Miss Burlesque Victoria 2019 Heated Highlights
Miss Burlesque Victoria 2019
by Velma Vouloir
Max Watts was packed to the rafters for Miss Burlesque Victoria 2019. With all eyes on the stage and all hands on deck, Miss Burlesque Victoria 2018, Velma Vouloir, put pen to paper – not only on the judges sheets on the night. Here’s her review of this year’s 2019 Victoria State Final.
The Miss Burlesque Australia State Finals are a night of nights within our tender burlesque community – a night to come together in our finest, to be entertained, to honour our craft and witness a showcase of diverse talent. Call me biased… but I can say with a very full heart that this year’s Miss Burlesque Victoria did not disappoint.
The pre-show crowd at Max Watts was buzzing with anticipation and excitement. Champagne was spilling out of the bar by the bottle with embraces, echoes of laughter and clinking glasses. I looked up at the Mezzanine from the judges table and thought of the contestants up there patiently waiting and wondered how they were all feeling. It was almost show time.
To open the events of the evening, we were graced with an Acknowledgement of Country from artist, writer and Wiradjuri person Indiah Money, followed by an exquisite vocal introduction by Mistress of Ceremonies Aurora Kurth. The whooping, hollering and tumultuous applause was almost deafening when Aurora announced that it was time to meet the contestants for The Red Carpet Parade, and with that we hit the ground running.
First, we were introduced to Iva Grande as she exploded onto the stage in a pink flamingo showgirl spectacle shrouded in crystals and feathers. Next, the enigmatic Boo Louise presented herself in true film noir glamour, mysterious and sensual in chiffon and fur. Lola La Roux served us Ziggy Stardust meets
KISS sex appeal in a black sparkling shoulder-padded-to-the-gods jumpsuit and made it known that she was here to SERVE. Ferri Maya was a pocket rocket of fierceness in her sparkling tiger print flared catsuit, snarling sensually, ready to eat us all alive. Ira Luxuria sauntered onto the stage in a gender bended Victorian inspired dress-suit that screamed in homage to Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allen Poe. Finally, Bettie Bombshell made us fall head over heels in a curve hugging leopard print gown before she revealed the dram of whisky sneakily concealed in her bra. I turned to fellow judges Ruby Slippers, Kitty Lane, Esther Rix and Indiah Money who were already furiously and excitedly filling out their score sheets. We were going to have our work cut out for us.
Still in awe of what I had just seen I hurriedly ran backstage in preparation for my handover act as the reigning Miss Burlesque Victoria. Dripping in pearls and purple chiffon on the stage I could feel the energy of the crowd, so full of love and I wanted to soak up every ounce of it. As I wrapped myself in my feather fans and as the lights went down, I knew it was a feeling I would never forget. One of pure joy, and one of immense gratitude. I left the stage thinking, ‘f*ck yes, this has been one hell of a ride.”
Next up, the Traditional category. Now, classic burlesque often gets a bad rap for being ‘same same’ or ‘boring’. Well, let me tell you folks, what these artists presented could not have been more magnificently varied. Iva Grande dripped in gold and blue velvet in an upbeat strut and strip. Boo Louise was an enigma in classic sparkling black with a vampy bump n’grind. Lola La Roux tore up the stage in a furious shimmy-shaking gogo number. Ferri Maya delivered and fierce and erotic classic blues piece. Ira Luxuria served chain wielding damsel done wrong in a saucy gown to garment performance and Bettie Bombshell took us back to the French quarter of New Orleans as a lady in red in her sensual, powerful striptease.
After a short intermission we were back and ready for the final category in the competition, the Unique category. There is always something so exciting about this section, as really, there
are no rules in regards to what you can or can’t do… This is where burlesque’s rich history in pantomime, performance art, strip clubs and theatrics come to a head and you never really know what’s about to be put before your eyes. Iva kicked off, the section in stark contrast to her stunning Traditional piece. She gave us a twisted, terrifying (and oddly arousing) gorelesque act.
Boo showcased her tap-dancing talents in a 1930’s inspired vaudevillian striptease. Lola took us forward in time to an 80’s aerobics orgy fantasy which I don’t think anyone will forget in a hurry – in the best possible way!) Ferri was every bit black widow femme fatale in her downright steamy and explicitly, erotic performance. Ira gave us a lesson in self-love in a powerful tribal-fusion Medusa inspired burlesque act. And Bettie delivered comedy gold in her whip wielding Kath and Kim meets Black Swan piece (yes, yes you did just read that correctly).
And then, the gut-wrecking realisation that it was done. The scoresheets would be collected and tallied. The audience waited eagerly on the announcement of our 2019 Miss Burlesque Victoria. But alas, not before we were treated to a SIZZLING guest performance from Mr Boylesque Australia 2015, Mr Egson Ham, who set the stage of fire in a deliciously campy striptease that left the crowd screaming for more, more, MMWOAR!
The contestants took to the stage together, hand in hand, for a final acknowledgement of their incredible efforts and performances that night. Miss Jane Doe, powerhouse, first lady of fierce and producer of Miss Burlesque Victoria took to the stage to give a special mention to a member of our burlesque community who constantly goes above and beyond to create, nurture and support each and every one of us, the one and only Frenchi Holiday! After a teary eyed Frenchi left the stage with her abundance of love notes and flowers, it was the moment we’d all been waiting for… Who would be our winner for 2019 ?
Jane held up the microphone.
“Our 1st runner up, the winner of Miss Burlesque Melbourne is… FERRI MAYA!”
The audience collectively let out an incredible roar of applause and cheering, Ferri jumped up on stage to collect her prize and bask in her moment of success before the final announcement. Miss Jane Doe handed me the microphone to announce the winner and the applause and foot stamping began as the anticipation came to a climax.
“The winner, your new Miss Burlesque Victoria for 2019 is… MISS BETTIE BOMBSHELL!”
The crowd erupted as Bettie made her way to the stage to collect her crown, her face beaming with shock and pride and total elation! Her partner Zara met her on the stage with a tender embrace and from there, it was time to celebrate. And oh, oh we did just that!
It was a night of pure sensuality and tease, a night that shined a spotlight on the diversity within Victorian burlesque, a night of celebration of community. We are very much alive & well.
Stay tuned for our interview with newly crowned Miss Burlesque Victoria – Miss Bettie Bombshell!