Montreal Burlesque Festival

Posted on September 2nd, 2009 by .

I tend to view burlesque as a chance to see beautiful, half-naked women without getting in trouble with your girlfriend. But then again, I’m a bit of a philistine. But Montreal’s 1st annual Burlesque Festival, taking place from September 17th-20th, intends to showcase, for philistines and devotees alike, how much more goes into this unique art form…

According to the festival organizers, burlesque concerns itself more with the “tease” than the “strip”, more with the “sexy” than the “sexual”. A little history: burlesque was brought to North America from Britain (not my first guess) in the late 1860s and has since become an amalgam of vaudeville, minstrel shows, striptease, comedy and cabaret. Montreal, whose theatres, burlesque and jazz clubs were hopping in the 1920s, 30s and 40s (in no small part because of prohibition in the United States) became a hubba hubba hub: the legendary striptease artist Lili St. Cyr was known as the “most famous woman in Montreal” due to her racy, personality-filled performances. These days, Montrealers continue the tradition, with groups like Bluelight Burlesque and Team Burlesque regularly hosting variety nights.

During the 17th-20th, there are tons of performances from Montrealers, like Festival founder Scarlett James, Seska Lee, Miss Sugarpuss and burlesque star and pin-up girl, Lou Lou. There are also some of the biggest burlesque names in the world, like Las Vegas’ Kalani Kokonuts (“the reigning queen of burlesque”), Canadian star Roxi Dlite and oodles more beautiful girls with racy/silly names, as well as music and variety acts a-plenty.

Usually the convention is to wrap up a blog post with one big final sell. But honestly, I think sending you to check out the Montreal Burlesque Festival website should cover it…

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