The burlesque revival began in New Mexico during 2002 with the arrival of of Lonely Hearts Burlesque. While the company did not last, it certainly ignited the interest of many fledgling performers. Kitty Irreverent, along with a few other Lonely Hearts refugees, went on to create their own troupe, known as Belladonna Burlesque. Around the same time, Holly Rebelle began her own performance company, Burlesque Noir.
Fueled by a desire to create a true community, Kitty spent the next few years trying to unite Belladonna, Burlesque Noir, and the local independent performers together for one grand show. Kitty searched for a larger venue for this idea, but too often, legitimate theatre owners felt that such a risqué event did not belong on their property.
Eventually, Kitty and co-producer Devin D presented their idea to the City of Albuquerque, owners of the historic KiMo theater. An historically restored building known for more refined fare, the KiMo had not seen burlesque grace its stage for many decades. City officials must have seen some potential in their proposal. The New Mexico Burlesque Showcase was greenlit, scheduled for Valentines Day weekend 2007, nearly five years to the day since Lonely Hearts’ first burlesque show.
The event was a success. Audience members and performers alike called for an encore. Another event was scheduled for the following year, for this newly re-minted Southwest Burlesque Showcase, Kitty decided to go bigger, setting her sights beyond the borders of New Mexico. A second night was added and special guests Scarlett Letter and Dr. Shocker from Los Angeles as well as Lolita Haze from Phoenix came to perform. By its third year, performers from Colorado, California, and Texas came to shimmy across the KiMo stage.
Over the years, Southwest Burlesque Showcase has drawn performers from across the country. Audience sizes have grown steadily, regularly selling out tickets and packing the house. By 2011, Holly Rebelle and her husband joined the production crew, bringing years of experience managing Burlesque Noir and performer contacts met as they traveled the country. The 6th Annual Burlesque Showcase brought the event to new heights, hosting the Reigning Queen of Burlesque, Miss Indigo Blue.
During 2013, we invited our audiences to explore the living history of Burlesque as we brought four incredible acts to the KiMo stage. Audiences were treated to Burlesque Legends Tiffany Carter and Gypsy Louise of Las Vegas, NV, who were both received with standing ovations. On Friday night, Jo “Boobs” Weldon (Headmistress of the NY School of Burlesque) performed her recreation of Sherry Britton‘s passed down by Sherry herself before her death. Saturday brought Michelle L’Amour‘s re-creation of Sally Rand’s Feather Fan dance, a fitting tribute to the building we’ve called home since 2006.
2018 and the 11th Southwest Burlesque Showcase awaits…