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Oct 11th

Education Program Announced

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We are offering 11 classes over the two days to help you find your inner burlesque diva. Attend classes both days with a $100 weekend pass or buy individual classes at $15 per class.

Saturday, December 7th:

10-11am – Instructor Caramel Knowledge
Shake Dancing 101: An Introduction to Solo Blues.

Part video presentation, part movement class, Shake Dancing 101 will explore some of the roots to the old bump and grind. Many African American burlesque dancers were also known as shake dancers in the 30’s and 40’s Students will view clips of both vintage and current day solo blues dancers. African American vernacular dance shares similar movement to vintage jazz; Students will learn some of the common dance steps and a short choreography. The objective of this class is to introduce students to a vintage form of dance that is still practiced today and add new moves to their tool box. 60 min.

11:15am-12:15pm – Instructor Pearl Lux
Explore the history and choreography of dance styles and their corresponding music genre to enrich the overall aesthetic of your performances.

Class Objectives –
Expand your knowledge of dance styles associated with commonly used burlesque music
Examine how dance styles can affect your musicality, theme, and stage presence.
Learn basic choreography from dance styles ranging from jive to samba and jazz.
Learn how to incorporate these steps into your choreography to enhance your tease
60 min

12:30-1:30pm – Instructor Anastasia Von Teaserhausen
Corsets – a practical guide to finding the best corset for you.
Understanding the difference between corset, corsellet, bustier and other corset like items. Understanding the use of steel, spring steel, and plastic boning. Shaping vs stripping in corsets. Plus, we will discuss how to upgrade and embellish off the rack (ie Fredericks of Hollywood, Leg Ave) type corsets for stage use. (Please note: this is not a class on how to build a corset from scratch) 60 min.

1:30-2:30 pm LUNCH BREAK

2:30-3:30pm – Instructor Hells Belles
Rock n Roll Burlesque Choreography class
:
Hells Belles Burlesque will help you discover your inner video vixen with their signature Rock n Roll Burlesque! Join LA’s most celebrated rock darlings and step into a whole new world where guitars wail, hair flips dominate, and leather does a body good in this exciting (1 hour / 1.5 hour) workshop! The Belles will take you on a rock and roll burlesque adventure that will include sensual body warm-ups, sassy across the floor combos, and our signature rock and roll flair! The workshop will climax with hard hitting choreography that will unveil your true rock-n-roll sex kitten. 60 min

3:45-4:45 pm – Instructor Hells Belles
Beginner Burlesque Chair
:
Unleash your inner rock n’ roll showgirl! Every burlesque dancer knows that chair dance is a staple of the trade, but let Hells Belles show you how to take this classic art form to a whole new level! In this workshop, you will learn how to take our sexy staple moves and rocker girl flair to the chair. We will learn to integrate basic burlesque body movement with the burlesque chair to create a sexy dance combo sure to leave you feeling confident, inspired, and ready to rock!

5-6:30 – Instructor Mr Snapper
Find Your Inner McGuyver: Prop Building With Mr. Snapper.
Only YOU can prevent prop disasters from happening, and Mr. Snapper will show you how! Learn how to avoid common prop-building pitfalls and instead create beautiful works of art that will complement your performance, not detract from it. Mr. Snapper will cover: how to design a prop, basic construction techniques, and finishing touches that will make your prop pop and sizzle on stage. And you’ll get a hand-out. People love hand-outs. 90 min.

