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My First Time: Soleil

She’s got game! Introducing Soleil!

We are excited to introduce the newest member of LFF: Soleil! Soleil has been a friend and supporter since we launched in 2015, and we decided it was finally time to make our relationship official. So look for her smiling face at all of our upcoming events.

For fun, we thought we would haze her a little and ask about her first time performing burlesque.

LFF: Tells us about your first time performing burlesque on stage. What led you to that point? Were you nervous? How did you feel after? Do you have advice for anyone just starting out?

Soleil: It was November 2, 2013 and at the time I was doing mostly belly dance classes. On a whim I took a Burlesque Bikini workout class. I never thought in a million years I could do this. I was already in my 40s and a mostly conservative and modest woman – I thought only young beautiful women would do this – not a 40+ with two children.

On stage that night, I transformed from an insecure woman who doubted her own abilities and attractiveness to an empowered woman who now embraces her inner goddess and loves herself and all her physical “imperfections” and continually strives to help other women to see their own beauty – with or without pasties. 

LFF: That is so awesome! Any advice for newbies?

Soleil: You are gifting your unique talent and beauty to the audience – always love your audience and they’ll love you back! And always have emergency wardrobe fixes on hand! 

LFF: Lol, we can attest to that!

You can see Soleil bopping around backstage with us for Summerween: Tales From the Stripped at Parkside on July 12, and she’ll also be on hand to perform in Dirty Dancing at the Triad on October 5, so save the date!

Did you miss a My First Time post? Read them all here. And be sure to come back next week for another edition! xoxo

My First Time: Jackie Nova

Hello and happy Wednesday! This week’s first-timer is none other than The Clown of the Cosmos, Jackie Nova!

Jackie Nova, Balloon Act, Bananas vs. Cherries
Jackie Nova competes for the BEST BLOW JOB award at Drom NYC on Saturday, March 10, 2018.

LFF: Tells us about your first time performing burlesque on stage. What led you to that point? Were you nervous? How did you feel after? Do you have advice for anyone just starting out?

Jackie Nova: It was back in 2014 that I first started daydreaming a lot about burlesque. While traveling on the train to and from my day job, my mind would wander while I listened to music, and the images were always of me doing some kind of fabulous dance in a spotlight, sexy and funny and full of energy. It was a time when I wasn’t performing as much as I wanted to be, and I was also going through a breakup. I did a little research, saw a listing for an Intro to BQ class at the New York School of Burlesque, and enrolled.

After that class, I put together my first true ‘act’ and tried it at a friend’s open-mic night. I recorded it, showed it to a few friends, and a few weeks later one of those friends contacted me with info he’d seen about a new all-male boylesque troupe that was forming. I tried out for Bad Apple Boylesque and became one of their inaugural members, and what followed was a year of lighting creative fires under my own ass, with great feedback and joy and artistic community-building as fruits of the labor and love.

Those first times performing– in the Intro to BQ class, at my friend’s open mic, and then at the Stonewall Inn at Bad Apple’s first show– were magical, because they were the seeds of something new. At Stonewall in particular, it was like something in me was slowly and boldly opening, and I was tapping into everything that I new to bring this “sexual comedy” to the stage.

I was nervous because I wanted it all to go perfectly, and the great thing about doing burlesque is that (for me at least) it has NEVER gone perfectly, and I have to be at peace with that, grateful for whatever is happening, excelling, or getting comically screwed up in the live performance. It may sound cliche, but it is true that after stripping down in front of people, I did feel like I could do almost anything else in front of an audience thereafter. I’m less apologetic about my body, and public nudity feels strangely comforting.

My advice to anyone starting out is to daydream a bit to music that you love, and ideas for numbers may start to evolve. Also, having a team of people who love and support you are unbeatable tools to making it all happen (I’d be nothing without my exceptional costume designer, a skill I myself neither have nor have any desire to master, lol).

And maybe also I’d say to try and put into words WHY you want to do burlesque. It can be super selfish (I think that’s a thing we all should be from time to time) and about feeling every inch of your own skin; it can be an act of communal love and worship akin to church; it can be revolutionary and flipping the bird to the puritanical roots of our societal norms; it can be just to make people laugh; it can be all of those things in a single act. Whatever it is, if you’re honest about it, it’s gonna be a frickin’ great show.

LFF: Wow, that’s great! Thank you so much. And do you have any upcoming gigs?

Jackie: June 14 at the Laurie Beechman Theater, for Members Only Boylesque.

