Finding the correct way to start any write up is one of the hardest parts of the complete write up process. So when you combine that with two days of burlesque performances you get an idea of how hard this has been to find the correct way, in the end (and a few deleted attempts) I gave up and decided that I just have to stand centre stage get on with it. So without further ado here is the Friday of the 6th annual Helsinki Burlesque Festival – Burlescopolis.
With so many people attending this sold out evening it was obvious that it was going to take some amount of time to get everyone in through the doors, so once inside there was plenty to keep you occupied. Stalls set up and staffed by delightful sellers, selling items from clothing to tassels, and posters to performers photo’s on the ground floor, on the upper floor you could get your picture taken with an amazing backdrop. Then of course you could purchase refreshments from any one of the three bars.
If all of this was not enough to keep you amused while waiting, we were then treated to Bettie’s Angles performing a wonderful go-go routine. these lovely ladies always add a special flavour when they are performing.
If like me you remember the times when movies had Synchronized swimmers and /or Tiller Girls in them, then like me you were not disappointed with the opening performance by Helsinki Traditional Jazz Dance Company, instantly they sent you flying back to an earlier time, and perfectly set the tone for the rest of the coming evening. I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed watching these deliciously gorgeous ladies command every inch of the stage.
Entering the depths of the jungle we were taken on an exotic journey to witness the wonderfully enthralling Savage Beauties, these lovelies are so intoxicating that how the local Indiana was able to resist the temptation of drinking in their delights is beyond me, maybe he carries his whip on the other sleeve?
Mr Pustra performed twice during the evening, and each time he demonstrated what a master of vaudeville and cabaret he truly is, and his voice is magical to listen to. His command of an audience is spell binding.
Not only did Pepper Sparkles première her new number, but with it being her birthday, she gave us a present to cherish and enjoy. What a premier it was too, this new number was an example of how Pepper has grown and matured with her performances. The costume was amazing, I do feel I must digress slightly to mention that head piece was a wonderful production by the immensely talented milliner Fiona Timantti, while the exquisite harness had been fashioned by the equally immensely talented Tyra Therman, that Pepper had then embellished with swarofski’s. This all came together to produce a wonderfully artistic costume, with a routine to match, that just made Pepper Sparkles truly sparkle on her birthday.
Gigi Praline also premièred a new number at what was fast turning out to be a display of excellence. I am if you did not already know a big fan of Gigi’s, so I felt a bit for her having to follow Pepper’s wonderful performance, but just when you think you know what to expect from her, she still manages to throw you a total surprise. Gigi showed that even on an occasion such as this she is not afraid to be innovative with her routines. The lady owned every inch of the stage and took the audience wherever she wanted, and all with taste and style.
Tigger! also performed twice in the evening. Now I hope we are all aware of the tale The Emperor’s New Clothes, as Tigger! had his own take on this tale, perhaps we call it The Empress’s New Clothes, invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. I am pleased to report that I was able to see these fine robes. The other routine that Tigger! performed was a wonderful proposal of marriage, the wedding ceremony followed by the retirement of the happy couple to the honeymoon suite. Needless to say Tigger! was totally awesome.
The Reigning Queen of Burlesque Angie Pontani was another of the international performers who on this first evening were performing twice. Her first number was filled with strength and passion, and beat out a wonderful rhythm just as entertaining as Angie did herself on her drum. the second number was a gorgeous ballet routine, it was so graceful, the fragile fabric of her costume flowing like mist over a morning lake, as she executed delightfully fluid movements.
Since the dawn of time girls have dreamed of getting their first bra, (well ok since it’s invention, and yeah there was that time when women were supposedly burning them, but lets not spoil a good thing here ok?) and the bubbly Champagne Sparkles invited us to join her on her quest to find her perfect first bra. This was the first of two performances from her, and it was cheeky charming entertainment all the way. For her second performance she teamed up with a great and extremely experienced Muppet, together they performed Mahna Mahna, and although Champagne Sparkles kept interrupting, the Muppet was able to give a wonderful performance that everybody (except for Statler and Waldorf, but lets face it, how often did they really enjoy anything) enjoyed.
Sandy Jungle also had a brand new number to reveal to all who were in attendance, and not only was she also sporting a gorgeous Fiona Timantti creation, but she had a brand new member of her family with her, Heikki the Snake by Anni Hiro/Hironia. This duo were so enchanting, and graceful. Sandy is always so majestic that this new routine will be a welcome addition to her growing repertoire.
Another example of amazing costume and performance was supplied by the diamond in the pack Miss Blondis. One thing was for sue, you would not need a poker face when watching this cardsharp, although you will not be able to take your eyes off her while she is performing.
The audience certainly did not need a butterfly net to catch the most beautiful Art Deco butterfly courtesy of Lyalya Bezhetskaya. Observing this gorgeous lady flit around the stage full of artistic motion, and as sweet as nectar, was a real pleasure.
Contortionists have always amazed me, the way they are able to move their bodies in any direction they wish, the suppleness they display is truly wonderful. Khaliuka Narankhuu demonstrated this so well, plus her total control of strength and balance was remarkable.
The Amazing Knicker Kittens Burlesque Revue could have stepped right out of an early celluloid film, their well co-ordinated performance was a treat from start to end, with grace and style being so well blended together.
I have heard Mermaids being described from time to time as the sirens of the sea, who will lure sailors to their doom. I do not think that Diva Hollywood was trying to do that, as she was more of your Hans Christian Andersen Mermaid, taking us on a journey first through the high seas, darting around the coral, before exchanging her fins for legs to come ashore and run barefoot across the sand.
Xarah von den Vielenregen was another performer with a knock out costume. The delightful use of her fans was just so elegant, as was the whole performance. Xarah showed everyone her heart, and they gave theirs back to her in exchange.
Bettie Hellsinki Hellcat Blackheart and Frank Doggenstein performed a Zombie Wedding routine that went so well with the Burlescopolis theme. The number was purposely unhurried and lethargic, giving just the right amount of life to the two zombies, as they acted out their parts. This was just as much about Art as it was about Burlesque. Inspired.
With cat like grace, and skills worthy of any ninja, Anna Fur Laxis demonstrated perfect co-ordination and timing with her ninja performance, skill and beauty rarely come together as well as this.
Isis Starr was one of the nights highlight performers, although there were no lo-lights, Isis was every inch the star that her name suggests. Her form and face, style and grace shone through. When this 65 year old woman performed the splits, I think the whole of Helsinki and surrounding areas could hear the cheers and applause. Isis Starr a true Living Legend, I am honoured to have witnessed your performance.
The final shining star of this Friday evening was the one and only Dirty Martini, her tongue in cheek routine was well received, and a wonderful routine to witness. I never want to know where she really retrieves some of her accessories from in her all American performance.
Doing an excellent job on the pick-up were Randy of Finland & Sir Willy Waterlily.
The entertaining hosts for the evening were Nikola & Eetu Rauhanen, who had some interesting adaptations on their costumes.
Aiding with the introductions was the spicy dark queen Titania, this dark temptress always has stylish outfits that suit just perfectly.
Live music had been supplied by the talents of Rudolph and the Ramblers, who had the amazing talent of disappearing as soon as they had finished their number.
DJ’s Fiona Timantti & Atom of Finland supplied the rest of the amazing evenings music, not only for the dancing but for the performers as well.
This had been just the first evening, we still had one more to come, although not all of these performers would be there for the second night.
It had been a remarkable evening, and everyone who took part had given us something wonderful and special. My applause carries on for you all. I stand and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Photographs: Rhia Evil Dressmaker (Official photographer for Burlesque Finland dot Com)
T.T. Tassel (Your undercover agent in the front line of Finnish Burlesque).