Sunday, December 8th:

9:30-11am – Instructor – Jewel of Denial
Belly for Burly: Enhance your Burlesque Dance!
Expand your burlesque repertoire with this exciting bellydance burlesque fusion class. Learn ways to mix fluid with percussive movements to create contrast & build tension in your performance. This is a mixed-level class coupling classic signature Fishnet Follies burlesque movement with belly dance basics. No experience necessary! 90 min

11:15am-12:45pm – Instructor Tiffany Carter
Come Learn with a legend, Tiffany Carter

From her experience as burlesque performer to teaching at some of the top festivals, Tiffany has the knowledge and experience to teach the classic style of the art of the striptease.
Topics that will be taught:
* Panels and negligees’, how to wrap them, how to sew them, how to spin with delight and look as elegant as a butterfly.
* Onstage Strut, working to the beat of your music with a boa, scarf, or panels.
* Time permitting, we will have some classic chair work.
Please bring comfy clothes as this class is a workout, stockings high heels gloves, panels or a negligee if you have one, if not bring a scarf, or anything that will flow with ease, also bring a boa if you have one. 90 min

12:45-1:45pm LUNCH BREAK

1:45-3:15pm – Instructor Sheila Starr Siani
Strip Like a Stripper

Lecture/round table, warm ups, stretches, movement exercises, short choreography.
Exotic dancers in the strip clubs embody raw sexuality. Usually working on smaller, intimate stages, or even in private rooms, they tend to draw the audience into them, enticing them with a glimpse of their personal sensuality. Blending these techniques with the theatrical, outbound energy of burlesque can add a super seductive dimension to your performance.
We will learn:
** Strip clubs then and now
** survey and practice strip club-style dance moves
** talk about what makes us feel sexy.
** Movement directed inward versus outward and what the intention are and when to use each
** Undulations, floor work, body pops
** facial expressions and eye contact
**suggestive poses and movement for stage
90 min

3:30- 5pm – Instructor Ms Red Snapper
Off the Rack to Off the Hook – Learn how to turn ready-made clothing into a costume.
Tricks for
closures and embellishment. Bring any costume piece that needs
embellishment. 90 min

5:15-6:15pm – The burlesque Silhouette: Costume design and camouflage. Get up close and personal with the costumes of award-winning costume designer Penny Starr, Jr. Review the varied burlesque silhouette, contrasting color theory, the art of camouflage (without looking like you are hiding something), the “Three Layer Theory” of striptease, a review of clasps and various options of embellishment that won’t break the bank. 60 min

More information about the instructors can be found at our website:
http://www.hollywoodburlesquefestival.com/schedule/shows-workshops-films
Classes are brought to you in part by Lili’s School For Wayward Girls.

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Oct 3rd

INTERVIEW WITH BURLESQUE STAR RUBY CHAMPAGNE

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Ruby Champagne

Ruby Champagne

Ruby Champagne began her Burlesque craft in New York City by attending The New York School of Burlesque and debuted in Dec. ’06 . As a Petite Pinup, she’s been featured in publications such as Bachelor Pad Magazine, Retro Lovely, Milk Cow, ALT, Ol’ Skool Rodz, Car Kulture Deluxe, as well as modeled for specialty clothing designers. Ruby is also featured on Sort This Out Olde Tyme Soda Works’ Cola bottle and Cover Model for Bachelor Pad Magazine’s Nightcap Edition #2!

In 2010, Ruby successfully earned her the title, “Miss Viva Las Vegas 2010” in the Viva Las Vegas Burlesque Competition. In 2012, she won “Best Soloist” in the ABurlyQ Burlesque & Sideshow Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has performed in New York Burlesque Festival, TeaseORama, ABurlyQ! Showcase, St. Louis Burlesque Festival, Southwest Burlesque Showcase, Colorado Burlesque Festival, and will be a headliner at the Hollywood Burlesque Festival!

Yadi Hurtado: How did you get started in burlesque?

Ruby Champagne: I started in New York at the New York School of Burlesque and accepted any opportunity for stage time in Burlesque shows, which included being a back-up dancer for Jo Boobs in the Cheese Festival at Coney Island and being in a BurlyQ Fashion Show at The Slipper Room. Fun times!

Yadi: How would you describe your burlesque style?

Ruby: My Burlesque style is known to be representative of Classic Burlesque, and I am so grateful that I’m known for that! I also love to incorporate Latin moves whenever I can.

