYBF is one of the longest-running festivals of the modern day ecdysiastical calendar. Every year, New York’s finest are joined by burlesque superstars from across the USA and beyond. Regular faces at the festival include several Miss Exotic World winners including Julie Atlas Muz, Michelle L’Amour, Dirty Martini and many more.

It’s little wonder that such a city would produce such a vibrant and popular festival; New York is no stranger to burlesque. One of the original epicentres of American burlesque in the early 20th century, it was the home of the famous Ziegfeld Follies from 1907-1931.
Taking their inspiration from the Parisian Folies Bergere, the shows breached the gap between Broadway and vaudeville, gaining infamy for the beautiful chorus girls & lavish sets. The city’s theatres also played host to the Minsky Brothers shows, as well as hundreds of other revues and cabarets.
In the present day, New York’s burlesque scene is booming; venues such as the Slipper Room host shows more nights than not and whatever you’re looking for (weird/wonderful/exotic/erotic/bizarre) you’ll have no problem finding it in NYC.

The Festival Today
This year’s NYBF ran for the customary four nights: Thursday’s Teaser Party, Friday’s Premier Party, the Saturday Spectacular at the famous BB King’s and Sunday’s Golden Pastie Awards. Hosts included the incomparable Murray Hill and the one and only World Famous *BOB*. There are quite simply too many performers to list them all; big names included Nasty Canasta, Gal Friday, Amber Ray, Perle Noir, Little Brooklyn, Medianoche and the original king of Boylesque, Tigger.
In addition to the shows, the festival teamed up with Jo ‘Boobs’ Weldon’s New York School of Burlesque to offer workshops with stars including former Miss Exotic World title holders Michelle L’Amour (2005) and Imogen Kelly (2012).

NYBF_2014Wrapping things up in a truly spectacular burlesque style, the Golden Pastie Awards bestowed their tongue-in-cheek awards for categories such as the ‘Chatterbox Golden Pastie Award’ (given to Murray Hill) and the ‘I Woke Up Like This Golden Pastie Award’ (Angie Pontani).

The curtain has dropped upon the NYBF for another year, but they’ll no doubt be back next autumn, so get the date in your diaries burlesque fans, you won’t want to miss it!

If you’d like to find out more about the festival, visit their website here.