In September 2011 burlesque legend Dixie Evans was celebrating her 85th birthday with about 150 of her closest friends at the Royal Resort—many of them performing for Evans in the cabaret space before moving the party outdoors and poolside.
Lounging in a cabana around midnight, Evans surveyed the scene and said, “This is a fabulous, wonderful night. Not because of my birthday, but because the older girls and younger girls have reunited.”
Bringing the “girls” together was a thing for the icon, who died last August, leaving a legacy that weaves together burlesque’s past and present through the Burlesque Hall of Fame, a tradition begun by her late friend Jennie Lee in Helendale, California.
It’s because of Evans’ early dedication that hundreds of burlesque performers and fans come together annually to celebrate all aspects of the art form, including its rich history at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend.
Organizers for this year’s event, which begins June 5, say there will be tributes to Evans, who (along with the Burlesque Hall of Fame museum) moved to Las Vegas in 2006, paving the way for the annual weekend pilgrimage by burlesque performers from across the globe.
Over the years, the festivities have included everything from acrobatics and fire to mechanical props, winged creatures, trapeze artists, musical instruments, stuffed animals, confetti, even cake.
Opening June 5 with Movers, Shakers & Innovators, a showcase of contemporary, cutting-edge performances, the weekend will include the 57th Annual Titans of Tease Reunion on June 6, hosted by Evans’ longtime friend, The World Famous *BOB* and featuring “vintage vixens” from burlesque’s earlier days; the 24th Annual Tournament of Tease on June 7 (with five categories, including Miss Exotic World 2014, the Reigning Queen of Burlesque) and Icons & All-Stars on June 8, featuring returning favorites from over the years, like Foxy Tann & The Wham-Bam Thank You Ma’ams, Michelle L’Amour, Tigger! and Trixie Little & the Evil Hate Monkey.
Sprinkled throughout the weekend are Barecats Bowling, the Burlesque Hall of Fame Finishing School, Pin-Up Safari, the Burlesque Bazaar and, of course, a lot of catching up among burlesque stars past and present.
Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend June 5-8, times and prices vary. Orleans, bhofweekend.com.