Yadi: What made you get into burlesque?

Ruby: It felt like a great way to be able to be artistic and express my passion of beauty, glamour, dance, and sparkles!

Yadi: When did you first come to the LA/Hollywood area to perform?

Ruby: After my NYC debut in 2006, I moved back to CA. Thanks to Myspace, I found Bobbie Burlesque. In February 2007, Bobbie gave me the opportunity to debut in LA at the Whiskey A Go-Go.

Yadi: What are some of your favorite places to perform in the LA/Hollywood area?

Ruby: I love to perform anywhere that will have me! But some of my favorite venues include Three Clubs, El Cid, and House of Blues.

Yadi: Who are some of your favorite performers of all time and why?

Ruby: Tempest Storm is one fierce lady I highly admire. Satans Angel is a great inspiration I love dearly. One of the first NYC performers I loved and admired and loved to learn from is Dirty Martini. I could watch these ladies perform forever.

Yadi: Who are some of your favorite LA based performers?

Ruby: That’s a tough question because I love them all for their own specialty they bring. But to narrow down to a couple favorites, I’d include Charlotte La Belle Araignee, Lulu Lunaris, and Violet Valentine.

Yadi: You have traveled all over the country for shows. What do you think makes Hollywood a special place to perform in?

Ruby: Hollywood is where stars are born, que no? haha! But really, there is a certain vibe and energy in this crazy city that certainly makes it a special place to perform.

Yadi: Where are some places you love to visit when you are in Hollywood?

Ruby: There are a couple shops along Hollywood Blvd. that have vintage clothing. After some window shopping, a cocktail at The Frolic Room or Boardners is quite nice.

Yadi: What is your greatest burlesque moment and why?

Ruby: A recent great Burlesque moment was in Sept. 2013, performing my Mexicana act in the San Antonio Burlesque Festival. Being Mexican-American and having family from Texas, it was a joyous opportunity for me to represent my heritage and love of my Culture with that audience. It was fantastic! And of course, when I won the title, “Miss Viva Las Vegas” in 2010 at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender, that was one of the greatest, happiest, exciting and rewarding moments ever! I’ll never forget people telling me they lost their voice as result of cheering so loud for me. I’m forever and ever grateful to them!

Yadi: What is your favorite thing about Burlesque?

Ruby: Today, Burlesque is interpreted in many different ways from classic to Neo, and I think that’s a great platform for Performers to be able to express their art. It can be beautiful to see what other Performers do to express what’s going on in their creative brain. I love classic glamour and Latin music ie. Mambo, Afro-Cuban, Disco, etc. Burlesque allows me to show my love of these things.

Yadi: What advice do you have for performers applying to festivals?

Ruby: Provide clear information as requested. Make it as easy as possible for the people reviewing your application to be able to know who you are and what type of performer you are.

Yadi: What is the ONE thing everyone must do when coming to the
Hollywood Burlesque Festival?

Ruby: Let’s show the world how spectacular we are and dress to the nines and then some! Then have cocktails 🙂
Oh! And eat a street hot dog! Yum!

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Aug 29th

Photo Tips for the Burlesque Performer

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Gypsy Rose Lee, pictured here in a press photo by Fred Palumbo, knew how to market herself and her brand. She was famous for a striptease act accompanied her witty wordplay.

Gypsy Rose Lee, pictured here in a press photo by Fred Palumbo, knew how to market herself and her brand. She was famous for a striptease act accompanied her witty wordplay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
For the newcomer and seasoned veteran alike, the prospect of assembling a portfolio of photos for use in promoting yourself to audiences and producers can seem a little daunting. What type of photos do you need? How should you prepare for a photoshoot? How the heck do you find a photographer?

Two of L.A.’s best burlesque professional photographers are on hand to help you out.

Sam Hernandez has shot everything from the Emmys and pro sports to corporate events, commercial catalogs and the Burlesque Hall of Fame. He’s currently getting back to his roots, documenting MacArthur Park on 35mm film.

