Festivals are an important part of the burlesque scene. Held in venues all over the world, these events bring together local and guest performers, as well as teachers, vendors, and Legends (pioneering burlesque performers who paved the way for what we do today) for multiple days and nights of performance showcases, classes, networking opportunities, and socializing.
If you follow our Facebook page or attended our Return of the Stripping Dead show last month, you’ve heard that our very own Peter Morningwood will be the first Menagerie member to perform in a burlesque festival! Peter will be performing in the Itty Bitty Burlesque Festival, taking place in Quesnel, BC April 25-27. Since Peter is going where no Menagerie member has gone before, Lilith had a chat with Judy Lee, a friend of the company who has previously joined us as a guest performer, to ask about her festival experiences. Here’s what they discussed!
What burlesque festivals have you performed in?
I have performed at the Itty Bitty Burlesque Festival, The Kootanays Burlesque Festival, and Edmonton’s Burlesque Festival, all In 2018.
Specifically with regard to the Itty Bitty Burlesque Festival, what was it like to perform there? How did the crowd or energy or anything else differ from non-festival performances you’ve done?
Festivals always have a different energy from your standard local shows. You can feel the crowd’s excitement as they wait for all the new acts they are about to see. With regards to Itty Bitty It was my first Festival, and it was cool to see all their die-hard burlesque fans in the crowd. They had this one gentleman who made it his mission to go around and meet all the performers and get them to sign his programme. For me it was super special for an audience member to have such a love for the art and appreciation of the performers. When I hit the stage having the VIP tables right at the front of the stage where I could make eye contact with and connect with them was great. The local fans were just so excited and hungry that feeding off the energy was like no other.
Does Itty Bitty have “something for everyone” in the burlesque community? Whether that’s as an audience member, a performer, or a volunteer, do you feel that it would be a good experience for anyone who appreciates this art form?
I feel that Itty Bitty brings in a range of different performers and different acts that as an audience member you will for sure be entertained. As a performer the community welcomes you in with open loving arms and makes you feel like you have known them forever. They offer billeting to make it more affordable which is so nice. They also offer classes that anyone can take, from audience member, to performer, or volunteer. So it’s nice to be able to mix all the different worlds together.
Any final thoughts in terms of what Itty Bitty (or festivals in general) mean for the burlesque community, or what their specific value is?
Festivals are such amazing events where you get to meet new people from all over the world, make new friends, meet performers you look up to, and just be accepted for the glittery weirdo we all are. When you get so many Burlesque performers in one area the amount of love that emanates from it is unbelievable. If you ever travel to a different burlesque community, you will notice that each community has different styles. Whether its types of movement, costuming, props, genres, or even how they do production. So when you bring performers from all over you will see so many different things that will inspire you. I feel like it helps immensely with community growth and personal growth.
We really appreciate Judy taking the time to share her thoughts and experiences! And if you want to help Peter with the costs of attending the festival, like travel and food, there’s still time to contribute to his fundraiser.