Montreal Burlesque Festival
It’s been a week already but I’m still recovering from the amazing energy of the 4-day long Montreal Burlesque Festival. I had the opportunity to travel to Montreal with 5 colleagues from my collective – the HangMan7 – for this year’s festival in order to document the entire extravaganza for the organizer, the beautiful and talented Scarlett James, get some potential images for our upcoming Velvet Divide: Art of Burlesque art exhibit in October, and add to my growing portfolio of burlesque performance photography.
It’s a completely different experience when you document a festival from top to bottom and not just shoot the performances. You get immersed in the entire experience, getting a deeper understanding and appreciation for the long days and hours the performers put into their routines, see up-close the craftsmanship that goes into their elaborate layered costumes, and learn about the realities of making a living as a burlesque performer.
It’s interesting to see what these talented artists will do to be able to follow their passion – just as I work a day job as a graphic artist and event coordinator in order to be able to pursue my photography (and one day perhaps be able to do it full time), they have jobs that vary from software development to graphic design to dance instructor.
Overall, these performers find the most creative ways to stand out in their routines, finding inspiration in the movies, theatre, culture, and history to create breathtaking and memorable performances:
- Cherry Typhoon: a powerhouse from Japan who draws inspiration from the Geisha
- Satan’s Angel: a legend in the industry who can still set her tassles on fire
- Scarlett James: a bird of paradise in a gilded cage
- Renéa Le Roux: the Queen of Hearts from the deep South
- Gentry De Paris: sophistication and feather fans from the City of Love
- Emmanuelle De La Gitane: Toronto’s own sensual belly-dancer
- L Diablo: queen of 60s camp
- Jacqueline Hyde: saucy singer inspired by theatre’s Jekyll & Hyde
- Roxi Dlite: Windsor darling who knows how to make a cigar look sexy
- Tigerrr Lily: an homage to Clockwork Orange
- St. Stella: Toronto’s own pirate girl and can-can star
- Cherie Black-Diamond: elegant in black & white and tattoos all over
- Saucy Tarts: Toronto’s own can-can phenomenon
And there were more! With 4 days of Fashion Show, Oh Canada! Showcase, International Showcase, Gala Showcase, and workshops I’ll be going through photos for at least two weeks.