Brian C. Janes is a new media producer and published photographer. His hardcover coffee table book, It’s All That Glitters: Portraits of Burlesque Performers in Their Homes was published by Schiffer Books in April 2012 and is available through major retail outlets.

We talked to Brian and Sam about what the burlesque performer needs to know about photography. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Artistic Photos vs. Marketing Your Brand

Some pretty pictures may not be the best way to sell yourself. “Artistic photos are more about the lighting and the photographer’s art than about the performance and performer,” said Sam.

Posing nude, draped over a gargoyle in deep shadows may make for an incredible piece of art, but it doesn’t sell you to a burlesque producer or an audience. “The performer is the brand,” said Brian. “You want people to come to see you. Not a lot of dancers think this way, and it’s sometimes reflected in the poor quality photos people use to promote themselves.”

Press Photos

The point here is promotion. Press photos are used by a producer to promote their show or festival. There are two types of photos you need in your arsenal: a headshot and a body shot. A headshot will show your shoulders and head, and a body shot will show you from your head to your feet. These are usually more “posed” than live photos, but shouldn’t be so posed you look like a Varga girl.

These are photos that sell YOU; your personality and your look. But they should be neutral enough to work for a variety of shows. Neutral but not generic.

In fact, Brian advises that performers strive to capture their “gimmick” in these types of photos: “Are you known for your balloon dancing? Your fan dancing? Your hula? Your press photos are your opportunity to sell yourself on first impression. Everyone has a feather boa, but how does your picture with your feather boa set you apart from the next performer with that same boa?”

“I tend to go more with a classic look,” said Sam. “I try to recreate the old Hollywood glamour look with the images. It’s a bit of a challenge to replicate the lighting they had. Once you get it, it’s really rewarding. The images look great. I’m a bit of a lighting geek, so I take pride in my lighting.”

“The Len Rothe books are a great reference for that classic burlesque glamour,” said Brian. The books are The Queens of Burlesque and The Bare Truth: Stars of Burlesque from the ‘40s and ‘50s. Another great resource we’ve found is the photo blog Vintage Burlesque Photos.

Submission Photos

When applying to a festival (such as the Hollywood Burlesque Festival!) or submitting yourself to a producer, you need a photo that captures the essence of the act you are submitting. Try for a live shot that captures your energy onstage.

“Anything from a full body shot to a mid-range shot,” said Sam. “You really have to go through the live photos you have. Some of the shots will reveal more of the act than others. You need to make sure you’re well lit, and well represented,” adds Sam.

“When possible, submission photos should include both studio shots as well as stage shots.” adds Brian. “But I think it’s really important to know not to use live photos for press photos. In all cases, make sure you have the photographer’s permission to submit their photos of you. Just because you are in the photo does not give you the right to use the photo.”

How to Find a Photographer

There is no shortage of photographers in the burlesque scene, and they range in skill from the greenest of amateurs to professional photographers who have seen print in large publications or have their work hanging in art galleries. Finding the right photographer for you may seem a daunting task. Thankfully, you don’t have to break new ground.

The best thing to do is ask for a referral from a dancer who already has great photos. Not only can you narrow in on a photographer who does good work, you can get the inside skinny on what its like to work with that photographer.

Brian and Sam both take a dim view towards finding a photographer online. Said Brian, “Be cautious with any ‘modeling’ sites online. They are full of shady characters who are just looking to get a naked girl in front of their camera.”

Sam agrees, saying, “The burlesque crowd is mostly word-of-mouth. And if you can’t find a referral, track down whoever takes live photos at the shows.”

“It comes down to doing your research,” said Brian. “And remember, free is too good to be true. Cheap is often too good to be true.”

Finally, and most importantly, make sure you are comfortable working with the photographer you find. A photographer who puts you at ease, who creates a safe, welcoming environment for you is worth something.