That’s THIS FRIDAY peeps! Go see him! Buy Tickets.

And be sure to come back next week when we talk to the newest member of OUR team: Soleil!

Did you miss a post? Look below!

Angelica Lavalier

Jason Waterfalls

GoGo Gadget

My First Time: Angelica Lavalier

Angelica Lavalier sparkles in amethyst

Hello! It’s Wednesday, and that means it’s time to ask another fabulous burlesque performer about their first time doing burlesque. This week, we are chatting with the Sparkling Jewel of Burlesque: Angelica Lavalier.

LFF: Tells us about your first time performing burlesque on stage. What led you to that point? Were you nervous? How did you feel after? Do you have advice for anyone just starting out? 

Angelica Lavalier: My son was 2 1/2 when I started taking classes at New York School of Burlesque. I wanted to do something fun and missed doing things for myself. I had always had a love and appreciation for burlesque, but never thought it was something I could actually do, since I wasn’t a dancer. I did my first student showcase two months later.

In a former life I had been a stripper, so I wasn’t nervous about being on stage or taking off my clothes, but rather remembering my choreography and executing it properly! Immediately after performing I was hooked and just wanted to figure out how to get on stage again! I had no idea how I would get into another show, and was almost sure I never would. Luckily things worked out differently!

For people starting out, I would say stay positive, don’t compare yourself to anyone else and enjoy every second on stage because it goes so fast!

LFF: Awesome, thank you so much! And where can we see you next?

Angelica: I will be at Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival in Asbury Park, NJ on 7/26 and 7/27.

You can also see Angelica at our Halloween-themed burlesque show at Parkside Lounge on July 12! Stay tuned for ticket info.

And be sure to come back next week for our chat with Jackie Nova.

Did you miss a post? Find them here:

Jason Waterfalls

GoGo Gadget

My First Time: Jason Waterfalls

Don’t go Jason Waterfalls… wait – what?!

Welcome back to My First Time, wherein we harass people into telling us their darkest secrets. Well, at least insofar as it relates to their first time performing burlesque. This week, we sat down (so to speak) with Members Only Boylesque’s Jason Waterfalls.

LFF: Tells us about your first time performing boylesque on stage. What led you to that point? Were you nervous? How did you feel after? Do you have advice for anyone just starting out?

Jason Waterfalls: I had just graduated with a BFA in Musical Theater and I wanted to find creative outlets to focus my energies on before I moved to NYC. I was living in Fargo, ND and a friend had taken me to a local burlesque troupe’s show.

I was so full of false modesty at the time that I blushed so hard just being at that show, but I loved the autonomy each performer had over every aspect of the creative process.

I reached out to the group, Bad Weather Burlesque, and resolved to perform in their Naughty Novices night. I put together more of a dance routine and sewed my own costume and my entire family came out to support me. It meant so much to me to have them in my corner. When I started my own show here in the city they even surprised me by flying out for our one year anniversary show.

LFF: That’s amazing! Where can we see you next?

Jason: Members Only Boylesque on May 31 at the Laurie Beechman Theater.

Great! Thanks! And folks, you heard the man, go see him on Friday at the Laurie Beechman!

And be sure to come back next Wednesday, when we talk to “The Sparkling Jewel of Burlesque,” Angelica Lavalier!

Did you miss a post? You can read about GoGo Gadget’s first time here.

My First Time: GoGo Gadget

GoGo Gadget Beach Ball
GoGo Gadget shows us one of his balls.

Hi Friends! Welcome to the inaugural edition of My First Time. In this new feature, we ask some of our favorite performers to dish the deets on the first time they performed burlesque. Today, we chat up the self-described Bouncing Bubble Butt of Boylesk (and 2018 Silver Tusk Winner for Boogie Feet), Mr. GoGo Gadget!

LFF: Tells us about your first time performing burlesque on stage. What led you to that point? Were you nervous? How did you feel after? Do you have advice for anyone just starting out?

GoGo Gadget: My first time performing burlesque on stage was at drag queen Misty Meaner’s birthday celebration about 7 or 8 years ago at the now-defunct Vlada Lounge in Hell’s Kitchen.

It was the proto-version of what would be come my Butt-Mitzvah Clown routine. Since I’m accustomed to performing in my regular gig with Third Rail Projects, I wasn’t nervous to perform so much as I was to get everything “right”.

