Before last Thursday I knew burlesque only by definition and whatever generic archetypes had been created in popular culture. That evening, however, and over the next four evenings, I immersed myself in the world, jumping head first in the Toronto Burlesque Festival, which if you’ve never experienced the culture, is as one man put it: ‘like losing your virginity at an orgy.’
I can’t speak to that exactly, but it sure was fascinating. It is a tight-knit yet welcoming subculture, full of expression in many forms and yes, a lot of scantily clad people. The weekend was funny and strange, beautiful and disturbing, but absolutely never dull. Perhaps my instant engagement with the burlesque world had to do with it being so new to me, or perhaps it was having so much opportunity to learn, especially from some of the biggest and most talented names in the industry. And it surely had to do with, once again, the scantily clad people.
Still, everyone had a story, everyone had an idea, and everyone was full of interesting stories. There is much to be said about the world of burlesque and I know that for sure. I wrote quite a bit, but I think I barely scratched the surface here.
Check out my coverage at Lithium Magazine, with articles here, here, and here, with details on a variety of acts, some very colourful people, one super campy movie, and one very interesting performer named Victoria Romanova.