Our Superstar this week is the original King of Boylesque. An American striptease star of the highest order, he has been whipping audiences into a frenzy with his daring and provocative routines for over two decades. As one of New York’s finest, he has performed worldwide and he won the first ever Best Boylesque (aka Mr Exotic World) award at the 2006 Burlesque Hall of Fame. We are of course talking about the incredible Tigger.
Who is Tigger?
He is the original king of Boylesque, no question about it. At a time when US burlesque audiences were used to seeing scantily-clad female teasers bumping, grinding and shimmying across their stages, Tigger took the feminised notion of burlesque and turned it on its head.
The late ’90s saw him pushing burly boundaries and effectively forming the basis of what has gradually become a recognised art form in itself. Boylesque has steadily increased in popularity over the last 20 years to the point that there are now shows and festivals dedicated specifically to male burlesque.
How did Tigger get into burlesque?
Tigger began performing as a strip artist in 1991 but it wasn’t until 1997 that he adopted his current moniker. When he began, he was a pioneer in the field of male burlesque or ‘boylesque’; there simply wasn’t anyone else doing it yet. The other men in the shows of the 1990s adopted more traditionally gender-associated roles, such as compère. Of course there were other male strippers at the time, but they tended more towards the popularised ‘Chippendales’ kind of performances.
Coming from a background in the performing arts, Tigger worked alongside other performers doing variety and circus shows but he didn’t find himself drawn to those kinds of performance. Instead, he gravitated towards what would eventually become known as ‘boylesque’. His earliest shows saw him taking to the stage alongside the likes of Julie Atlas Muz and Dirty Martini, on NYC’s still somewhat underground burlesque scene.
What style of burlesque does he perform?
Tigger’s acts are known for being subversive. They play with character roles and boundaries, they range from the hilariously weird to the downright uncomfortable and everything in between.
Some interesting facts about Tigger
* When Tigger performed at the first Teaserama festival in 2001, he was the only male stripteaser on the bill.
*Tigger was one of the stars of the gameshow ‘This or That!’ alongside several other big-name NYC stars.
*In 2011 one of his acts was actually banned in Rome’s Gay Village. Ooh-err indeed!
If you’ve enjoyed this week’s Superstars blog, do check out the rest of the series: