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NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden (5:00 PM)
The NOLA Project presents this festive comedy that pits two of Shakespeare's most beloved characters in a war of words and wits
1200 Robert E. Lee Blvd (5:00PM- 11:00 PM)
The Holy Trinity Cathedral is inviting Grecophiles of all ages out to Bayou St. John for goat burgers, traditional music and dancing, and regional libations
The Convention Center (6:00PM-9:00 PM)
An experience for both foodies and wine connoisseurs with live music by Flow Tribe
Zephyr Field (7:00 PM)
New Orleans baseball against the Omaha Storm Chasers
One Eyed Jacks (7:30)
Sketchy Characters Productions brings you a comedy sketch and web series that plays off the madness of the French Quarter
Shadowbox Theatre (8:00 PM)
Straightforward conversational drama explores one area's gentrification through 50 years
Art Klub, 513 Elysian Fields Ave (8:00 PM)
An interactive and sparkling performance presented by Nari Tomassetti
The Little Gem Saloon (8:00 PM)
The fourth evening of a chamber music festival that has something for classical aficionados and dilettantes alike
Howlin’ Wolf (9:00 PM)
A funky two night celebration of the band’s 30th anniversary
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Rock around Lee Circle tonight
The Queen's Reign
With This Year's Coronation Approaching Ginger Valentine Talks About Being Crowned at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival
You can never get enough tassle twirling and boa-bobbing, and there’s still time to catch the main event of the 4th Annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival.
Tonight’s Queen of Burlesque competition offers residents of the Big Teasy an opportunity to see the world’s most acclaimed pasty-clad-performers to the tune of a live jazz band. Women and men are in town to compete from New York, London, Spain, and dozens of other cities. To get an idea of how the competition shakes out, NoDef caught up with last year’s reigning Queen of Burlesque, Ginger Valentine.
Valentine hails from Dallas, but she’s an LSU Tigress with a heart full of Louisiana pride.
“The festival is a world-class event. I have a really personal connection to New Orleans because I went to LSU. I graduated in 2006, so I was there when everyone from Katrina came. Louisiana is my home away from home,” said Valentine.
Those legends will be signing autographs at the Saint Lawrence (219 N. Peters) for Legends of Burlesque Sweet Treat Meet & Greet, Saturday from 1-3 pm. Famous performers include Evangeline the Oyster Girl, Rita Alexander the Champagne Girl, and Bambi Jones. The lovely ladies will also be hanging out before and after tonight’s show, so don’t miss out on a chance to talk to the women who teased crowds before it was called “Classical Burlesque.”
Valentine was a ballet dancer long before she started strutting her stuff to a burly beat.
“I’m a trained dancer, and I’ve studied very seriously for many years. I’m mostly trained in ballet, but I’ve studied all different kinds," she said. "I was a ballet student until I was 19 or 20.”
Although Valentine has no problem admitting that she’s practiced in the art of striptease, she said there’s a lot more to Burlesque than bump n’ grind.
“It’s very focused on quality of movement, musicality, and dance, in addition to the stripping part,” Valentine laughed.
Valentine is also a producer, director, and choreographer in Dallas, her home base. In terms of whether or not she incorporates some of the political, skit-oriented styles of neo Burlesque into her acts, she said she’s open-minded.
“I produce monthly Burlesque shows, and we have all elements involved,” said Valentine. “But the feature acts I take on the road and the things I want to invest the most time in and money in definitely revitalize the Golden Age. It’s an erotic experience, I don’t want to make a political statement, I want you to forget about politics when you’re watching me,” said Valentine.
Although you won’t see her climbing a pole any time soon, Valentine has no problem being referred to as a stripper.
“I don’t really feel the need to elevate Burlesque, because stripping came from Burlesque, and sex isn’t dirty! It’s not bad. I am a stripper, and I am so proud of it,” said Valentine.
The only difference according to the seasoned performer is the intention of the routine. “I perform the same act to dozens or hundreds, whereas a girl that works on Bourbon St. is performing for the whole room in an attempt to sell a one-on-one experience. I don’t do anything one-on-one with my dancing,” Valentine differentiated.
Many may find it shocking that the woman who bares all on stage is a bit of an introvert. Valentine said the hardest thing about becoming last year’s Queen of Burlesque was receiving all the praise.
“It was a big period of growth for me, and this weekend is a big period of growth for me. I still have a tendency to be shy and want to hide, which is hard to do when you’re wearing a crown. I’m much more comfortable on stage grinding on my pillow than I am at a cocktail party!” laughed Valentine.
Appropriately, Harrah’s is the venue to host the glitzy, glamorous event, but hurry up and get your tickets now, the event is known to sell out early. The show starts at 8pm, and tickets will run you $45-$50.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Ryan Sparks, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Ryan Sparks, Kerem Ozkan
Michael Weber, B.A.
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