Saturday, 5 July sees the Kosmic Kitty’s Blackpool Burlesque gracing the stage of the club above West Coast Rock Cafe. These popular nights of erotic entertainment feature burlesque and boylesque performers from across the UK. Altblackpool spoke to boylesque performer, the mysterious Ian Kognito, about the the art form and what we can expect on the night:
What is burlesque?
Burlesque is a form of variety show which originated in the late 1800s. In the past it was characterised by bawdy comedians and female strip tease artists. More recently there has been a revival, sometimes called Neo-burlesque and stars such as Dita von Teese have become household names. Neo-burlesque acts can be anything from classic striptease to modern dance to theatrical mini-dramas to comedic mayhem. As with the earlier burlesque, neo-burlesque is more focused on the ‘tease’ rather than the ‘strip’ in striptease. The new form has also added boylesque to the mix – male performers! A burlesque show is about having a good time and saucy fun. It’s sexy but not sexual and often the audience is composed more of women than men.
What does your evening entail?
An evening at Blackpool Burlesque is a lot of fun! The show has three sections with around six performers in each section. The evening usually includes a singer and some cabaret entertainment such as a magician or freak show performer along with the usual variety of burlesque performances. The audience is encouraged to cheer and clap throughout the show to encourage performers and build up the atmosphere. It is great stress release after a hard week at work! The MC keeps the show running smoothly and there are maids and a butler to set up props and pick up discarded clothes etc. afterwards. The audience sit at tables with candles and tablecloths and the atmosphere is very Moulin Rouge. There are always more women than men in the audience because it is such a glamorous occasion. The audience is encouraged to dress to impress so a prize given to the best dressed audience member.
What’s the history of your burlesque evenings?
Blackpool Burlesque (BB) was created by Blackpool’s own burlesque beauty Kosmic Kitty in 2010. Blackpool is a town with a history of Vaudeville, glitter and fun so Kitty felt sure that it would open its arms to an evening of old fashioned glamour and tease. The first show was held at the Beat nightclub, above the Rose and Crown on Corporation Street in the town centre. The show was an instant success and burlesque in Blackpool has blossomed and grown ever since! BB got bigger and better when it moved to the club above the West Coast Rock Cafe in 2011 and is now in its fourth year and many national and international performers have twirled their tassles for a captivated audience over the years! BB has established a loyal following amongst locals and is a popular choice for hen parties and visitors to Blackpool. It is proud to boast burlesque’s only female DJ, the first ever burlesque butler (to help the maids collect discarded clothes from the stage) and its own resident boylesque perfomer. I am the masked man of mystery, Ian Kognito!
If you could perform alongside any dancer, who would that be and why?
I personally wouldn’t! I prefer to work on my own!
How do you prepare for a show?
On the day I pack my suitcase with costumes and any props and often unpack and repack it just to be sure I haven’t forgotten anything! Nerves are a bit of a problem and I don’t usually feel like eating much on a show day. I like to get to the venue as early as possible and get ready taping up pasties (nipple covers, sometimes tasselled, worn by both male and female burlesque performers) with double sided tape, getting costumes in order and getting changed. Socialising with the other performers while doing this is one of the great pleasures of being a burlesque performer, and I’ve met many lovely people since I started two years ago. Then it’s the worst part…the waiting! After what feels like an age my name is finally announced by the MC, the music starts and it’s showtime! The nerves are all forgotten and I’m out there doing it! The noise, the cheers and whoops of the audience and the applause at the end! Coming up with the acts can be a difficult business but those few minutes on stage make it all worthwhile!
Guest performers confirmed for Saturday 5 July are Starla Slinksville, Rusty Von Chrome, Tobi James, Kosmic Kitty, Teasa Lott, Lexi Cola, Leon Noir, Tooshie La Ta Ta and Lola Lashes. These events are always very popular so you are advised to get your tickets soon to avoid disappointment. Advance tickets for 5 July are £6 and can be obtained from West Coast, The Rose and Crown or by contacting the team via Facebook.
Featured image shows Kosmic Kitty and is courtesy of Jay Clapp Photography.
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