Sam told us, “It’s really important that you trust the photographer and have a good working relationship, because the photos will show it.”

It’s just business. If you don’t know if you can afford to work with a certain photographer, ask!

“I’ve had a number of people approach me and say ‘I’d love to shoot with you, but I can’t afford you.’” relates Brian. “First, when have you ever asked me how much I charge and second, when have you ever come up to me and said, ‘Here’s my budget, can you work with me?’ It can be a negotiation.”

Sam concurs. “When I’m working with people for the first time, especially people I don’t know, I always quote the rate for the shots and let them know what I‘m providing: a cd of the photos, retouch or no retouch, how many photos, etc.”

The Photo Shoot

“You should definitely meet with the photographer once or twice to go over wardrobe or ideas,” said Sam. “Or maybe email back and forth and meet face to face at least once beforehand, especially if you haven’t worked with them before.”

Take the time to really prepare for a photo shoot. If you can book a professional make-up and hair person to work with you, do it. You’ll be much happier with the outcome. At the very least, schedule yourself enough time to get your face on.

If you have bruises, touch them up. “Touching up bruises and blemishes will save Photoshopping time on the photographer’s end,” said Sam. “You may not fully cover it up, but it will make it easier to touch up. A few seconds can save five to ten minutes later.”

“Don’t have a BDSM session the night or even a week before a shoot,” Brian agrees. “And shave, shave, shave!”

Make sure your costume pieces are wrinkle-free and in good repair. Check the individual pieces over well in advance of the photo shoot for any loose threads, missing rhinestones, broken beads, etc.

If you are stripping down to the skimpiest of garments, you may consider wearing loose undergarments or going “commando” that day, so as to avoid the marks and creases underwear and bra elastic can leave. Sam has another approach to this problem: “We often work in reverse. Starting with pasties and high heels. The final shot will be you in your full costume. That way you won’t have lines across your stomach or chest.”

Make sure you look your best! Get a good night’s rest, and be sure to stay hydrated. Says Brian, “Don’t stay up late the night before and don’t go out drinking with your friends!”

FINAL THOUGHTS

When you get the proofs back from the photographer, get another person’s opinion on them. “Pass the proofs around to some friends and say, ‘What do you think of these, yay or nay?’” Brian says. “And hopefully they’ll be honest, not just pat you and the back and say, “These look great!’”

Always credit the photographer. Many professionals will watermark their photos, making this much easier for you, but it is your responsibility to make sure that watermark doesn’t get removed or obscured.

Make sure you understand exactly how you may use the photos. If you don’t know, ask the photographer. Brian has advice for the performer who wants carte blanche to use photos of herself. “If you the performer want to be able to use the photos to your heart’s content without having an angry photographer tell you to pull them down, be prepared to compensate the photographer. You must come to a business agreement, and a business agreement usually include some kind of cash transaction.”

You want your promotional photos to look as good as possible, representing you at 110% on your best day. A good promotional photo can help you get bookings, and can win over audiences before they even see you perform. Take your time and prepare. Keep in mind that you are freezing a moment in time. Make it a moment to remember.

About The Author:
Mr. Snapper is a Los Angeles-based bro-lesque performer and one half of the comedy variety duo Mr. Snapper & Mr. Buddy. You may read his thoughts on live entertainment in general at Mad Theatrics, where he blogs under his given name.

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Aug 8th

Los Angeles Burlesque Theatres – The Follies

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Los Angeles had two important burlesque theatres: the Follies Theatre, located at 337 S. Main Street in the downtown area, and the Burbank Theatre, located two blocks south at 548 S. Main St.

