It’s time for a little tease. Through Sunday, the second annual Toronto Burlesque Festival — dubbed Tassels Without Borders — will feature performances at the Gladstone Hotel, The Mod Club, the Cadillac Lounge and The Centre of Gravity.
“This (burlesque) scene has grown so much,” said festival producer Adrianna LeBlanc, a.k.a. Sauci Calla Horra, who started performing with troupe Skin Tight Outta Sight as a “card girl” in 2002 and has since become a regular performer.
“When we started, we thought it was maybe a passing fad, we would do this for a little while, people would like it but then they’d get bored and move on to something else. Instead, it’s just grown,” LeBlanc said.
Indeed, this passing fad has attained more permanent footing in this city, making Toronto something of a burlesque burg, especially considering the recent opening of the high-end club Jezebel in a former strip club on Ossington Ave. that’s made burlesque its calling card.
Every event during last year’s inaugural burlesque festival was almost sold out and this year’s has expanded to include talent from across Canada plus New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Paris, which all have thriving burlesque scenes.
Burlesque has a long and storied tradition in this city, dating back to Vaudeville days. During the 1940s and 1950s, it was an integral part of the city’s nightlife. In addition to bump-and-grind striptease, which is a key element of burlesque, shows at this year’s festival also include the variety acts of yesteryear, the comics, songs and aerial acts.
Correction - July 30, 2009, 12:45 pm EST: Due to an editorial error, an article about The Toronto Burlesque Festival appeared in the Thursday, July 30 edition of Metro. The festival took place last weekend.