Florida Burlesque Festival

8 09 2014

On Friday afternoon, Bill, his niece Sasha, and I set off for Ft. Lauderdale to go to the Florida Burlesque Festival. Funny story about that. Bill had told me that the festival was in Tampa. He had been planning to buy the three of us tickets, but ran out of time before leaving on his last contract. So I  bought them without thinking twice while I was on the phone with him a few days before the show. Seconds after clicking the “purchase” button, they were delivered to my inbox and I immediately printed them out.

“Uh Bill…”

“What?”

“The tickets say the venue is at Cinema Paradiso…in Ft. Lauderdale.”

“WHAT?! I could have sworn it was in Tampa.”

“Welp, looks like we’re going to have a long drive to get there!”

Lesson: Be 100% sure of the venue location BEFORE buying tickets.

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So, we set off in the late afternoon in time to make it for the 8:00pm show.

In typical Florida fashion, we drove through lots of late afternoon/evening thunderstorms. That made for a fun drive…not.

We stopped for dinner at a Chipotle somewhere between Ft. Myers and Naples, and had an interesting experience there…

If you are squemish or ever want to eat at another Chipotle, please skip to the next paragraph.

When we walked in, there was a guy sharpening a chef’s knife in the doorway between the front service area and the kitchen. He had a hand-held sharpener in his left hand, and the knife in the right. He was swinging the knife back and forth through the sharpener, but he was doing it with such confidence, I didn’t think much about it. I had a fleeting thought that if it went bad, it would be real bad, but didn’t really think we’d see an accident. We’d put in our orders and I had just finished asking for some cilantro to throw on top of my salad (I didn’t know that I could request this- but the guy in front of me had done it, so I thought, why not?), when the guy who had been sharpening the knife immediately stopped and disappeared into the back. I looked up and there was blood splattered on the white tile wall directly in front of where he had been sharpening the knife. On the floor and there was pools of blood. Did I just walk in to a scene of Dexter? The whole energy of the place changed- I think everyone was like “OMG did that really just happen?” The poor girl helping me out was trying to stay calm and continue wrapping up my order, while someone else immediately started cleaning the mess. Whoa. Just whoa. We paid, went to our table, and slowly started to eat. As I write this, I still can’t believe I actually ate my meal. I really don’t know how badly the guy was injured, but we watched him leave with another employee with his thumb wrapped well in a towel. What a way to start our evening!

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Anyhow, back to burlesque. Have you ever been to a Burlesque show? In the past two months, I have now been to 3! Bill has actually been one of the “variety” acts in two of them, and one of his fellow performers was accepted to the Festival, so we went to support him!

The Burlesque scene is quite different than I’m used to, but I am learning to appreciate this style of performance/art. 🙂

We showed up at the Theater, grabbed a drink and waited for the doors to open. People watching at these events is always one of my favorite things. I’ve never seen so many brightly colored wigs, sparkles, or feathers in one place! As we waited, we took some photos to remember the occasion, and we were photobombed by a woman rocking a backless red dress.

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As it turned out, she was actually one of the performers! This woman had been doing Burlesque for over 25 years, performing in Vegas and she went out and killed it on stage. Such confidence!

I tried to get a cute picture with Bill, but it is always quite a challenge.

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Sigh.

We did eventually get a good one later in the show:

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Doors opened a few minutes before 8, and since we had VIP seats, we were in one of the first few rows. We chatted for awhile with each other and those around us, before the signal came that it was almost time to begin. The show finally started at about 8:40 with a bit of the history of Burlesque and an intro by Bambi Le Fleur, who started the festival (this was it’s first year). Then, the super adorable, very funny MC, Blanche DeBris took the stage and immediately won over the hearts of the audience.

Throughout the course of the night we saw lots of acts- to be perfectly honest, the show was a bit long- and I liked some acts more than others. My favorite was the woman who sang opera while acting drunk and stripping. Hilarious. There was also a few nice “boylesque” acts in there as well 🙂

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Unfortunately, our friend didn’t perform until Saturday, so we didn’t get to see his performance! Sigh.

We left Ft. Lauderdale close to midnight, and by the time we made it across Alligator Alley, we decided to stop and crash for the night at a hotel. Best. Idea. Ever.

If you haven’t been to a burlesque show, I’d definitely recommend going at least once. Some of the costumes are unreal- so elaborate! There’s lots of artistic talent out there- check it out!

Question of the day: Have you ever been to a Burlesque show?