Minneapolis Burlesque Festival: "This is a bigger, splashier show than the average burlesque show"
Performer Blanche DeBris
Photo by Karl Giant
How has the feedback been leading up to this weekend's event?
It's been incredible. All four of the shows are completely sold out, but we're going to be selling standing room tickets at the door. I'm thrilled, and can't wait for the festival.
What makes these four shows so special?
We have 80 performers, and every show is different. The headliners may repeat, but the hosts and performers will be different each time.
What's the most exciting part of this weekend for you personally?
The thing that thrills me the most is that we have the first legend of burlesque Ms. Judith Stein, The Lady Divine! She's a Canadian burlesque performer who made a name for herself back in the '60s and '70s, back when they had the big fans and costumes. She'll be performing and doing a talk as part of the festival. She is a firecracker, and an amazing performer by the modern definition of burlesque. She's amazing to watch, and is just as good now as she was in her younger days. It's going to be incredible to have her.
Photo by Studio Betties Pinup Photography
Performer Ophelia Flame
Backing up a bit, how did you decide to take on such a huge undertaking?
I was producing burlesque shows with Lili's Burlesque Revue since 2004, and it was a tradition to have a festival each winter in Minneapolis. When we closed the last show with Lili's, everyone wanted to go and try different things. I decided I wanted to promote a new festival independently.
And how has this experience been so far?
I've been shocked and amazed. I'm so delighted that the feedback has been so positive, and that we have so many great performers, classes, and a legend attending. The classes are great because they make the festival more accessible for performers, and I think it's the next chapter of festivals. It gives us as performers the chance to work on our craft and make it better.
Performer Elektra Cute
Photo by Emma Freeman
Do you think the success of this festival is representative of the Twin Cities burlesque scene?
I think there is a growing awareness of burlesque here in the Twin Cities. Burlesque is doing really well here, and there are really dedicated burlesque fans. At the same time, I think that this is a bigger, splashier show than the average burlesque show, and some people are thinking this is the one show they really want to see this year. It's going to be the pinnacle of our burlesque scene.
IF YOU GO:
Minneapolis Burlesque Festival
Thursday through Saturday
The Ritz Theater
345 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis
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