I felt terrible after, because many of my planned reveals failed and overall I just felt like it didn’t go as planned. What I did know immediately though, is that after that initial feeling of disappointment, I was determined to get back on the horse as soon as possible. I started right away to hatch a plan to get back into rehearsals and make what I’d envisioned truly possible.

Fortunately, I was on Chris (then Go-Go) Harder’s email list and he’d just announced his very first Boylesk 101 series of classes at House of Yes. I realized it was an opportunity to get my act polished and to learn from others instead of working in a vacuum. Best decision of my burly career.

Best advice I can give is, don’t work in a vacuum or silo. Make sure to process with others and to rehearse eventually with others in the room. (But only if that’s truly how best you work. I believe it’s possible that some artists are meant to work alone. I’m just definitely not one of them, and experience has taught me that those types are rare gems.)

LFF: Thanks for sharing with us! What’s next on the horizon?

GoGo Gadget: I’m an International Headliner at the London Burlesque Festival on May 24th and 25th! I’m also regularly performing in Third Rail Projects‘ ongoing sold out immersive theater sensation Then She Fell through October.

You can also catch Gadget in LFF’s production of Out of the Corner: Baby’s Revenge – it’sDirty Dancing like you’ve never seen it before! Mark your calendars for October 5 and stay tuned for more info!

Dueling Dysney Act Two Photos!

As promised, second act photos from Dueling Dysney! Enjoy! (And if you like this, feel free to share with your closest friends and family, coworkers, Seamless delivery person, etc. 🙂 )

Featuring Silky Bliss as the Evil Queen (Snow White) vs. Spicy L’amour as Mulan (Mulan) and acrobatic ace Spookey as the Mad Hatter against Queen of Hearts Jason Waterfalls (Alice in Wonderland).

Looking for Act One pics? Click here.

Photos: Veronica Toone

Dueling Dysney Act One Photos!

Hi friends! It’s been a while, but we’re BACK and better than ever! On Saturday, March 9, we had our first show of 2019 at Drom. Dueling Dysney was an interactive show a la Bananas vs. Cherries that pitted GOOD Disney characters against EVIL ones, and it was a blast!

Below are some snaps from Act One, which featured Luscious Lane as Tick Tock Crocodile vs. Twinky Boots as Twinker Bell (Peter Pan); Fifi Dubois as Ariel against Bombshell Betsy’s Ursula (Little Mermaid); and Hellz Kitten’s Dalmation vs. Munroe Lilly’s Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians).

Enjoy! (And click here for Act Two pics.)

Photos: Veronica Toone

Bananas vs. Cherries Act Two PHOTOS!

Welcome back from intermission. Here are some snaps from Act Two of Bananas vs. Cherries! Thanks again to EVERYONE who came out and voted and thanks to all the performers who made this one of our best shows evah! Oh yeah, and we raised $200 for The Center, thanks to all you generous raffle ticket-buyers! xoxo

Did you miss the Act One photos? Click here!

Photos: Veronica Toone

Bananas vs. Cherries Act One PHOTOS!

Thanks to everyone who came out to DROM on Saturday, March 10 for Bananas vs. Cherries. It was a super fun night and the underdog Cherries (ladies) brought home most of the trophies! (Yay, team #cherryontop!) Anyway, here are some pics from Act One. Ready for more? Click here.

Photos: Veronica Toone

Come out and support The Center

Friends! We are just days away from our inaugural 2018 show, Bananas vs. Cherries at Drom!

As you know, part of our mission is to raise money for charity and this show is no exception. We are excited to announce that all the proceeds from our intermission raffle on Saturday will go to The Center.

In their own words:

The Center has been a home and resource hub for the LGBTQ community, NYC residents and visitors since our founding in 1983. We provide a place to connect and engage, find camaraderie and support, and celebrate the vibrancy and growth of the LGBTQ community. Offering health and wellness programs; arts, entertainment and cultural events; recovery, parenthood and family support services, The Center strives to provide a welcoming environment where everyone is celebrated for who they are.

Visit The Center to find out more—we’re open 365 days a year!

So come out and join us, because not only will you see a great show, you will be supporting an important, LOCAL organization. #burlesqueforacause

See you at Drom!

xoxo,
LFF

 

Bananas vs. Cherries

Doors open at 7 PM, Show at 7:30.

Drom, 85 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009, 212-777-1157Tickets: Early Bird $15 (until 2/23); $20/advance; $25/door; $30 VIP. Closest subway is the F at 2nd AvenueDrom is also walkable from the 6 (Astor Place) and R, W (8th St – NYU).