The Follies

Built in 1904 as the Belasco Theatre, by Frederick Belasco, brother of the renowned theatrical producer David Belasco, it housed a repertory theatre company, the Belasco Stock Company.  When the theatre district moved farther downtown, the theatre began its long reign as burlesque house  In 1915 it was listed as the Republic Theatre and by 1919 it had been renamed the Follies.

thefollies

An early view of the Follies Theatre, Los Angeles.
Photo source: http://1947project.com/tags/burlesque#.UgJ216zKfdw

The “Hot Mamma” Case

On October 27, 1927, a pair of radio evangelists – Dr. Gustav Briegleb and the Rev. Robert P. “Fighting Bob” Shuler – took in the show at the Follies, and called in the police to shut it down the following night.

On month later, the two men were called to testify as to the show’s indecency.  Rev. Shuler read from his copious notes, which recounted a lewd performance between two girls playing the parts of deserted wives looking for their husbands in the barroom of a ship.

And Shuler’s dead-on imitation of a “licentious smile” which he asserted to be part of the dancers’ repertoire brought an outburst from the crowd of spectators (and the Hot Mamma girls) that the bailiff threatened to clear the courtroom.

The all-male jury, set the Hot Mammas free, although four male defendants—Tom B. Dalton, Robert Whalen, Harry Graves and Charles B. Dameron—who were found guilty based on their admitted connection with the management of the show and their writing of the dialogue.  These Hot Papas were sentenced by Municipal Judge Frederickson to serve 150 days in the City and pay fines of $500 each.

The Follies continued to serve the burlesque afficianados.  It was remodeled in the 1930s by S. Charles Lee, and thereafter saw many decades of strip-tease by all the leading strippers of the era, including Lili St. Cyr, Ann Corio, Betty “Ball of Fire” Rowland, and Evelyn West.  Dixie Evans reported that her first strip-tease performance was at the Follies.

In 1942, the Follies was ordered closed by city officials, but it was back in business two years later.  The Follies was raided, closed and then reopened half a dozen times.

follies-ad folliesad2 folliesad3

Three ads for the Follies Theatre from (left to right) 1939, 1942 and 1966
Photo source: https://sites.google.com/site/downtownlosangelestheatres/follies

The 1937 film, Every Day’s A Holiday, starring Mae West, was filmed at the Follies Theatre, as was the 1952 burlesque feature, B-Girl Rhapsody.

maewest-follies

The photo is a promotional still for the 1937 film “Every Day’s a Holiday” starring Mae West.  Courtesy of the L.A. Conservancy. Photo source: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150130969756684&set=pu.53273011683&theater

chorusline-follies

An undated view of a chorus line at the Follies Theatre.  From the Wesselmann Collection / Williams Partnership. Photo source: https://sites.google.com/site/downtownlosangelestheatres/follies

follies-front1 follies-front2

Two views of the exterior of the Follies Theatre in the 1940s, uncovered by Ken McIntyre.  Photo Source: https://sites.google.com/site/downtownlosangelestheatres/follies

Eventually the Follies turned to film becoming a skin-flick house.   In 1968 Eleanor Chambers, executive assistant to Mayor Yorty, led the fight to have the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board add the Follies to its list of culturally significant buildings.  The board vetoed that idea as beneath them.  The Follies was eventually razed in 1974.

folliesclip-teardown

Photo source: http://1947project.com/tags/burlesque#.UgJ216zKfdw

About the Author:

Andy Davis is one half of the burlesque comedy team of Doc and Stumpy, which performs regularly at the Monday Night Tease and other venues.  He comes by his nickname “Doc” legitimately, for he has an actual Ph.D. in Performance Studies from NYU, where he specialized in the history of American popular entertainments, and wrote his dissertation on burlesque comedy.  The dissertation has since been published by Palgrave-Macmillan as Baggy Pants Comedy: Burlesque and the Oral Tradition, and won the prestigious CHOICE Award from the American Library Association as one of the outstanding academic titles of 2012.  His work builds on over thirty years experience in comedy and improvisation, doing meet-and-greet entertainment at the Renaissance Faire and various corporate events, and working with a number of comedy troupes.  He earns his bread and butter by teaching in the Interdisciplinary General Education Department at Cal Poly Pomona.

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