We were so excited to return to the Texas Queerlesque Festival in Dallas this July! In 2016 we had the pleasure of headlining the inaugural festival and were so impressed by the community building and celebratory spirit of the event!
Produced by two queer performance powerhouses, Lillith Grey and Milo Cox, the Texas Queerlesque Festival’s mission is to unify, celebrate, and elevate queer performers and to push the boundaries of queerlesque as an art form. The four-day event includes two epic performance showcases, networking events, classes, dance parties, and a producer panel. While the majority of performers are Texans, this year’s festival also included folks from Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago, and beyond!
Muggle life prevented us from attending the welcome events on Thursday, but we heard the karaoke party was pretty intense! We arrived in Dallas Friday afternoon and headed to one of our favorite performance venues, Viva’s, for tech rehearsal since we were performing that evening. We ran our number on the beautiful stage, greeted old friends in the spacious and well-lit dressing room (seriously, Viva’s is a burlesque performer’s dream venue), and sat for our complimentary headshots – a special perk provided by the festival!
We snuck out to grab some dinner and drinks in the nearby Design District and then back to Viva’s for reunion time with some of our favorite folks, including Jasper St. James of San Antonio and fellow Austinite, Lady Lola LeStrange. Jasper and Lola were both headlining the show and we were so excited for them! The venue filled up quickly (extra chairs had to be brought in for the audience!) and then host Milo Cox kicked things off! We were early in the lineup, so we had the luxury of kicking back for the majority of the show and enjoying the diverse and creative numbers.
We are huge fans of JD Hickcok of Houston and his sultry number did not disappoint! And he managed to kick his undies up into the rafters where they got stuck, which cracked the audience up and made some extra work for the dedicated stage crew. We also loved Team Starfox’s exploration of queer sex through…synchronized swimming. Yes, you read that right! Lola, Jasper, and amazing aerialist ickymuffin closed out the show and definitely left the energetic audience wanting more. We snagged a few drinks at the after party and then it was back to the hotel.
The next morning, we grabbed some brunch and then it was time for Unicorn School! The festival offered twelve classes over the weekend taught by performers and community members. Topics included movement, makeup, promotion, and politics in performance. Shelby got her “Sass & Smoulder” on in Lady Lola LeStrange’s musicality class and then we both enjoyed Team Starfox’s workshop: “The Body Political,” which provided strategies for tackling political issues through performance.
After Unicorn School, we heard from the Featured Producers at a special panel. The Featured Producer program is an awesome element of the festival. It brings burlesque producers from all over Texas to the festival so they can see new talent, develop relationships with performers, and have the opportunity to book acts they might not otherwise be aware of. The goal of the program is to increase queer presence in both niche and mainstream queerlesque and burlesque shows. The inclusion of the panel this year gave performers an opportunity to hear directly from producers about what they look for when booking for shows, best practices for performers, and more!
After the panel we made time for a delicious date night! One of our favorite restaurants from San Antonio, (which Chola Magnolia introduced us to) Hot Joy, was having a pop-up in Dallas! You can bet we got over there as fast as we could to enjoy tiki drinks, ramen, crab fat caramel wings, and more! We arrived to the Saturday night showcase very full, but super excited to see the show! Lillith Grey hosted the evening which was absolutely packed with Austin performers – over half of the performers were our fellow Austinites! Some of our favorites of the evening were Aurora Hart’s golden explosion, Alexander the Great’s personal aerial act, and Chola Magnolia’s samba-licious stylings.
We wanted to stay after the show to congratulate all the performers and say our goodbyes, but the weekend had wiped us out! We had to make our exit as soon as curtain call ended and then fall into our hotel room bed. Unfortunately, our schedule did not allow us to attend the festival brunch or headliner Gigi Holliday’s keynote address; we had to hit the road Sunday morning and get back to Austin. We had a wonderful weekend, but as always, there is never enough time to catch up with old friends, make new friends, or introduce yourself to your social media crushes! But, there is always next year! In fact, the dates for the 2018 Texas Queerlesque Festival have already been released: July 26-29, 2018. Mark your calendars and we will see you there!